Nearly five years after its founding, the Common Good and Creative Careers Initiative within Yale’s Office of Career Strategy continues to progress in its mission amid the pandemic: holding career fairs, launching podcasts and organizing internships.
The CGCC initiative — founded in 2016 by Robyn Acampora, the director of Strategic Initiatives and Public Service Careers at OCS, along with three of her OCS colleagues — seeks to provide resources and advising for students pursuing careers in six broad areas: government, policy and think tanks, the arts, media and communications, nonprofits and education. According to Acampora, CGCC offers hundreds of events throughout the year, including job search workshops, alumni panels and career fairs. In addition, CGCC oversees several internship and fellowship programs, such as the Paul Block Journalism Internships, the Buckley Media & Public Policy Internships and the Women in Government Fellowship. CGCC also hosts podcasts and speaker series that feature alumni working in relevant fields.
“[We] felt that it was important for our students to know how dedicated the office is to providing resources, advising and programs for students who are interested in pursuing careers that make a difference and encourage their creativity,” Acampora wrote in an email to the News.
Acampora noted that typically, over half of Yale undergraduate students pursue a summer internship in a CGCC field. In addition, 35 to 40 percent of Yale College graduates typically begin their careers working in these areas. The OCS Class of 2020 First Destination Report shows 35.6 percent of graduates entering the nonprofit and government sectors — a similar number to past years.
Although this statistic has remained consistent amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Acampora acknowledged that some industries covered by CGCC, especially the arts, have been “deeply affected” by the pandemic. But she noted that the virtual setting has prompted additional, wider-reaching programming opportunities.
“Seeing as many people are now working virtually during the pandemic, CGCC has the ability to tap into alumni who typically could not engage with our students due to our location in New Haven being too far away,” Acampora wrote. “We are now able to set up alumni panels and employer information sessions with a more expansive reach.”
Acampora added that OCS has formed a new CGCC Student Advisory Board — a group of undergraduate students representing various areas of CGCC — to provide feedback and suggestions for the initiative.
Tanisha Gupta ’21, who has been involved with the CGCC initiative since she received the Women in Government Fellowship as a first year and spent eight weeks over the summer interning for Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), wrote in an email to the News that she values the work OCS has done to highlight CGCC careers. Gupta, who now serves as an ambassador for the WIG Fellowship program, has also worked for Bristol mayor Marvin Rees and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
“I am a HUGE proponent of the CGCC initiative because it encourages students to pursue careers that really make a difference in the community,” Gupta wrote to the News. “It can be hard for students to get involved with CGCC careers on their own because they tend to be way less streamlined than the typical finance or consulting careers.”
Claire Zalla ’21 echoed Gupta’s comments, noting that CGCC careers often lack the clear pathways set up for more traditional professions such as medicine and law. Zalla has hosted the CGCC Alumni Podcast series — part of OCS’s “Take This Job And Love It” podcast — since October 2019.
The podcast series has featured 11 Yale alumni in CGCC industries, including U.S. Ambassador to Greece and former ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt GRD ’87 and New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo ’97.
“I’ve had just an absolutely amazing experience getting to speak to all these different people, because I think it really shows you just how incredibly rich and diverse your career post-Yale can be,” Zalla said. “These people working in the arts, communication, government, education, nonprofits — they’ve all designed really fascinating careers that really play into their passions and their interests. So I find that very inspiring, the way in which they’ve taken the resources and education given to them and used it to make the world a better place.”
The CGCC Career Fair will be held virtually on March 19.
Zhemin Shao | firstname.lastname@example.org