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University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies releases white paper on how career roadmap collaborations between employers and educators can promote career progression of American workers

By Sharla Hooper

White paper by Dr. Louise Underdahl draws upon findings of 2023 Career Optimism Index® study

University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies announces the release of a white paper proposing actionable strategies to align worker expectations with employer needs to benefit both businesses and their workforces: “Beyond Keeping American Workers Current: Roadmaps for Career Progression.”

Louise Underdahl, Ph.D., a Research Fellow with the Center for Educational and Instructional Technology (CEITR) at the University of Phoenix, draws upon data from the 2023 University of Phoenix Career Institute® Career Optimism Index® study, and provides in this white paper context on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the subsequent reskilling and upskilling needs of employers and workers, and related attitudes, expectations, and optimism of workers to explore how career roadmaps can help create a future-ready workforce.

“As presented in the 2023 Career Optimism Index, by investing in employees' professional development, mental health, mentorship, and deeper engagement within their organizations, employers can channel workers' optimism in their own abilities to their current place of work, benefitting both businesses and their workforces,” states Underdahl. “There is real opportunity, through collaboration between educators and employers, to align curricular, extra-curricular, and training materials with workforce skill needs can transform career optimism into career progression.”

Underdahl completed her doctorate with the University of Southern California. She is currently a reviewer at the College of Doctoral Studies’ Dissertation to Publication Workshop, and has been co-leader of College of Doctoral Studies Alumni Special Interest Group since 2019. Underdahl is a recipient of multiple faculty recognition awards at University of Phoenix including the Phoenix500, the Distinguished Service Award for Scholarly Leadership in 2019, and the Faculty Excellence Award in 2022 and 2018.

Underdahl has been teaching at the University since 2004.

The full whitepaper is available at the Career Institute webpage or as a direct link here.


About the College of Doctoral Studies

University of Phoenix’s College of Doctoral Studies focuses on today’s challenging business and organizational needs, from addressing critical social issues to developing solutions to accelerate community building and industry growth. The College’s research program is built around the Scholar, Practitioner, Leader Model which puts students in the center of the Doctoral Education Ecosystem® with experts, resources and tools to help prepare them to be a leader in their organization, industry and community. Through this program, students and researchers work with organizations to conduct research that can be applied in the workplace in real time.

About the Career Optimism Index®
The Career Optimism Index® study is one of the most comprehensive studies of Americans' personal career perceptions to date. The University of Phoenix Career Institute® conducts this research annually to provide insights on current workforce trends and to help identify solutions to support and advance American careers and create equity in the workplace. For the third annual study, fielded between December 9, 2022 – January 13, 2023, more than 5,000 U.S. adults were surveyed on how they feel about their careers at this moment in time, including their concerns, their challenges, and the degree to which they are optimistic about core aspects of their careers. The study was conducted among a diverse, nationally representative, sample of U.S. adults among a robust sample to allow for gender, generational, racial, and socioeconomic differences and includes additional analysis of the workforce in the top twenty DMA markets across the country to uncover geographic nuances. The study also explores insights from 500 U.S. employers who are influential or play a critical role in hiring and workplace decisions within a range of departments, company sizes and industries to provide comparison between the workforce and those who hire, train, and retain them.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is continually innovating to help working adults enhance their careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, and Career Services for Life® help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit