Finding a job out of college can be difficult for the average college graduate, but for college athletes, it can be even harder. College athletes have less opportunities for jobs because of their busy schedules during the season and in the offseason.

On March 21, Missouri State University Athletics partnered with leaders at the Athlete Network to form the Bear Network.

The Bear Network is an organization created to promote and track programs and services offered to current and former student-athletes, according to a release from MSU.

“It has and will continue to be a priority at Missouri State to provide a total holistic experience for the student-athlete the day they arrive on campus and as alumni,” Missouri State Director of Athletics Kyle Moats said.

One of the program’s main focuses is  expanding career placement for former and current athletes.

The program provides multiple services, like mentorship programs and career opportunities to help keep them informed and well-connected in their fields of study.

“Athlete Network allows us to focus on one of the most important aspects of the experience, career planning and placement,” Moats said in the release. “This consolidation of services will be Missouri State-branded to better connect to their alma mater.”

Missouri State is the first school in the Missouri Valley Conference to partner with Athlete Network, according to the release.

With the 17 teams and over 400 student-athletes, the Bear Network stretches beyond Springfield.

“Through their commitment to cultivate relationships with both current student-athletes and former athletes, Missouri State athletic administrators are invested in helping their athletes succeed on campus and far after their playing days,” Vice President of partnerships for Athlete Network Brett Fuller said in a press release.

The program, according to the release, helps keep current athletes in touch with former athletes from the same program or those that studied in the same field.

It also helps those former athletes keep in touch with their former teammates as they search for careers with employers looking to hire them.

“With their engagement platform, Missouri State Athletics will not only be able to offer services in one easy-access location, but use data analytics to track the utilization of those services ensuring a beneficial relationship is maintained with their athletes for life,” Fuller said in the release.

The network looks to help the student-athletes whether it is their first job or a complete career change.

Navigating the real world can be difficult, but the Bear Network is trying to make it less difficult for their student-athletes.