A “curriculum thread” to prepare diverse polytechnic student for career success through relationships

This study supports the notion that career advancement within an organization can be facilitated by work related relationships. The study reviews the risks and benefits of the classic mentor relationship and the scarcity of spontaneous, informal mentors, especially those of diverse backgrounds. The question arises whether polytechnic students in applied learning situations, such as practica or internships, would also benefit from a work-related relationship. A study of 163 college interns reveals that the internship experience is more satisfying with either a formal or informal supportive relationship than with no relationship. In light of the scarcity of appropriate mentors for all members of diverse groups and the importance of mentor functions to career advancement, the author proposes that academics have an opportunity to teach students to seek the benefits of these relationships. The author suggests a curriculum of learning objectives that maybe woven through the curriculum of any polytechnic academic program.