Williamson College Partners with Business

By Betty Jo Licata, Dean
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Engaging our students and faculty in innovative programs with impact is how we live our mission of preparing students to be successful business leaders and supporting the economic vitality of our region.   

Incorporating high impact practices throughout the “Williamson Experience” not only educates, but also empowers our students to embrace a wide variety of opportunities. During the past year, more than 700 students completed team-consulting projects for regional businesses and nonprofit organizations. These experiences enable our students to apply their knowledge and skills to solving business problems and contribute to the organizations in our Valley.

Fall 2019 undergraduate enrollment in the WCBA increased 3.8% and overall credit hour generation increased 6.8%. These are positive signs as we continue to attract more students based on the significant return on investment of the YSU business degree. The quality of our programs is recognized with our accreditation by AACSB International placing us in the top 5% of business schools in the world.  

Our invaluable partnerships with the business community help to ensure our students are developing the skills and professional mindset necessary for business success. More than 300 business professionals participate in activities such as our WCBA business, accounting and finance advisory councils, Professional Development Summit, Accounting and Finance Student Practitioner Day, HR Shadow Day, and Meet the Employers Day.  

One of the differentiating features of the Williamson Experience is our internship program through which students gain paid, credit-bearing career-related experience. Sixty-six percent of our 2018-2019 graduates completed at least one internship and 94% of these students had full-time jobs or were in graduate school within six months of graduation.

Internships build talent capacity in a wide variety of fields and industries and we are fortunate to have targeted funding for specialized internships such as the Ohio Export Internship Program, the Raymond John Wean Nonprofit Leadership Summer Honors Internship Program, the John D. Beeghly Fellows, and the Monus Entrepreneurship Fellows.

Involving our students in team-consulting projects, internships and service learning projects exposes them to the wide variety of opportunities in our region.  A high level of engagement in the community fuels our students’ enthusiasm for building careers and making a difference here in the Valley.

Business is global and so, too, is the WCBA education. Students are developing global competencies through class projects, study abroad and short-term global learning experiences. Last year students went to the Czech Republic and Italy and this year 40 students will experience global business in Japan, Prague and Italy.

Innovation and impact are driven by our exceptional faculty and staff who focus on student success, research that makes a difference and engagement with the business community. Faculty work extends beyond the classroom through professors involvement with student organizations, competition teams, interns, community service projects and accompanying students to conferences. 

Our contributions to the community are reflected in our participation in the United Way Day of Caring, Junior Achievement, fundraising and grant-making through our Pay It Forward Student Philanthropy initiative, Youth Leadership Mahoning Valley, WCBA Dare to Care Day, and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. Last fall, JA named our Pi Sigma Epsilon professional sales and marketing fraternity Volunteer Organization of the Year.

The Ohio Small Business Development Center at YSU, housed in the WCBA, was recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration with the 2019 National SBDC Excellence and Innovation Award. In addition, the SBDC demonstrated the highest economic impact in its 32-year history, serving 395 clients who generated a $13.9 million sales increase, 1,341 jobs, $19.8 million in capital formation and $36.55 million in export sales growth.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.