Career Connections Center is preparing students for an AI-enabled workforce

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is becoming increasingly intertwined in the job market, building skills in this area can give you a competitive advantage for a successful job search. The University of Florida’s Career Connections Center is dedicated to ensuring students are prepared with competencies to engage with AI by the time they graduate.

AI refers to the growing ability of machines to demonstrate human intelligence and problem-solving skills. In the workplace, this technology is also commonly used both during the recruitment and hiring processes.

Ja’Net Glover, senior director of career services, said the center has been engaged in a concerted effort to familiarize Gators of all disciplines with the ever-growing significance of AI.

“We want our students to be aware that AI is already utilized in all disciplines,” she said. “What could this look like for careers and jobs? But also, how do you work alongside these tools for success?”

The university currently promotes approximately 200 courses focused on AI, which have been taken by more than 6,000 students this year alone. Over the course of the last year, the career center hosted six programs about AI’s impact on the workforce.

The center’s commitment to AI education is constantly expanding.

By employing an AI-specific career coach to work within the center, students will have access to focused education centered on both careers within AI and the ways the technology is utilized in other professions.

For example, students interested in entering the field of finance may work alongside AI functions such as analyzing data, as employers have shared with the center.

“The AI coach would help students understand the importance of critical thinking, the ethics and biases of information and being intuitive about whether data is comprehensive,” Glover said.

The center is also onboarding Quinncia, an AI program designed to improve student engagement with career services, this fall.

Quinncia contains an AI-enabled resume enhancement feature that offers suggestions and overall feedback based on the student’s desired industry. Students can also engage with the program’s mock interview tool, which creates a faux interview setting and provides users with a final score based on facial expressions, hand gestures, eye contact, use of filler words and other factors.

“In a way, this tool helps students become more competitive,” Glover said. “Having access to the program before interacting with an AI screening tool during the application and interview process — practicing in that space and considering the features and components — is valuable.”

Another major development in AI education at UF is the establishment of the AI Academic Initiative Center, which was announced in March 2022. In addition to continuing efforts to prepare students for the post-graduation job search, the AI Center will also work closely with the Career Connections Center on engaging with industries for talent acquisition.

Nearly 2,000 companies come to campus each year through Career Connections Center events. This partnership will bolster the university’s ability to provide students with pathways to internships and full-time jobs that will require the use of AI in their everyday work.

“The AI Center is going to give the university a centralized arm to route interest and efforts around artificial intelligence,” Glover said. “It's going to give a level of accountability and commitment to all the work that's happening.”

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