The Athlete Career & Education Program: Merging the Workforce and the World of Sport

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They train 40 hours a week. Sometimes, they train more. And if their home and training facility aren’t in the same city, they commute.

That’s the life many elite athletes live, day after day, week after week. With so much on their plates, how can they possibly manage a career?

They get help. Adecco, in partnership with the U.S. Olympic Committee, provides career assistance to elite athletes through the USOC Athlete Career & Education Program. Since 2005, hundreds of athletes have gotten much-deserved support through the program, helping them plan and build lasting careers that will reward them long after their training days have ended.

Life After Sports

It’s a common misconception that elite athletes are well compensated. For example, a 2012 report from the Track & Field Athletes Association provides startling evidence to the contrary: “Approximately 50% of our athletes who rank in the top 10 in the USA in their event make less than $15,000 annually from the sport (sponsorship, grants, prize money, etc.).” The article also reports that athletes without a top 10 USA ranking earn little — if any — financial support from their athletic endeavors.

These athletes persevere out of love for their sports and a passion for competition, often at great cost to their long-term earning potential. Unfortunately, there are limited career resources available to support them. That’s why Adecco and the USOC decided to do something about it.

The Athlete Career & Education Program provides a range of resources for competing athletes to help them lay the groundwork to be just as successful in their professional lives as they were in their athletic endeavors.

Resume writing, career coaching, interview preparation, job placement, and even entrepreneurship seminars are available through the program. Even better, the entire program is completely free to the athletes and all of it can be completed remotely to accommodate an athlete’s demanding schedule.

Weight Room to Boardroom

The same skills that help athletes rise to the top of their sports — drive, determination, problem solving, and discipline — can make them just as formidable in the professional world as they are on the field of competition.

Angel Bovee is a member of the Athlete Career & Education Program team here at Adecco. She’s helped countless top athletes lay the foundations for successful careers. And like the athletes she works with, Bovee knows that victory requires dedication.

“Everyone wants to hire an Olympic-caliber athlete,” she said. “But there are definitely challenges. We work hard to convince companies that the benefits of hiring athletes outweigh the flexibility they have to give these athletes to be able to compete and train. But once they see the value that these athletes can bring to their organizations, they’re completely on board.”

Among these companies are G.E. and Hilton Worldwide. Bovee noted that both companies have found tremendous success in using elite athletes in various roles; there are athletes in entry-level positions and even three attorneys working in the program.  While the roles differ, they have one thing in common—they offer flexible schedules, a critical component in the life of an elite athlete.

And while the phrase “elite athletes” tends to conjure images of Olympic glory, there’s more to the world of top-tier athletics. For instance, what happens after an athlete has left the world of sport? The Athlete Career & Education Program not only supports athletes currently training but also helps them transition into the workforce once they’ve retired.

Emma Preuschl is a great example of one of many athletes whose career has come full circle with the Athlete Career & Education Program. Before discovering the program, the registered dietitian was working four part-time jobs while competing on the U.S. Paralympic rowing team. Within three weeks, the program had placed Preuschl in HealthAhead, G.E.’s corporate wellness program. Preuschl, now retired, serves as Technical Intramural Research Assistant Fellow at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases.

If you’re an elite athlete who’s ready to start training for your next big challenge, contact the Athlete Career & Education Program now.

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