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Career Center, Santa Clara University

Define how you will make a difference

Careers for the Common Good

Careers For The Common Good (ELSJ 23)

Do you know you want to “make a difference” in your work and life but aren’t yet sure how to do so? This 2-unit course, offered in the Fall Quarter, exposes students to social realities and injustices both locally and internationally, with the intent of understanding the complex relations between privileged and marginalized groups.

Through reflection and a variety of activities, students will be able to articulate their interests and talents and the career applications to particular needs in the world.

There are so many ways you can enact work for the common good in different professional areas and it is possible to devote your life's work to that cause. There are so many interesting and intricate steps in a vocational journey and it's beautiful how they are all unique to each person. I've learned so much about myself and personal goals and values as well as great practical steps to pursue my own vocation in this course.

-Careers for the Common Good student, reflecting on the most helpful insights she gained from the class

Key elements of the course include:
Community-Based Learning

Through the Arrupe Weekly Engagement program (Link to  Ignatian Center page) students take their learning outside of the classroom, spending a few each week engaged with a community partner organization.  This engagement allows students to work with and learn from the local  community and gain valuable experiences and insights that deepen their understanding of class topics.

Students  choose from a wide range of engagement opportunities, working with populations including children, adolescents, the elderly, immigrants, English language learners, people with developmental or physical disabilities, the homeless, and more at Community Partner Organizations (link to Ignatian Center Community Partners page) including:

  • Alzheimer’s Activity Center
  • Bronco Urban Gardens
  • Cabrillo Middle School
  • CET Immigration & Citizenship Program
  • Catholic Charities
  • Community Law Center
  • Estrella Family Services
  • The Health Trust
  • Martha’s Kitchen
  • Sacred Heart Community Service
  • ...and many more!

"Loved the CBL aspect because it forced us to go out of our comfort zones."

"I really enjoyed my CBL, it impacted me the most by connecting with the community outside of SCU."

-Careers for the Common Good students, sharing the value of their CBL experience

Guest Speakers

Speakers representing a variety of industries and diverse perspectives share their vocational journey and address the social realities and injustices their work addresses.  Speakers also provide practical insight into their organization and industry and share advice and resources for students interested in pursuing work in their field.  Topics addressed by speakers and panelists include Nonprofits, Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Entrepreneurship, Sustainability, Healthcare, Year of Service, Tech for Good, and more.

Previous class speakers have represented organizations including: 


Tesla Logo

Miller Center Logo

Sobrato Family Foundation Logo

Downtown Streets Team Logo

Health Trust Logo

Kaiser Permanente Logo

Kiva Logo


Symantec Logo

Silicon Valley Community Foundation Logo

Good World Solutions

Sunpower Logo

“I was able to directly connect with various speakers.  This has greatly helped me in my internship search and informational interview practice.”

“The speakers provided great insight into their chosen career paths which helped me gain insights into my own potential career path” 

-Careers for the Common Good students, highlighting the impact of the class speakers

Career Development Resources

The class incorporates activities and assignments that help students learn more about themselves and prepare them for their internship or job search. These include self-assessments like StrengthsQuest and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, development of a resume and LinkedIn profile, conducting an informational interview, and participating in a mock interview.

StrengthsQuest Logo


LinkedIn Logo



“This class helped a lot in teaching me how to write resumes, cover letters, and build my LinkedIn profile so that I am better prepared when trying to find internships or jobs later on.”

“I felt as if I was using class time to work on the things I need in real life”

-Careers for the Common Good students, reflecting on the value of career development activities and resources

These elements, combined with written reflection and class discussions, provide students with the tools and resources to pursue a career direction and make life decisions that are personally meaningful and socially beneficial.

Careers for the Common Good - ELSJ 23 fulfills the ELSJ core requirement and is in the Vocation Pathway. For more information about the class, call the Career Center at 408-554-4421.

It has made an impact on me because I will definitely take into consideration social responsibility when searching for a career later in life. Something I didn’t think about before taking this class.

-Careers for the Common Good student, sharing how the class impacted him