Professional Development

Helping former athletes reach for new professional dreams: Gradtap

Matthew Parker, who played basketball at James Madison University, is helping other former college athletes find jobs in the tech sector.

Former college basketball player Matthew Parker is helping other athletes reach for new career goals.

(Photo by Flickr user Alberto!, used under a Creative Commons license)

As a former basketball player for James Madison UniversityMatthew Parker knows those post-graduation blues, when the hoop dream goes bust and new career options don’t line up.
“Almost zero percent of college athletes go on to play professional,” said Parker. And while in school, “they miss out on a lot of opportunities as far as professional development.”
That’s why he created Gradtap, a training program held in his NoMa home that brings athletes up to speed on skills like design thinking, digital marketing and coding.
Parker wants to create “a resource and a place where students can come, pick up the additional skills that they didn’t get through a normal degree.”
To help them reach for the best options, Gradtap is currently focused on the technological field.
“Every company is now becoming a tech company,” said Parker. “It’s the place with the largest need and the widest gap.”
The four-week program launched in August costs $1,700 to $2,700, including sessions with a career coach and lunch-and-learn events with local companies, like EverFi, Optoro and Clarabridge.
As part of this season’s curriculum, Gradtap’s three inaugural students were also assigned a project to present at Clarabridge’s offices in Reston.

Companies: EverFi, Clarabridge, Optoro
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