Creating an On-ramp for International Development

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A Calvin College professor and one of his students recently launched the website Entravos.net to connect recent college graduates to entry-level jobs in international development.

Roland Hoksbergen, Calvin’s director of international development studies, and Calvin senior John Michael LaSalle took on this project in the hope of providing an on-ramp for students looking to gain experience in their field.

“We’d like Entravos to become a central place where there’s a broad variety of different types of work around the world,” said La Salle, “so that the inability to find a job early on is not a deterrent for someone who wants to have a long-term career in international development.”

“Lots of Christian organizations have opportunities, internships, fund-raising, and even some paid positions in a variety of settings,” said Hoksbergen. “What we wanted to do is get these organizations to post their internship and entry-level types of opportunities for the graduates who are going to be looking for them.”

LaSalle said the idea isn’t new. Sites like Idealist.org post thousands of internships and volunteer opportunities already. But many Christian organizations don’t use it, he said.

“[Idealist.org] draws from a really wide audience, so they end up getting lots of applications that don’t fit their mission or their organization,” said LaSalle. The Entravos site is appealing to these Christian organizations, which approach development a little differently, he said.

So far, LaSalle said, the response has been mainly positive. He’s contacted 85 non-governmental organizations, parachurch ministries, and volunteer organizations, and all but three have shown interest in posting to the site.

The project is part of the college’s McGregor Undergraduate Research Program, which since 1999 has provided funding for collaborative student-faculty research in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

About the Author

Matt Kucinski is media relations manager at Calvin University.

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