Small actions can add up to a big impact, and that’s the approach one instructor is taking to prepare her Business Information Worker students for success. Amity Perry Boada, a business education instructor at Cuesta College, is utilizing some outside-the-box techniques to keep her students motivated and engaged as a cohort.
The BIW program teaches students the skills needed to obtain entry-level office positions. Many are new to higher education and the business world more broadly, and Perry Boada is helping bridge that gap through monthly professional development seminars.
“Many of the students are working a job that’s not sitting in an office,” Perry Boada said. “I have a chicken farmer, a truck driver, and students from lots of other backgrounds. The program helps them gain confidence and know this is something they can do.”
The school year began with a kickoff meeting that included a messenger bag filled with supplies students will need to be successful in the program — everything from pens and notebooks to a full listing of BIW courses.
Perry Boada said students loved the toolkit and were eager to put it to use, with one student texting her, “OMGGGGGGGG I just opened the kit and thank you so much !!!! It’s so amazing !!!!”
In September, she organized a resume workshop to help students understand what information needs to be included when applying for a professional position and some of the trends in how resumes are presented. Seminars in October and November featured guest speakers who are looking to hire BIW students for internships or full-time positions.
One speaker, Joe Moreno from the Department of State Hospitals – Atascadero (AHS), posted an internship position specifically for BIW students. “ASH is a major employer in San Luis Obispo county,” said Perry Boada. “State jobs are wonderful because they provide opportunity for growth, transfer to different departments, excellent benefits, and retirement. Students were excited to learn the state hiring process and have direct contact with Human Resources.”
In addition to the toolkit distributed at the beginning of the year, each monthly meeting includes giveaways that reward students for participation activities like answering tough interview questions and demonstrating different types of technology.
Perry Boada’s goal is to have everyone in her cohort placed in a job by May. With a strong job market and her work helping students prepare for the job search, that goal seems well within reach. “We are teaching them skills that the employers want,” she said. “Placement agencies are eager for our students to be done because they have jobs. They have openings, and they want these positions filled.”