Professional associations seek to promote interest in the industry and to help its members network with peers. Their job is especially important, because there are often not enough graduates coming into certain industries to make up for the number of people who are leaving. According to Smooth the Path, some ways associations can attract students to their profession includes working with employers to brand themselves to be appealing to young people, having professionals in those industries talk to students, and offering contests to spark their interest in the career. Here are some other ways we think associations can attract more students to an industry or profession.
1. Use grants and scholarships as a magnet
Associations can offer scholarships and grants as a way for students to get involved in a profession that might have been out of reach before, due to the cost of schooling. SmarterSelect can help associations collect and manage grants and scholarships. Any organization can simply create a program where students can apply for the scholarship or grant offered using the online software. Then they can review and manage the applications, and pick the recipients.
2. Use awards as a way to connect with students
Awards look good on the resume and help encourage students to continue on their same career path. Winning awards helps show them that they have what it takes to succeed in the industry. SmarterSelect's award management software makes the whole process much easier for associations and students.
3. Provide career counseling to help students work through their needs
Associations can provide school counselors with collateral and brochures about the specified profession of interest, and these materials can discuss the benefits of going into the field, as well as provide general information. They could even go as far as to offer the opportunity for students to talk to a professional in their chosen industry, and the association can provide counselors with a list of available volunteers.
4. Start Young – Develop Interest through Take Your Child to Work Day
By offering incentives for employees to bring their children to work to experience the field, associations can hope that children develop interest at a young age. Small incentives such as catered lunches can be used to entice employees to bring their children to work. Since Take Your Child to Work Day has already been established, piggybacking on its popularity can be a very easy, effective solution.
Special thanks to The Texas Society of Association Executives for pointing out Smooth the Path's article in their monthly newsletter. What else do you think associations could do to get on the radar of students? Please share your thoughts with us!