Accelerate to Industry
What is Accelerate to Industry (A2i)?
Accelerate to Industry is an innovative approach to workforce training for graduate students. First developed by the North Carolina State University, this program connects graduate students with industry companies to explore employment opportunities. The program helps graduate students develop the business, leadership, and communication skills that companies seek in new employees.
The mission of A2i is to:
- Prepare graduate students, postdocs, and alumni for the wide range of available industry careers
- Help Penn State graduate students secure industry jobs
- Build a program that serves as a touch point for long-term collaborative relationships between industry and universities
A2i seeks to bridge the gaps between traditional academic training and industry employment readiness through five training modules. These modules provide a range of career and professional development opportunities for graduate students to build their skills and engage with industry partners at all stages of their graduate careers. We recommend starting with Industry Job Search Strategies early and finishing with Industry Immersion as you complete your degree.
Job Search Strategies is a workshop series open to all graduate students and postdoctoral researchers featuring industry speakers and professional development experts that explores the wide range of career opportunities beyond the academy, methods to navigate a job search, and tactics to secure desired positions.
This module covers a broad scope of topics related to all aspect of career development and the job search such as career exploration, business communication, application materials, personal branding, interviewing, salary negotiations, networking, informational interviews, and corporate culture. The speakers and workshop topics can change with each offering of JSS so participants can benefit from taking this module multiple times. Industry speakers come from a variety of industries including private sector non-profit, and government.
While participants are encouraged to attend the full series of workshops, students are welcome to attend those sessions that are most closely aligned with their interests and schedule. Those who participate in all sessions will receive a certificate of completion.
Industry Immersion is an intensive experiential learning opportunity for late-stage graduate student and postdoctoral researchers that prepares participants for the corporate environment.
The Immersion module includes a multi-day experience for graduate students nearing completion of their degrees (within 2 years for doctoral students and 1 year for master’s students) and postdoctoral researchers that allows for more comprehensive coverage of industry-specific topics through presentations and workshops along with professional development activities such as a company fair, team project, feedback sessions on job materials, networking sessions, and career panels.
Participants are exposed to unique training opportunities that will help them develop skills that support essential features of companies, such as leadership and teamwork, communicating with a non-technical audience, personal branding, entrepreneurship, intellectual property, business strategy, and managing global relationships. Sessions are led by industry professionals, career development experts, and Penn State graduate alumni.
Industry Team Practicum is a forum for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to collaborate with industry partners on projects. Participants have the opportunity to think beyond their respective disciplines and learn to leverage their technical backgrounds and creativity to move ideas and projects forward in a cross-disciplinary team context.
This module is under development. More to come!
Company Site Visit gives graduate students and postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to interact with professionals from our A2i industry partners through virtual or in-person company site visits.
The A2i team works with industry partners to connect interested graduate students, postdocs, and alumni with companies based on their recruitment needs.
Internship helps connect skilled Penn Staters with exciting internship opportunities. The A2i team works with industry partners to share internship opportunities with graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.
This module allows for industry partners to work directly with the Penn State A2i team to recruit outstanding candidates for internships.
A2i modules offer training in the following key business and professional areas:
- Leadership, communication, and teamwork
- Corporate cultural competency
- Market and technology evaluation
- Intellectual property and regulatory affairs
- Commercializing research
- Leadership presentations from renowned industry professionals
- Company site visits and company fairs
- Networking sessions
- Workshops on resume design, career exploration, LinkedIn, writing cover letters, interviewing, networking, and negotiating job offers
- Multidisciplinary team projects completed in collaboration with industry companies
- Career and Human Resource panels