June 06, 2008

High school students to learn about business world

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A contingent of minority high school students from across America will visit Southern Illinois University Carbondale this month and find out for themselves that the world is their oyster.

SIUC’s College of Business and Administration will host about 20 students who will be high school juniors or seniors this fall in a weeklong residency program June 14-21. While on campus, the students will explore the many opportunities the business world offers them.

“We want to emphasize to the participants that they have the potential for success and not only success, but greatness,” Michael L. Haywood, the college’s director of minority affairs, said. “We want them to start preparing for careers and not jobs. Now, we have to all be gainfully employed but it doesn’t have to be in dead-end positions. We want to introduce them to the career track opportunity and show them how a career is strategically planned and not something that just happens.”

The seminar includes classes in leadership skills, networking, finance, marketing, business administration and accounting. Preparing for the ACT also plays a significant part in the week’s activities. Students will meet with SIUC administrators and learn of the University’s business programs. Guest speakers will discuss dining etiquette, preparing for interviews and suitable professional behavior.

Plans call for a trip to St. Louis too. There the teens will visit such businesses as The Boeing Co. and Edward Jones, seeing real world corporate life in action and meeting business representatives.

Intertwining workshops with practical study and interaction with business and corporate officials gives participants an encompassing view of what their future can be, according to Haywood. Living in residence halls on campus likewise gives participants a peek at the life that can be theirs, initially as college students and then in successful careers.

Exploring Careers in Business program funding comes from the Reflective, Responsive University Initiative and Caterpillar. Seymour Bryson, associate chancellor for diversity, coordinates the SIUC Reflective, Responsive University Initiative.