The John B. and Lillian E. Neff College of Business and Innovation recently hosted a group of 27 high school students from the Jones Leadership Academy of Business as part of The University of Toledo’s Young Executive Scholars (Y.E.S.) Program.
The Y.E.S. Program, which was established in 2017, strives to break the cycle of generational poverty by helping to cultivate the academic potential of underrepresented students and preparing them for success in higher education.
Each academic year, sophomore, junior and senior students from the Jones Leadership Academy of Business (JLAB) participate in workshops, sponsored by the Neff College of Business and Innovation, that cover leadership development, real-life business etiquette and college prep skills.
In late October, the Y.E.S. Program had its kickoff event on the JLAB campus, with the goal of initially exposing the students to college life and the Neff College of Business and Innovation’s academics, faculty and staff, as well as key business concepts and industry insights.
During the Nov. 12 event, the Y.E.S. students experienced the College’s action learning labs throughout the Savage and Associates Business Complex on Main Campus.
“It was evident from the beginning that the JLAB students wanted to be here and strived to learn,” said Craig Turner, director of UToledo’s Y.E.S. Program. “They positively engaged with one another, conversing and enjoying themselves instead of being bored or overwhelmed. We are thrilled that we could provide these future leaders with a snapshot into what college life would look like at UToledo and in the John B. and Lillian E. Neff College of Business and Innovation.”
UToledo faculty were highly involved in the workshops.
Dr. Steve Wallace, assistant professor in information operations and technology management, went in-depth on the career potential for those with IT skill sets.
Dr. Ozcan Sezer, associate professor of finance, provided the students with a basic understanding of the stock exchange.
Dr. Dana Hollie, Alan Barry Endowed Professor in accounting, hosted a hands-on activity using Legos that demonstrated the concept of “cost of goods sold” to the students. Cost of goods sold, also known as cost of sales, refers to direct costs of producing the goods sold by a company.
Deirdre Jones, instructor and director of the Edward H. Schmidt School of Professional Sales, web-conferenced in numerous alumni to provide insight and guidance to the Y.E.S. students.
“The ESSPS alumni that volunteered their time were wonderful,” Turner said, “and it was great to see people that looked like our Y.E.S. students in professional positions and being successful in their careers.”
This is the first year Turner has served as the Y.E.S. Program director.
“I thought the event was amazing,” said Dr. Ward Barnett, principal of the Jones Leadership Academy of Business. “I loved how engaged the staff were with our kids. I thought the virtual alumni engagement with alums across the country was extremely relatable. The kids were able to attach to different parts of their story and made it seem like it is something they could achieve themselves. The way UToledo wrapped their arms around our kids … my heart is full.”