Communications Class Assists in Workforce Development Through Applied Learning

Posted by on July 8, 2014

At Minnesota School of Business, students take professional communications classes to gain valuable experience in essential skills, such as listening, verbal and nonverbal communication, and business writing, among others. This past spring, students in the Professional Communications I class took their understanding of verbal communication and listening to a whole new level.

Dave Erickson, MSB-Blaine business program chair and Lori Higgins, president of MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce, with professional communications students

Working with the MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce, the 10 students made 320 phone calls, surveying 80 businesses to gain information for the chamber. The goal was to better understand what businesses are looking for in their workforce.

Students enjoyed working on this project, as it gave them real-world experience with cold calling, which some individuals had never done before. The project also met some of their course objectives, which is what applied learning is all about—working with community partners to practice what they’ve learned in the classroom.

“As the instructor for the students involved in the MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce project, I have to say I am extremely proud of the professional way they all handled themselves on the phone when contacting the businesses,” said Dave Erickson, MSB-Blaine business program chair. “This was truly a win-win situation—for the results provided to the chamber, as well as a great learning opportunity for the students. Many of the students expressed their appreciation both to the school and the chamber for providing the survey experience to them, and for giving them both the direction and independence to carry it out to its successful completion.”

Lori Higgins, president of MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce, has this message for the students involved in the project:

“On behalf of the MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce, please extend our heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the (Professional Communications) students who were part of our applied learning project this spring. We truly appreciated all of their hard work and dedicated efforts.

Collecting and analyzing information from area businesses regarding their workforce needs was an important initiative for our Workforce Development Committee. The results from this project will be used in several ways, including one-on-one assistance, creating a ‘speaker’s bureau’ database, identifying potential projects for the Committee, and more. Of course, communicating our overall interest and commitment in workforce needs—a very important issue to many businesses—was in and of itself a vital component of this project, and we thank you for personally reaching out to our members in this regard.

We hope your students found as much value in this project as we did. We look forward to working with the Minnesota School of Business on other projects of mutual interest in the future. Thank you for all you do!”


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