WMU News

Minority youth learn about business, technology careers

July 7, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Some 35 minority high school students from around Southwest Michigan will be on the Western Michigan University campus July 10-27.

Sponsored by WMU's Haworth College of Business, INROADS Inc. is bringing the students on campus to expose them to business and technology careers and prepare them for college. The students will take classes on subjects as diverse as trigonometry, business writing, physics and chemistry, as well as receive instruction on Internet research and business software applications. During the program, each student will design and launch a personal Web page. A career development component includes talks by area business leaders and tours of local corporations, such as the Kellogg Co. and Eaton Corp.

"We could hold this program at a local high school or other site, but by being at WMU we're able to introduce these students to a quality university campus to which they might not otherwise be exposed," says Jaime (HIGH-may) Flores, INROADS Midwest regional manager and managing director. "When students experience a university campus first-hand, college suddenly doesn't seem like such a far-away dream.

"We're thankful to WMU and Dean (James W.) Schmotter for allowing us to use the Haworth College of Business facilities. And at the heart of our relationship with WMU is Dr. Martha Warfield," adds Flores. "With Martha's on-campus assistance, we couldn't ask for a better educational partner than WMU."

Warfield is director of WMU's Division of Minority Affairs and an INROADS/Southwest Michigan board member.

The mission of INROADS is to develop and place talented minority youth in business and industry and prepare them for corporate and community leadership. Based in Grand Rapids, the southwest Michigan affiliate is one of only eight of 55 INROADS offices around the nation to offer a pre-college component in addition to the traditional college internship programs.

"The INROADS program is one of the many community service and outreach efforts we've become involved in as the University has increased its focus on pre-college programs for minority students," says Warfield. "We are dedicated to the mission of encouraging these students to pursue higher education--wherever that may be. Secondarily, however, it is also an excellent opportunity to expose them to the benefits of pursuing that education at our University."

Media contact: Jessica English, 616 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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