More often than not, most individuals are encouraged to seek opportunities to advance their career. Recently, a Rensselaer employee shared the approach taken to advance professionally at the Institute. I was extremely pleased to learn that, as part of the employee’s process, this individual had taken advantage of our Human Resources career development courses, while also striving for personal and professional excellence.

Curtis Powell

Curtis Powell

When asked to consider which work-related factors are most important to a person’s job satisfaction, employees from varied industries and different sized organizations around the world have consistently reported “opportunities for career advancement.” This kind of feedback leads to the question: “Who within the organization is ultimately responsible for career development?”

At Rensselaer, we believe that the answer to part of that question can be found in our Employer-Employee Value Proposition: Career development is a shared responsibility between the individual and the organization. In addition, the key to a successful career development program lies in aligning the individual’s professional goals with the organization’s business needs. The foundation of effective career development is an evolving assessment, conducted by the individual, which yields an accurate list of their professional goals, their existing skills, and their future aspirations.

Rensselaer has a number of tools available to assist individuals in managing their careers, ranging from tuition reimbursement benefits to more than 60 individual professional development programs in areas such as leadership development, customer service, communications skills, time management, computer skills, and many more.

Each fiscal year, I am pleased that nearly one in four (25 percent) of open staff positions are filled by internal candidates.

At Rensselaer, after six months of employment with “successful” performance, current employees are eligible to apply for open positions within the Institute for which their skills, experiences, and abilities meet the qualifications of the job. Individuals will compete against other internal and external candidates for the open positions. Successful internal candidates are generally those who have embraced the concept of individual career management and have committed themselves to being lifelong learners. To see the current list of staff openings, visit

In the words of financial author Dave Ramsey, “A goal without a plan is just a dream.” To that end, career development encompasses much more than simply applying for positions; it involves a carefully considered long-term strategy.

Members of the Division of Human Resources are available to assist you in identifying the tools and resources needed to proactively manage your career. To get started, visit the Professional Development Resource site or contact Will Fahey, manager of professional and organizational development, at 276-2318 or via email at

Curtis Powell, SPHR
Vice President for Human Resources