Pathway To Local ProgramLocal Job Pathways For College Students
Student Pathway – Application > Interview > Internship > Job
Local Business Pathway – Application > Interview > Intern > Employee
Reasons for Living Local to create the program:
Purpose: Assist Living Local members with solving business problems or launching business opportunities by engaging with Western Mass college students through class projects and internships.
Background: A pilot program was run for three semesters (January 2020 through May 2021) with Western New England University’s digital marketing class and internship program. 12 local businesses engaged with the program. Based upon the accomplishments of the program, Living Local is formally launching its Pathway Program. The program will continue with Western New England University and will expand to qualifying colleges and universities in the Pioneer Valley.
- Help grow small- and mid-size businesses
- Strengthen local economy
- Grow local employment opportunities
- Address ‘brain-drain’ by exposing students to local employers
- Provide students with real-world experience
Reasons for Local Businesses to join the program:
Most local (small) businesses do not have the time, skills, or money to have a real and productive marketing and/or financial plan. The truth is, even if you gave most of them a plan they do not have the resources to implement and continue improving upon that plan. This program allows that to happen in a productive and affordable way. See Testimonials Here
Reasons for Students to join the program:
Senior-level students have developed skills and a desire to apply these skills to real-world experiences in the classroom and through internships. This program provides a pathway for students to gain business applied learning, build out their resumes, and ultimately get hired. See Testimonials Here
Reasons for Colleges to join the program:
This is a way for local colleges to connect with the local small business community and help business students who want to incorporate experiential learning into their college curriculum. By engaging in this program, each student has the opportunity to work with local businesses and potentially become an intern and ultimately create a clear pathway to getting hired. See Testimonials Here
For Students & Businesses
It starts with matching up a local business (Living Local member) with a team of senior-level students who spend the first third of the semester getting to know the business and formulating an implementation plan (marketing or financial) for that business.
During the second third of the semester, the students present their plan to the business owner, get feedback and agreement, and then proceed with implementing the plan, during the final third of the semester.
After the semester, the student team presents the implementation results and recommendations. The owner then has the option to hire one or more of the students as interns to continue the process. Ultimately, the students could be hired as employee(s).
For Colleges & Other Educational Institutions
Any college or educational institution that is located in Western Mass and has a marketing or financial curriculum can apply to participate in the Living Local Pathway Program.
There should be one primary marketing and or financial professor/teacher assigned to the program as the primary contact and organizer for the college.
Complete the application. (link)
Class Project Program: Once assigned to a business, student teams will work from a Consulting Process by which they will identify and support positive change within businesses. The four-step consulting process begins with Assessment, Design, Execution, and Impact/Evaluation.
Internship Program: Individual students work similarly to contract workers for the business. Internships have specific goals and tasks that the business needs to accomplish.
- Be locally-owned in Western Mass
- Have the potential to employ students
- Have the ability to fund marketing efforts
- Weekly meeting with students (15-20 minutes)
- Attend final presentation
“I was able to apply my business analytics skills to help Loophole Brewery launch Google My Business and Google Ads. It was rewarding to see the business impact during our course.”
“Working with P&O solutions this semester has allowed me to better understand the importance of digital media within a company as well as the importance of establishing regular and effective communication with its customers and practitioners.”
“We were able to assist Woodworking by Esther into a new target market. Her new designs were featured on Instagram and gained traction with new customers, including younger Millennial moms and college students.”
“Founded by Jeff Goulet, is a startup brewery craft beer and is located in Ludlow, MA. A member of the Living Local team approached Jeff and proposed the class project to Jeff. The student team worked on Google My Business, Google Ads, SEO, launched a Hootsuite account for social media integration, and developed and posted Instagram and Facebook content. “The student team introduced me to many new social media concepts and helped grow my brand awareness. Following the class, student interns are helping me launch new locations and new products”, said Goulet.”
Prosthetic & Orthotic Solutions, LLC has locations in West Springfield, Massachusetts, and Bloomfield, Connecticut and was established in 2006 by co-owners Craig Babyak, C.P.O. and Christian Rogers, C.P. The idea of bringing Prosthetic & Orthotic Solutions on as a client was suggested by a team member, William LaFosse. P & O Solutions had some digital infrastructure already in place. The team’s deliverables focused on refining the business’ website and social media platforms. The team crafted infographics to be used specifically for LinkedIn to network with practitioners in the surrounding area. “Working with P & O Craig Babyak, co-owner of Prosthetic & Orthotic Solutions, said, “The team was very receptive to the areas we wanted to have addressed and we look forward to seeing the results that our improved digital presence will bring.”
SUSmade is a startup founded by Taylor Dubose, a WNE alum. The startup focuses on making sustainable clothing and accessories. The SUSmade student team developed and implemented a T-Shirt Design Contest to gain followers on Instagram and Facebook and build brand awareness. Dubose said, “The team has been a pleasure to work with! We have gotten some key takeaways on how to become more successful with our social media. Learning about strategies that work to get interactions and ones that don’t. My experience with the team makes me want to stay involved next year when the course starts up again and maybe if possible have one of the students as an intern during the summer if they are interested! Looking forward to seeing how the t-shirt performs when we start to sell it to customers.”
Woodworking Creations by Esther is a custom woodworking business, founded by Esther Haagsma. Ann Burke, Vice President of Western Mass Economic Development and founder of Women Innovators and Trailblazers, recommended Esther work with the WNE digital marketing class this semester. The team completely rebranded Esther’s company, creating a new logo and launching an Instagram account. The team implemented a corn-hole set contest to engage a younger audience and build brand awareness. Haagsma said “The students did a wonderful job of transforming my business. I am very impressed and thankful for the work they have done. I now have a better idea of how to use social media to my benefit, and I look forward to continuing the growth of my company.”
‘With the Pathway pilot program, which was tested over three semesters, students were able to experience digital marketing with local businesses. This real-world class project engagement helps students understand the opportunities and challenges of running small- to medium-size businesses, especially during these unprecedented times. Added benefits are the internships that are a result of the in-class projects completed during the semester. Western New England University is thrilled to have helped with the development of the Pathway Program and looks forward to continuing with Living Local and local businesses.”