I got into contact with Melanie Doherty, a designer as well as someone who taught Transition to Professional Practice at CCA for several years. I was very fortunate to be able to talk to her and receive an amazing amount of information an insight, which I feel has helped pushed my research to a new level.
By talking to her and looking at her curriculum, I was able to realize how much information and readiness DAI students lack—and that are crucial to not only succeeding but simply being able to find jobs within the crowded industry today. She covers so many different topics in her class, and it astounds me that SF State doesn't even have a portfolio class; as mentioned, it was discontinued years ago and yet it is still on our contract. Transition to Professional Practice covers not only creating an effective portfolio, but it also looks at every aspect of freelancing and running a business, different working environments (small vs large studios, etc), which environment is best for you, how to interview, how to create a resume, preparing financially and mentally, and so much more. She even brings in established, successful designers for students to interact with. Not only is it the hard skills and soft skills, but it is also the culture and mindset that she looks at for graduates to not only succeed but be happy.
Fortunately, she has agreed to be on my panel of experts! She will be a very valuable resource for me to turn to for the remainder of my research.