By Kate O’Donnell, EDRA Executive Director
A recent report from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce notes that "the unemployment rate for recent graduates is highest in Architecture (13.9 percent) because of the collapse of the construction and home building industry in the recession." While this may sound dire (and seem particularly foreboding for our student members currently majoring in architecture), I think there’s a silver lining to this gray cloud. What the Hard Times, College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings: Not All College Degrees Are Created Equal report doesn’t tell you is how professional associations such as EDRA exist to help students make the connections and get the experience they need to make them MORE employable than their counterparts.
An Associations NOW article, “Class Is In Session” (2008), reminds us about the many benefits of association membership: "The unique networking opportunities that associations offer in such a wide range of specific fields are also highly regarded. Associations have a wealth of opportunities to offer student members; conferences and events provide tremendous opportunities for students to brush up on their face-to-face networking skills, a necessity at any stage in one’s career. In addition to substantially reduced membership fees, associations also generally offer various other benefits, such as credit card programs, travel discounts, and scholarships." Last year alone, EDRA was able to award $5,000 in scholarships to students to attend our annual conference, where they then had the opportunity to meet with potential employers, collaborators, and mentors.
So for those students who were disenchanted by the Georgetown Center report, take heart and take a look at our new website! We’ve got an entire section devoted to resources for students, as well as a new Career Center where individuals can post resumes, search for jobs and learn more about employers in the architecture and design fields. EDRA’s Knowledge Networks put students front and center with the leaders in specific disciplines such as sustainable design, work environments and healthcare. And, our social media networks help identify and inform discussions that make students more marketable in the marketplace.
With our core mission to create environments that are more responsive to human needs, EDRA works hard to support and nurture our students--the future leaders in environmental design.