The purpose of the Immersion Program to Advance Career Training (ImPACT) is to provide trainees in the biomedical sciences with the knowledge and skills that they need to make informed career decisions and successfully navigate the path toward the career of their choice. To achieve this goal, we propose to develop a new training curriculum that consists of three Focus Areas: 1) Biotech, Business, and Entrepreneurship, 2) Policy, Nonprofits, and Government, and 3) Higher Education. These Focus Areas will support skills training for the full spectrum of careers both outside and inside academia. We will collaborate with internal and external partners to develop the training components for each Focus Area, which will include 1) professional skills training through workshops and optional related coursework, 2) an experiential learning opportunity that will include short-term job shadowing opportunities and/or more extensive externship opportunities, 3) networking and professional development opportunities at local universities, institutions, and businesses, and 4) a small-group coaching program to help trainees implement Individual Development Plans (IDPs) and to create a supportive and collaborative environment for the job search. We will create Career Cohorts of trainees with similar career interests and use these small groups to administer program components such as IDP meetings and job search support. This structure will allow us to make this program available to all biomedical graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at UNC. We will carefully evaluate program components and trainee outcomes with the assistance of an external evaluator, and we will disseminate our findings to our peer institutions by attending conferences, publishing our work, and creating an innovative video website to share career information with trainees nationwide.
The UNC Immersion Program to Advance Career Training (ImPACT) is a new and innovative training program that will partner with external organizations to proactively respond to the changing professional development needs of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. By developing a positive training environment that is well suited to the needs of biomedical trainees, this program will support the next generation of scientists who will ultimately become the workforce in a variety of career sectors dedicated to improving public health.