- When graduate students are paired with professionals in their field, they exhibit deeper learning and passion for the work, according to a Dec. 18 statement from the University of Houston (UH).
- Most research on academic mentoring has examined peer mentoring, according to Consuelo Waight, associate professor at UH and corresponding author of a paper on the latest research. But this new study instead considered how forming a relationship with a practitioner in a student's field can boost learning and understanding.
- "By taking the students outside the classroom, they saw the relevance and meaningfulness of what they were learning," Waight said in a statement. "That motivated them beyond case studies."
Employers are working to create talent pipelines earlier than ever before, hoping to address labor shortages by playing the long game.
As the UH research describes, some companies are focused on students, aiming to inspire and engage individuals still many years from entering the workforce. Frito-Lay is banking on apprenticeships to demonstrate the benefits of a job in manufacturing, for example. John Deere has backed a STEM computer science academy in Iowa to prep high schoolers for computer science careers. Others are working to drum up interest from even elementary school students.
These efforts are gaining traction across the country, but the UH research makes the case that employers' talent acquisition plans also should include plans to pair employees with students in their fields. Equipped with a deeper understanding of their chosen industries, former mentorship program participants may well provide a pipeline of loyal, passionate candidates. As a bonus, other research shows that employees crave meaningful work, and providing the opportunity to serve as a mentor may be one way employers can fulfill that need.