By Minnie Wagner, Minnesota School of Business-Lakeville, Business and Healthcare Management Program Chair
Students from the Introduction to Business class at Minnesota School of Business-Lakeville took a field trip to Goodwill to discover the many layers of nonprofit organizations. Hands on field trips like this are a focus in our business degree program. Our goal is to help our students learn the course material and also see and experience the content in real-world settings. Later in their program students will get to apply their knowledge through service projects.
Goodwill is very organized throughout their company, using departmentalization and a specific hierarchy structure.
The students felt that the field trip was a good learning experience. Student Briana Olson stated, “I really enjoyed the field trip. Something that stuck with me is when [Store Manager Scott Lombardi] stated that even though Goodwill is a nonprofit they still need to make a profit to continue to do business.”
Students also learned about the process of reducing product waste and product organization.
With the current economic environment, Goodwill has seen an increase in traffic in their stores as well as an increase in donations. Every four weeks the company ships their unsold merchandise to their headquarters in St. Paul, Minn. There, they sell or redistribute their merchandise to other stores, nonprofits, and developing countries. Goodwill sometimes gets valuable donations that are auctioned off weekly with the bidding ending on Sunday.
After the experience, student Clint DeGross reflected on his experience, “Having an in depth look at the inner and outer workings of the Goodwill was a helpful benefit to the Introduction to Business Class. Not only that it reinforce our learning, it actually shows that what we are learning is used in everyday practice.”
Goodwill’s primary function is to train people to work efficiently and get back into the workforce.