There’s already some historical context for fraternities and sororities as engines for strong career outcomes, but it has certainly been more muted in terms of the up-front value proposition most prospective students see on the surface of Greek life. Not for long. There have been several noticeable new moves by national Greek-letter organizations that point toward a bright future focused on career-readiness and job outcomes. Sigma Chi recently announced a new leadership development program with stackable certificates designed to “develop transformational leaders who embody the skills demanded by our workforce and world.” The organization is currently pursuing accreditation as an educational institution offering these stackable credentials. Alpha Tau Omega (which made me an honorary initiate in 2005) has evolved their well-known leadership training to include a new “Men of Destiny” program which encourages members to explore their purpose and fit in the world. Part of the program also includes the Birkman Assessment, a tool typically used in corporate settings to help managers and teams lead and function better. And another new effort (in which Kaplan has been involved) is Lambda Chi Alpha’s launch of an intensive training program for their officers that yields certificates aligned with their roles in leadership, finance, recruitment and development. The goal is to have officers leave with both the leadership experience and a credential on their resumes.
Career-readiness is a promising strategy for Greek-letter organizations to embrace. And many are in a position to move quicker than universities on this front. As these efforts expand across fraternity and sorority chapters on campuses around the country, they will provide a valuable differentiator for attracting members and help further shed the old frat party image. Greek-letter organizations may invariably become catalysts for universities to offer more in terms of work-readiness support for students. It’s a clear and present opportunity for Greek leadership and we should all hope they continue to take up this mantle.