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Business externship program launches with 111 sites

May 5, 2010

KALAMAZOO--During the first two weeks of May, more than 60 students from Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business will spend time job shadowing professionals at over 100 Southwest Michigan worksites as part of a new Business Externship Program.

Developed to help freshmen and sophomore students focus their education and career preparation, the new program matches business students with professionals, based on the students' desired occupation. The students will observe the business environment as well as the tasks and responsibilities of the professionals for a one- to five-day experiential opportunity.

Program Coordinators Geralyn Heystek and Jessie Wagner, both career advisors with the Career Center in the Haworth College of Business, note that some pre-business students have trouble engaging in their education until they discover an academic major and career path that is a good fit for them. The Business Externship Program facilitates students' career exploration by purposefully partnering them with a career role model.

"We researched collegiate job shadow programs at other business schools and designed the program with WMU students and the employers who hire WMU students in mind," says Wagner. "Our pilot program in summer 2008, along with input from an advisory board that included both students and employers, proved extremely helpful in developing program learning objectives. We structured the program to provide a developmental experience for both the students and the professionals.”

The program is made possible primarily through grants from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Eaton Corp. Other employers participating in the program include Amway, Edward Jones Investments, Yeo and Yeo, Hormel Foods, Kellogg, Whirlpool and Wal-Mart.

For more information on participating, visit WMU's Business Externship Program online or contact Jessie Wagner at jessie.wagner@wmich.edu or (269) 387-2711.

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Media contact: Valorie Juergens, (269) 387-5964, valorie.juergens@wmich.edu

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