University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation recently partnered with Jones Leadership Academy of Toledo Public Schools.
The goal of this partnership is to prepare high school students for higher education and the business profession, said Selina Griswold, UT associate professor of management and organizer of Young Executive Scholars.
The Young Executive Scholars program will allow 13 high school juniors and seniors to take business etiquette workshops presented by UT and community professionals every month, Griswold said.
The first workshop, on Oct. 4, introduced the students to the YES program, where they signed a form of participation, completed leadership exercises and discussed opportunities that exist in the business profession, Griswold said.
The next two workshops will teach participants about business communication, including firm handshakes, verbal and nonverbal communication, how to interview, and a formal dining etiquette workshop that will include a professionally prepared meal, Griswold said.
“We will have one of the faculty here, who teaches our networking class, to provide them the tools for networking in business,” Griswold said.
The final two workshops will build off prior workshops, giving students practical experience with networking and interviewing, Griswold said.
“Our hope is to expand the program next year,” she said. “We just wanted to make sure it will work okay this year and expand it to possibly 30 students, but we would need additional funding to do that.”
The anticipated total cost for YES is $3,500. It is funded by the College of Business and Innovation budget.
Jones Leadership Academy was chosen because it is 98 percent African American and two percent Latino, as one of the goals of the YES program is to reach out to underrepresented students. If the program does branch out, it will seek out schools with similar demographics, she said.
“The ultimate goal is to prepare students to be leaders in a global work environment and for success in higher education,” Griswold said. “We want them to graduate high school and be a pipeline to our business college.”
Griswold said that she is planning a mentorship and peer mentorship program that will continue to monitor each student’s progress if they enroll at UT, she said.
According to a UT Press Release, Ward Barnett, president of Jones Leadership Academy, was an undergraduate student at UT when he became a mentee in Griswold’s first UT Mentorship Program. He is now directly involved in the YES program.
Barnett declined to comment at this time, but in a UT Press Release he emphasized the importance of professionalism and respect for others in business.
“It will help these young leaders make positive first impressions while building trust in the workplace and other professional settings,” he said. “To prepare these young leaders for the world, they must learn to adhere to a well-understood code of etiquette.”