UMKC Professional Career Escalators Program Helps Students Get a Jump-Start on Careers

Innovative approach bundles support services to help students prepare for and secure high-paying careers

Earning a college degree is nice, but for most students, the end goal is to land a high-paying and rewarding career after graduation. UMKC is launching a new program to help students achieve that goal.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City is working to transform the higher education model by shifting the focus from degree attainment to career outcomes, offering an innovative approach to better prepare students to enter the workforce and land professional, high-paying careers. This bold new idea is part of the UMKC Forward initiative, a multi-year investment by the university to meet and exceed the demands of today’s college student.

The "Professional Career Escalators"SM (Career Escalators) program provides a unique set of specialized student supports designed to facilitate academic to career connections. Services include:

  • Career development
  • Mentoring by professionals in the community
  • Applied learning opportunities
  • Leadership development
  • Professional or grad school preparation

Applications are open now to land one of 200 spots in the inaugural Career Escalators class, which launches in Fall 2022. Incoming students and transfer students may apply for this program by submitting transcripts, a letter of recommendation and a short video that demonstrates a student’s character and desire to enter the program.

The deadline to apply is April 1.

The Career Escalators program is unique because of the way UMKC is bundling together such a robust collection of services for students. This program provides the support team, resources and peer collaboration needed to align a student’s academic journey with their future career goals.

“We are thrilled to launch this first cohort and blown away by the buzz this program is starting to generate,” said Mako Miller, M.A.Ed, director of the Professional Career Escalators program. “We’re really working to shift focus beyond the degree to the desired outcome of job readiness upon graduation. By starting post-college career planning earlier and aligning those plans with job shadowing opportunities and mentorship, our graduates will be more prepared, confident and successful in their careers.”

An added financial benefit makes this program even more appealing. Career Escalators students can choose between a $2,500 annual on-campus housing scholarship, or $1,500 applied toward the cost of tuition. Participants also have the option to live in a living/learning community with other students in the program. Just like professional networking, this living/learning model promotes building connections, and adds yet another layer of similarity between academic life and the workforce.


Apply today

Published: Feb 15, 2022