In the 2009-2010 fiscal year, CSUN’s marketing and management department submitted a proposal to consult, survey to evaluate the work and performance of 18 WorkSource Centers across Los Angeles.
The bid was in part of a two-year contract. The department has been awarded a $146,700 grant funded by the City of Los Angeles Community Development Department, more specifically the Workforce Investment Act in continuing support of the program this year, said Richard Moore, management professor.
“We bid against UCLA, Berkeley and other major consultation firms. We won this on a competitive basis,” Moore said. “We’re proud of every project that we have won over the years,” he said.
The data collected will be used to measure the operating system, how the centers can improve and observe how satisfied the clients are with the services, Moore added.
“We provide consultation to all the 18 centers, it’s a specialty of ours,” Moore continued.
Since winning the bid, the business department has turned this achievement into an employment opportunity for students called the WorkSource Evaluation Project. The facilities in L.A. County, which are surveyed by CSUN students, are meant to help the unemployed find work opportunities as well as have a chance to gain new skills to help with potential jobs.
“This is not a classroom exercise,” Moore said. “This is real consultation work and people give us money and they expect results.”
Sara Navidazar is a member of the program.
The Canadian native is working on a master’s degree in business while being exposed to the American work force. She credits this opportunity to the programs offered by the school of business and economics.
“As an international student, I am getting experience in the U.S. market and I’m also getting work experience that compliments my studies,” Navidazar said.
Marketing professor Deborah Heisley is also involved with the project and is an advocate for the program because it serves as a good exposure to the real world for students.
“The students take theory and apply it, that’s something that is hard to do in the classroom,” Heisley said. “They are learning how research is done.”
Navidazar is one of several students involved in the WorkSource Evaluation Project and has since September 2009. She has developed the surveys administrated during the project and also managed the hiring process of the undergraduate students interested in participating in the program.
“The project ties in well with that we’re doing in the (master’s) program, it’s also good for networking,” Navidazar said.
The money received from the City of Los Angeles will support the graduate and undergraduate students through a stipend. It will cover travel costs, since the team visits all 18 facilities twice a year and phone bank bills and expenses to make surveys.
“This is really an opportunity to learn how to consult and see how the business works and they also get to travel and get real money and work in a real business with real people,” Moore said.
To promote opportunities, the school of business connects to all of its master’s students via e-mail. Also for undergraduate students interested in the program the opening is posted at the career center on campus.
Although the department is not hiring at the moment, Navidazar said they expect to do so within the next few weeks.
“The positions are open to anyone who expresses an interest,” she said.
Moore said they are looking into incorporating a linguistically diverse group to their consulting team in order to appeal to a wide range of people.
“We are particularly interested in students that speak different languages,” he said. “This is L.A. we need students that have different language skills.”
For Navidazar, who is fluent in English and Persian and is learning Spanish, having the benefit of being bilingual has helped her with her with the program. More importantly though she is appreciative of the work she has had the chance to do, she said.
“Having experience in the U.S. helps me get more familiarized with the American culture,” she said. “And the work force and helps me be more prepared.”