Integrating Career Readiness Into Language Programs

June 25–27, 2024
Synchronous* 3-day online summer institute

Sara Mack
Sara Mack

There is increasing pressure to employ global, international, and intercultural learning frameworks in the service of career readiness initiatives in U.S. secondary and post-secondary contexts. As language teachers, there are important questions of equity, access, and cultural competency that confront us as we consider this situation; there is also an opportunity to harness the momentum of these initiatives to support the social and economic justice goals of our courses. To that end, this institute is designed for those who are interested in learning more about career readiness initiatives and how they can be integrated to support language learning objectives related to social and economic justice.

During the institute, participants will first consider their own career path as teaching professionals. Next, they will learn about the history, context, and leading models of career readiness currently in use, and examine key questions of equity in language teaching and learning that have arisen. They will explore and discuss a critical, disciplinary-grounded approach to address these issues, and identify potential integration sites in their own macro or micro contexts. Participants will also have time to begin to develop their own materials for a course they teach and will receive constructive feedback from co-attendees. The institute will include examples of how this approach was applied to a multi-section intermediate Spanish as a Second Language course, propose best practices, and highlight areas for continued work in the field.

Program Schedule (9am-4pm)
  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Opening Perspectives of Work and Careers: Reflections on Our Own Professional Experiences 
  • Career Readiness Models: Competencies, Definitions, and Transference
  • Connections: Social and Economic Justice, Career Readiness, and Second Language Teaching
  • Addressing the Key Issues: Examples and Samples 
  • Brainstorming Integration into Our Own Courses
  • Course Integration: Small Group Discussion and Feedback
  • Beginning Work on Small Scale Integrations
  • Workshare

After this institute, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the main elements of career readiness programs and problematize their integration in the second language classroom;

  • Connect career readiness competencies and tools to learning objectives related to social and economic justice and language learning; and

  • Begin to design a small-scale integration of career readiness elements in a course they teach.


Sara Mack, Ph.D., (she/they) is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Sara is a former Faculty Fellow of the College of Liberal Arts Career Readiness Initiative and past recipient of the College of Liberal Arts Career Readiness Teaching Award and the College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Service Award. Current research interests include equity and access in U.S. higher education, metacognitive regulatory processes in classroom-based learning, sociophonetics, and learning and memory.

Target Audience
This institute is designed specifically for language educators at the postsecondary level. Educators at the secondary level can benefit from the institute if they are comfortable extrapolating from the examples provided.


  • This 3-day synchronous online institute will run from 9 am–4 pm (Central Time). The schedule includes many synchronous (real-time) presentations, group/partner work, and activities throughout the day. It also includes some off-screen time for independent work and a break for lunch each day.
  • You must be available to participate for the entire day Tuesday–Thursday as all activities build on each other.
  • Make sure you can meet the tech requirements for this institute.

Priority Teacher Professional Development Scholarship Program

Logo - PriorityThe Priority Teacher Professional Development Scholarship program is designed to promote equity and access to affordable professional development for world language educators who are currently teaching at a Community College, Minority Serving Institution, or Historically Black College/University in the United States and/or are currently teaching a Less Commonly Taught Language in the United States. The program provides funding for selected teachers in these categories to attend a CARLA Summer Institute for no charge.

Learn more and apply on the Priority Teacher Professional Development Scholarship website.

Quote MarksRight quote marksThis institute has provided me with invaluable insights and inspired me to engage in meaningful discussions with my colleagues regarding the integration of career readiness activities into our courses. Through this experience, I have come to realize that the courses I teach already encompass essential career readiness competencies. Equipped with this understanding, I feel empowered to advocate for the indispensability of language courses.

Career Readiness 2023 Institute Participant
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Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) • 140 University International Center • 331 - 17th Ave SE • Minneapolis, MN 55414