Connecting to the community through business
Under the umbrella of its new Center for Business & Entrepreneurial Education (CBEE), Goshen College’s business department is offering programs and initiatives for local individuals, small and family businesses and entrepreneurs.
The business department has developed a new partnership with ASSETS of Elkhart County to oversee implementation of the program and courses by Al Weldy, chair of the business department and associate professor of business, and Melissa Kinsey, assistant professor of business and director of the Entrepreneurship Learning Center (ELC). ASSETS will continue to offer practical, experience-based training and support for entrepreneurs interested in starting or expanding a business. ASSETS was founded by Mennonite Economic Development Associates, as a Christian nonprofit organization dedicated to working with entrepreneurs in communities around the world.
“By providing educational resources to help individuals develop, launch and improve their businesses, ASSETS helps strengthen economic development throughout the Elkhart County region,” said Kinsey.
The ELC will continue to develop and implement initiatives to meet the needs of traditional college students as well as entrepreneurs in the local business, nonprofit and church community. Specifically, the ELC is partnering with local Chambers of Commerce to offer consulting services, workshops and mentoring for regional community small businesses.
The college’s Family Business Program is also being revised and re-energized to facilitate monthly meetings of affinity groups and to offer family business counseling. And the Management Development Program continues to work with local business leaders to provide education resources, specifically for administrative assistants and new supervisors.
“The Center for Business & Entrepreneurial Education grew out of a business department strategic planning process and reflects the college’s commitment to connect with and serve the broader community,” said Weldy. “The Center gives us a framework within which to explore how to link our traditional students with different aspects of the community, including entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations and family owned businesses.”
Internships with local businesses are another means through which the business department is working at building relationships in the community. During the summer months, a larger number of business students than usual were taking advantage of this time to gain valuable experience through career-related internships in the Elkhart County community.
Twelve students in the Goshen College business department worked with area businesses to test and sharpen their skills, expand their interests and gain experience in the “real world” beyond college.
Those students included: Danielle Haney (Sr., Shipshewana, Ind.) at the Shipshewana Auction & Flea Market; Garrett Gingerich (Sr., Kokomo, Ind.) at Foamiture, a division of Veada Industries in New Paris; Ivannia Perez (Jr., Cassopolis, Mich.) at Habitat for Humanity of Elkhart County; Edgar Diaz (Soph., Nappanee) in the college’s business department; Mary Jo Martin (Sr., Wakarusa, Ind.) at the Goshen Parks and Recreation Department; Nate Gautsche (Sr., Goshen) at CB Richard Ellis as an assistant to a commercial real estate broker; James Graber (2006 graduate, Goshen) at Greencroft; David Haire (Sr., Evansville) at Mead Johnson;Tyler Springer (Soph., Carlisle, Pa.) at Mennonite Mutual Aid; Peter Widmer (Sr., Goshen) at Aluminum Trailer Company and Adam Yoder (Sr., Goshen) and Reuben Yoder (Sr., Normal, Ill.) with Keystone RV.