College partners with Koru to provide new immersive career development opportunities

Connecticut College, a leader among liberal arts colleges in preparing students for meaningful careers, today announced a new partnership that will give students another opportunity to develop career skills in a real-world environment.

The College is partnering with Koru, a company focused on transforming the college-to-career landscape, to launch an immersive learning program for College seniors and recent graduates that will challenge them to solve real issues for fast-growing companies and provide intensive coaching for business skill development.

"The genius of Koru lies in the way it teaches students marketable skills in real-world situation, while also fostering the kind of collaborative learning environment that allows our students to thrive," said Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron. "It will complement and enhance the comprehensive career programming that we already provide. We are thrilled to be an inaugural partner."

In addition to Connecticut College, Koru's founding partners are Bates College, Brown University, Colorado College, Denison University, Georgetown University, Mount Holyoke College, Occidental College, Pomona College, University of Southern California, Vassar College, Whitman College and Williams College.

Rising seniors and recent graduates accepted to the Koru program will travel to Seattle, Wash., or San Francisco, Calif., to spend four weeks working directly with leading employers such as REI, zulily, Trupanion and Smartsheet to develop solutions to real challenges provided by the companies. Participants will work in groups and be coached throughout the experience on industry best practices, business etiquette and skill development by Koru's accomplished network of CEOs, executives and recent grads.

"Today's top employers are seeking college graduates with strong communication, problem-solving, critical thinking and teamwork skills. These are the skills the liberal arts develop, and our program provides liberal arts graduates with the experience and professional networks that can help them launch great careers," Josh Jarrett, chief learning officer and co-founder of Koru said. 

In a press release from Koru, Colleen McKeown, senior vice president of human resources at zulily, a Seattle-based company that provides daily deals on boutique fashion items for moms and children, said the Koru program gives her company a chance to see the potential of candidates beyond what can be learned from a resume and interview. "Two or three years from now, I expect the Koru grads will be the ones I'm seeing on the fast track at zulily," McKeown said.

The program is a perfect complement to Connecticut College's four-year approach to career and professional development. Through the College's one-of-a-kind program, called Career Enhancing Life Skills (CELS), students work one-on-one with trained career counselors to plan coursework and activities, attend seven skill-building workshops, create professional resumes and cover letters, conduct mock-interviews, attend business etiquette seminars and are guided through the job search and graduate school application process. The highlight of the program is a College-funded internship. All students are eligible for up $3,000 for a career-related internship or research experience, and nearly 80 percent of students take the College up on the offer.

The College's well-established program has awarded more than 3,000 internships in 15 years. Alumni rank the program very highly; in a recent survey, 9 out of 10 alumni who participated in the program in the last five years said it helped them find their first job or prepare for graduate or professional school.

Connecticut College juniors or graduating seniors interested in the Koru program can apply for one of four four-week sessions in Seattle or San Francisco this summer. Tuition for the program is $2,750, and limited scholarships will be available. Juniors who participate in the CELS program can also apply internship funding to the Koru tuition.

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February 20, 2014