Accelerate to Industry (A2i)

Accelerate to Industry (A2i)TM is an industry workforce readiness program for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars developed by the NC State University (NCSU) Graduate School. UC Santa Cruz Graduate Division became an academic partner in A2i under NCSU Graduate School in 2022. NCSU’s Accelerate to Industry program is funded through a National Science Foundation Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) grant. NCSU grants academic partner institutions $2,000 each year to be used to promote and implement A2i. Use of the NSF IGE grant funding was renewed in 2023.

Photo of UC Santa Cruz students

The A2i Program comprises six modules, any one or all of which an Academic Partner works to implement with one or more Industry Partners:

Talks and panels from industry speakers on career exploration, business communication, corporate culture, teamwork, project management, time management, leadership, market evaluation, and regulatory affairs.

Workshops on how to set a strategy, tailor the application, prepare for interviews, and manage the job offer and salary negotiation.

Provides graduate students and postdoctoral scholars the opportunity to explore a company through a site visit both in person and virtually. This module provides trainees with the opportunity to learn from early career professionals who just made the transition from their degree program and from leadership within the company, and to experience the job environment via a tour of the facilities.

Establishes opportunities for graduate students to connect with and work for industry partners. This module also provides an internship preparedness course to help graduate students prepare for their internship experience and train them on how to use their internship as an opportunity to network and continue to grow their understanding of an industry career.

A 10-week (quarter-long) development series during which graduate students and postdoctoral scholars learn to leverage their technical backgrounds and creativity to move ideas and projects forward as part of a cross-disciplinary team. Each partnering company works with a multidisciplinary team on a project that is relevant to the company. UCSC recruits team members in response to the company’s needs.

An intensive week-long experiential learning opportunity that prepares graduate students, postdocs, and recent graduate alumni for the corporate environment. IW includes signature A2i content, particularly Industry Insights and Job Search Strategies, in conference and workshop format on the UCSC main campus or Silicon Valley campus in Santa Clara.

Want to be an Industry Partner?

If you represent a business in Santa Cruz County, the Monterey Bay Area, Silicon Valley, or San Francisco Bay Area that hires graduate-degree holders and would like to explore the possibility of becoming a UC Santa Cruz A2i Industry Partner, please reach out to Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies Peter Biehl at