“Many students, particularly those vulnerable to academic failure or from backgrounds without a strong tradition of college-going, have only a loose sense of why college is important and how it can help them achieve their goals...(and are)...likely to be derailed by relatively minor challenges and setbacks.”

Toward a New Understanding of Non-Academic Student Support: Four Mechanisms Encouraging Positive Student Outcomes in the Community College. Melinda Mechur Karp February 2011 Grubb, 2006.

One Million Degrees understands that in order to help our scholars build a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities, we need to provide support that goes far beyond academics. One Million Degrees Scholars participate in a professional development and career readiness curriculum, which consists of two components that are essential to scholar success with community college and beyond:


Each scholar is matched—either individually or in a small group—with a volunteer coach, who is typically a professional in the scholar’s field of study.  Scholars and coaches meet on a monthly basis at OMD-led Scholar Development Sessions and communicate regularly outside of these workshops. 

Coaches help scholars navigate personal challenges, offer professional guidance, and support and encourage our scholars on their paths to their degrees. Coaches are supported with ongoing training by One Million Degrees. 

Interested in coaching a scholar? Check out our coaching opportunities today.


OMD Scholars engage in monthly workshops and experiential events that address career readiness, exploring industries and different company cultures, networking, and professional communication and etiquette.

Scholars also partake in hands-on events, putting what they learn into practice:

"It’s Who You Know" Speed Networking is designed to hone Scholars’ communication skills through speed networking sessions and a reception with leaders in diverse fields including finance, health care, education, STEM, and philanthropy. This event helps prepare OMD Scholars for internship and job interviews.  

Wisdom from the Workplace career readiness series offers scholars the opportunity to explore numerous careers in high-growth fields. Premier Chicago companies, including HAVI Global SolutionsMotorola SolutionsMicrosoft, Coyote Logistics, and Pathways Senior Living have hosted OMD Scholars at their workplace for a day of career exploration activities, expert panels, informational interviews, and guidance on how to best position oneself in a highly competitive job market.

Etiquette Dinner is hosted each year at the Standard Club in Chicago. During this exciting event, scholars are guided through the nuances of business dinner etiquette and social networking over a stunning five-course dinner and “mocktails” reception. 

Interested in sponsoring an OMD professional development event or hosting OMD Scholars for a ‘Wisdom from the Workplace’ day at your company?  Contact Allison Lipsman, Director of Development, at 312-920-9605 x304 or at [email protected]