AU Students Prepare for the Future of Work– with Help from Deloitte

American University students teamed up with Deloitte to bolster their skills for their future careers.

Deloitte Attendees

American University students at Deloitte's Future of Work Institute.


 

Seventy-five AU undergraduate and graduate students representing the College of Arts and Science, Kogod School of Business, School of Communication, School of Education, School of International Service, and School of Public Affairs gathered last weekend through a partnership with Deloitte to explore the “future of work” and their role in it.

The American University Career Center, Kogod Office of Career Engagement, and SIS Office of Career Development hosted the innovative Future of Work InstituteTM (FoWI), developed and led by Deloitte practitioners. The program provided a rare opportunity for students from a range of disciplines to reflect upon their values and goals around work, examine changes in the workforce, and begin developing a vision for their future as inclusive leaders. Ali Aljarrah, a Kogod graduate student, came out of the program with new knowledge.

Participating in Deloitte's FoWI Institute helped me conceptualize how work, the workplace, and the workforce will change over time with the innovation of technology and why we need to invest more in our human traits to become more resilient in the labor market,” Aljarrah said.

Faith Gbadamosi, an SIS graduate student from Nigeria, experienced trepidation about her career before beginning the bootcamp. “Over the past few years as a millennial, I was made to believe that technology will one day take over the role of humans in the workplace. Whenever I think about this, I get weary and overwhelmed with the thought of losing value in the workplace,” Gbadamosi said.

The experience this weekend exposed me to how I can leverage technology to make impacts in the workplace and how to keep an adaptability mindset to changing times and stay relevant in the face of innovation.”

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Faith Gbadamosi

Graduate Student, School of International Service

Faith’s facilitators presented a scenario which helped further allay her fears. In a future where robots can be programmed to detect tumors more quickly than doctors, this earlier detection may be progress, but receiving a cancer diagnosis from a robot may feel heartless. Here enters the human skills (or what the National Association of Colleges and Employers calls “career competencies”), which are the key to the future of work: empathy, emotional intelligence, written and verbal communication, adaptability and resilience, curiosity, critical thinking and problem solving, and logical reasoning. As the FoWI facilitators highlighted, these human skills help build our human capabilities of empathetic listening, collaboration, growth mindset, and applied creativity. While the robot may help, the ability to communicate with patients in an empathetic and caring manner remains the work of a human.

Through a series of interactive modules, participants explored these and other topics during a two-day bootcamp experience, supplemented by two virtual workshops on cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. Modules guided participants through activities that focused on examining their working style and preferences, imagining their ideal workplace, and practicing their public speaking by rethinking existing jobs while considering the possibilities of the future. To complete the experience, Deloitte US Consulting CEO Dan Helfrich will be the keynote speaker at the Fall 2022 graduation ceremony where participants will receive a micro-credential that certifies their participation in the Institute.

Each module focused on issues and opportunities related to diversity and inclusive leadership, topics that held special meaning for Deloitte facilitator Love Anderson. Anderson first set foot on AU’s campus over 20 years ago as an exchange student from Turkmenistan. “The last two days were filled with all sorts of emotion and gratitude,” Anderson said.

Twenty years ago I came to achieve my dream as one of nine exchange students at American University from a country that many have never heard of. Fast forward twenty years, and I’m back on campus to teach students on the topic of the future of work.”

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Love Anderson

Manager, Deloitte

Taylor Myers, an SOE online graduate student, was grateful for Anderson's guidance and the experience in general. "The Institute taught me about how work, workers, and the workplace are evolving. It was an opportunity to connect with facilitators from Deloitte, career services personnel from AU, and other AU Eagles who are striving to make our society work a little bit better for everyone. We finished the third lab session less than 48 hours ago, but I've already applied what I learned about preferred working styles into two meetings today," Myers said. 

“I want an economy and education system that work for everyone, communities and countries that are safe and filled with peace, and a workforce that’s being effectively utilized; I believe I can use what I learned from the Institute to help move us closer to those aims. I very much enjoyed being in an in-person, interdisciplinary cohort. I’ll carry the fellowship, knowledge, and skills from this past weekend with me for a long time.”