Professional Enhancement Program: classroom vs field experience
Many students interrogate their professors with the infamous question that’s been asked since a young age. “When am I going to use this in my life?” With the fact that most of our education is centered in a classroom setting it’s difficult to imagine when Algebra will come into place in practical applications. Broward College has an answer through the Professional Enhancement Program (PEP).
The Professional Enhancement Program is managed by the Social Behavioral Science & Human Services pathway at Central Campus. This program began in 2012 but officially started in 2014. PEP is designed for the purpose of recreating student’s lives and enhancing their diverse community with innovative projects, internships and career opportunities. Taking in the knowledge that’s been given in class, students explore their major with the window of opportunities PEP offers.
Eligible students are from Broward College, have a good academic standing of a 3.5 GPA, and go through an interview and acceptance process. While the process appears demanding, the competitive program has enlightened many of its interns.
“PEP has been an amazing program. I was welcomed with smiling faces to the interview and was appreciated for my skills. This program has helped me develop in many aspects of my life; be it personally, socially and/or professionally. I have met the best people on campus in this very program,” says Mishal Mohammad Raza, a student intern in the program.
PEP aims to have students gain a sense of the workforce with accountability, teamwork and responsibility. The professional experience isn’t the only benefit. The special aspect of this program is that Broward College students are paired with Broward College leaders and professionals from the community. The students are paired with individuals that are related to their field or career interest. The individuals include a student leader, faculty mentor and an alumni mentor. Each particular person assists in a unique way. Peer mentoring is given by the student leader. Faculty mentors assist by steering the student on the right path with the academic process. Alumni mentors act as a guide and help with the transfer process.
Training sessions are held every Friday on Central in Building 1. Guest speakers present to the student’s topics that allow them to become a great leader. Topics vary from “Financial Self-Care” to “How Resilience Works”. Students are also given soft-skills training through soft-skills courseware My Florida Ready to Work. Not only is this a resume builder for students, but recommendation letters are provided to students as well.
Xiahnni Harris, a lead intern, shared the details of what PEP consists of and how she feels about Broward College students getting involved. “Broward College students are the future of P.E.P. It allows students to have that personal touch that many students in bigger more impersonal settings do not experience.”
She continues to say what she is enthusiastic about as her role in this program. “I’m excited to mentor young adults and help them in their times of need; if there are ways for me to help someone become a better leader, or advise them through a tough spot, I would be happy to make that difference.”
Students in the program are expected to attend the weekly training sessions, dress professionally and have a work ethic to commit to the program and those in the program.