Pennsylvania: Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC)

This policy profile describes the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania's Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC) program, which was developed with employer input and aims to equip students with employability and soft skills necessary for a successful career after graduation.  


Pennsylvania: Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC)

To help ensure that students are developing the hard and soft skills needed to succeed after graduation, the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania developed the Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC) with industry input. OCC is a university wide, co-curriculum program that aims to equip students with employability and soft skills necessary for a successful career.

In order to develop a program that would prepare students for success after graduation, the University of Pittsburgh launched a focus group of campus leaders and industry partners to develop the OCC in 2008. The university met with employers from numerous industries to ensure that the program equips students with skills that are transferable across all careers and that the ten goal areas of the program align with employer objectives.

The ten goal areas of the program include leadership development; career preparation; communication skills; global and cultural awareness; Pitt pride; service to others; sense of self; wellness; appreciation of the arts; and, initiative and drive.

Each goal area has specific requirements for completion that aim to equip learners with the competencies they need to possess to obtain a high skill career. For example, the leadership development goal requires that students complete leadership training for a minimum of 16 hours, attend 3 leadership workshops, serve in a leadership role for an organization, and hold a leadership position in an organization.

While students don’t earn credit for OCC, if they finish the 70 requirements for OCC completion, they can be inducted in the OCC Honor Society and apply for the OCC Pitt Advantage Grant, a stipend for experiential learning opportunities. Students also receive a OCC transcript that details the activities they completed in the program.

Policy in Action
The program is shaped by employer involvement to ensure students have a competitive advantage after graduating. The initiative and drive goal area was added to the program as a direct result of employer input. Feedback from an employer indicates that OCC graduates are more prepared and comfortable in the workforce than those who did not complete the program. As of Spring 2017, more than 4,000 students have completed OCC.

Related Links
Outside the Classroom Curriculum
Outside the Classroom Curriculum Ten Goal Areas
OCC Pitt Advantage Grant
OCC Honor Society
How to Complete the OCC
Pitt Business Outside the Classroom Curriculum
Report: Learning to Work, Working to Learn
Article: Adding Value to the Classroom Via Learning Outside of the Classroom

Last Updated January 2021

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