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Project Forward

Our mission at the LaunchPad has always been to encourage students to explore entrepreneurship at their own pace, in an inclusive cross-disciplinary environment, and to make an impact through entrepreneurship and innovation.

We recognize that, while not every student who engages with us will go on to start their own companies, they will be better prepared to enter the modern workforce with an entrepreneurial mindset  – a set of skills that enable people to identify and make the most of opportunities, overcome and learn from setbacks, and succeed in a variety of settings.

This pandemic has only accelerated and emphasized the need for unconventional and creative-problem solving in a rapidly changing economy.  

Project Forward is our response to this – a pilot program of the LaunchPad at UT with the mission of encouraging entrepreneurial thinking to help students continue moving forward in their professional journey.

For full transparency and aligned with the meta-nature of our work, we are building this program as we go. Concurrently, we are interviewing students about their present experiences, learning from other campus organizations about how they’re pivoting and where we can support, and collaborating with internal and external partners to create content serving a wide range of students – with a focus on the entrepreneurial mindset. 

(We’ll continue updating this page with new information and cross-promoting our partners. The best way to stay up-to-date is to sign up for our biweekly newsletter.) 

Phase I

Our first collaboration was a virtual bootcamp, Unconventional Approaches to Finding & Creating Work, with Second Day that equipped students with unconventional approaches to finding and creating work opportunities in the short and long term. From June 23-26, the bootcamp covered the following four topics. You can find a full recap of the event here.

1) Know Yourself, Know Your Worth: Assessing Your Value & Effective Positioning

  • What are hard, soft, and hybrid skills? And how do I conduct a skills inventory?
  • How do I re-frame myself as a young professional?
  • How do I map out my professional growth?
  • (Have your resume handy.)

“I think this workshop was really interesting! I enjoyed the straightforward nature of the content and definitely relatable for students!” – SB

2) Networking in 2020: Identifying Opportunities & Conducting Outreach

  • How do I find organizations or educational courses to consider (right now)?
  • How do I reach out to people effectively (right now)?
  • How do I best engage with potential contacts once I’m connected (right now)?

“This workshop was amazing. Thank you so much for founding it. As a first-gen student, I found it extremely insightful and helpful.” -  MC

3) Take the Lead: Creating Your Own Work Opportunities

  • What are the components of an “entrepreneurial mindset”? And how is it relevant to me right now?
  • How to I generate work leads through proactive problem solving?
  • How do I pitch “micro-internship” opportunities?
  • What is a scope of work (SOW)? And how can I leverage it?

“This workshop really embraced our value and worth and encouraged us to be proud of that when approaching opportunities.” – LB

4) Self-Manage & Reflect: Making the Most of Your Work Experience

  • How do I ensure I’m hiring my manager’s goals and my personal goals?
  • How do I communicate effectively with my manager or point of contact?
  • How do I remain productive with less day-to-day accountability? How do I strategically reflect on a work experience to leverage it moving forward?

“I have a toolkit to self manage myself and start implementing a pomodoro way of self managing to make my time more productive.” – AM

Other Career Resources 

Hookedin - UT platform that helps you get plugged into a network of Longhorns working in every industry. Hookedin allows you to leverage the power of Longhorn Nation to learn from others’ experiences, build your resume, and take your career or business to the next level. Simply sign up in less than two minutes by connecting your LinkedIn account.

Industry Relations at SDCT – Industry Relations in the School of Design and Creative Technologies serves as the bridge between student creatives and their desired industries, including design, technology, entertainment, and more. Services include one-on-one consultations, webinars and resources, networking guidance, and assistance with resumes, cover letters, and portfolios. The goal of Industry Relations is to equip students to advocate for themselves and supply the necessary opportunities to practice that advocacy. From orientation to graduation, Industry Relations provides curated resources and individual career direction to students pursuing their dreams in the creative industries.

Second Day - Non-profit that’s building a social impact talent pipeline by supporting college seniors through a fellowship program centered on professional development and mentorship. (Currently available for UT Austin, Rice, Harvard, and Georgetown students.) Check out their real-time Social Impact Hiring Tracker

Texas Career Engagement - UT org that helps undergraduate, graduate, and professional students connect with the many resources available at The University of Texas at Austin to discover career options, complement academics with experiential learning, develop professional skills, connect with employers for internships and employment, and prepare for advanced-degree programs. Texas Career Engagement’s mission is to advance equitable access to career education, experiences, opportunities, and success for all students, and to provide employers with equitable access to talent across the University. 

(More resources to come.)

Want to get involved?

Whether you’re a student, campus entity, or outside organization, we’d love to hear from you! Please email LaunchPad Assistant Director, Nina Ho, at nina.q.ho@utexas.edu.

As always, the best way to stay up-to-date about our work is to sign up for our biweekly newsletter.