Lancaster – Students from the Ohio University Lancaster Campus Bachelor's of Science in Applied Management program believe a presentation they made to Fairfield County Job and Family Services earlier this month can help the organization make better decisions moving forward.
Todd McCullough, Ashley Van Bibber, Erica Callihan and Chris Johnson are all seniors this year.The four, led by Management Professor Brian Hoyt, presented a new approach to goal setting to the Workforce Development team at Fairfield County Job and Family Services on December 7. This was the final project for the student's special topics course this semester.
"We put together a ton of information for them that we got great feedback on it. I think it will really help them in the future," said Callihan.
Workforce Development provides employment services to the community and held its goal setting retreat at the Lancaster Campus this year. The annual event helps the division's leaders determine what issues to address the next year. They use the retreat to figure out what will help the department grow.
"Even though they do this every year, we suggested completely changing the way they do it," said McCullough. "We tried to give them more information and help them quantify some of their decisions rather than just select what they feel is most important.This can help them try to make sure they are doing things that may benefit the organization rather than what they thought might help."
"One of tools we gave them was a prioritizing matrix. It took ideas and it gave them the opportunity to prioritize what was most important and what would benefit the organization as a whole with the limited resources that they have," said Johnson. "So, by filling out this matrix, they were able to see which ideas were most important and then they went from there to turn the ideas into projects for the next year."
When the four presented the prioritizing matrix, the students weren't sure how it would be received. The students, who worked on the project and presentation for the entire semester, didn't know if those at JFS would think this approach was a good one.
"It's hard because people are resistant to the idea of change in general and then when you say we're going to quantify what you do every day, people approach it with a natural skepticism," said McCullough. "But, when we got in there and explained it to them, we could see that they were genuinely interested in making a change and improving what they were doing. That was very encouraging."
"It was really nice to see this and give them this tool and walk them through it," said Johnson. "In the end, they seemed to be very receptive to put numbers on these ideas."
"This was something that for us was outside the box. I thought they did a fantastic job," said Workforce Development Director Mike Miller. "We're now looking at everything we do differently. We're hoping to use the formula that was presented."
All four members of the group believe the opportunity to do work like this for JFS and other local organizations as part of the Applied Management program is something that will set them apart when they apply for jobs after graduation.
"The networking aspect in working with local businesses builds a stronger foundation for you for the future," said Van Bibber.
"I feel like when we go out in the real world, we will be one step ahead," said Callihan.