How did you learn to manage your finances? How did you discover the benefits of networking with others in your career field? How did you gain leadership skills? I know for me, I saw them modeled by mentors; others I discovered through trial and error. They were not something I specifically sought to learn while in school.

In our September 2016 issue of Spark, we introduced the plans for Calvin LifeWork, which began this fall. This four-year, co-curricular, voluntary program aims to launch participants into the world a few steps ahead, with a few less stumbles, and equipped to make wise decisions.

Each year will have a different focus for students. Year one is discovery, two is equipping, three is experiencing and four is launching. The focus each year will bring in training from four different modules: vocation, career readiness, financial literacy and life skills, and leadership development. If a student fully participates in the first three years of the program, he or she will receive a $3,000 scholarship the fourth year.

To help kick off the program, Christian financial adviser and author Ron Blue spoke to students. He shared his five biblical principles of financial freedom: “give generously, avoid the use of debt, spend less than you earn, set long-term goals and plan for financial margin.” If Blue’s book sales to students that night are any indication, there is clearly a hunger to learn more.

The kickoff event was just a passing glimpse of what students will learn to set them up for life after they leave Calvin’s campus. It is a program unique to Calvin, and it has already garnered attention from other colleges around the country and in higher-education publications.

TaRita Johnson, director of the Career Center, believes “the program is a game changer in determining how we will prepare our graduates for life and work.” As with all we do in our work, Calvin Life- Work will equip students to think deeply, act justly and live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.