Jullien Gordon on How Experience Checklist Empowers College Student Career Planning

In Chapter 13 of 14 of his 2010 Capture Your Flag interview, motivation teacher Jullien Gordon tours 30 college campuses in 10 weeks to provide guidance to students finding difficulty finding jobs. Gordon cites how only 20% of graduating college students have jobs and creates a novel approach, a 66-item list, to build student intellectual, personal, financial, and social capital. The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) backs Gordon and his effort to complement the career planning, curriculum, and counseling students receive while in school. Gordon holds an MBA and Masters in Education from Stanford University and a BA from UCLA.


Erik Michielsen:  How did your thirty college, ten week speaking tour, Route 66, reshape your ideas on how to reform college career planning?

Jullien Gordon:  Oh, man.  So, I did this college tour called the Route 66 in partnership with the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, went to thirty campuses in ten weeks all across the country.  It was amazing.  Reached thousands of students and as – the tour was based on sixty-six things that a college student needs to do before graduation because I woke up one morning and saw a statistic from the National Association of Colleges and Employers and said only 20% had jobs on hand at graduation.  So, college use to be this guaranteed path to a job and you’re telling me that only 20% of college graduates in the class of 2009 had job at graduation?  That tells me that college isn’t doing what it’s suppose to, and for me college is a four-year stepping stone for your forty year career.  So, out of that I was inspired to list all the things that I think would help students develop their personal, intellectual, social and financial capital during college to position themselves for the career that they wanted after.  It ended up being a list of sixty-six things and as I was sharing this with them on this tour during this ninety minute presentation, I would say, ‘How many people have done this?” And only two people would have done any given item on the list. 

They were being exposed to things that they had never considered using the college environment for in that space and it just showed me that there was a huge, huge gap.  That the career center wasn’t giving it to them, their major counselor wasn’t giving it to them, their classes weren’t giving it to them, their extracurricular activities wasn’t giving it to them and that they all need it packaged it in one space and that’s what the Route 66 is all about.  I touch base with some of the students on Facebook saying, ‘How’s your Route 66 going?” “I’m crossing off my things off one at a time and I’m so glad that you came to campus and shared this with me.”  And I truly believe that any student that graduates having taken Route 66 is going to be ten times more ready for the world than any student that hasn’t.