Posted May 18, 2022
The ULM Career Center and the ULM School of Allied Health collaborated to design and implement an innovative multi-day program to train students in soft skills such as professionalism, networking, and communication.
The program began with a 3-hour interactive skills camp workshop held on April 8 and ended with a professional business lunch on April 12.
“The faculty and staff at the School of Allied Health are dedicated to not only training their students to be technically successful in their field, but also to be holistically successful in their field. We want our students to be competent in their profession and professionally prepared to navigate the office,” said Dr. Donald Simpson, Dean of the College of Health Sciences.
The goal of the workshop was to create a meaningful and hands-on student experience that would enhance soft skills for confident interactions with healthcare community leaders at the networking event. One hundred and fifty-three health science students – including representatives from dental hygiene, health studies, kinesiology, medical laboratory science, occupational therapy assistant, radiation technology and speech therapy – learned dining etiquette, professional dress and career preparation.
“I enjoyed collaborating with the staff at the ULM Career Center in designing this workshop – our collaborative efforts brought together different skills, expertise and talents which resulted in a very successful session for our students,” said the Dr. Jessica Dolecheck, Health Studies Program Director.
The workshop was based on the National Association of Colleges and Employers skills that employees value most: collaboration, professionalism, communication and problem solving.
“This interactive workshop provided students with experiences in improving and practicing the soft skills needed for life and career success. Improving and mastering these skills will positively impact entry into their careers and overall future,” said Dr. Paula Griswold, Associate Dean of the College of Health Sciences.
Students went through three different sessions with topics including developing and practicing an elevator pitch, dining etiquette and seat settings, and role-playing various workplace scenarios.
“The unique angle of this particular workshop was that each session included a lecture, videos to show off the content being taught, followed by hands-on, interactive activities,” said Kristen Chandler, director of the ULM Career Center. “We know that students learn in different ways, so we wanted to provide multiple ways to provide this very important information.”
The following week, 250 students, faculty, alumni, and professionals gathered for lunch at Bayou Pointe, where students practiced their new skills. Armed with questions and talking points, students sat down with leaders in their disciplines, resulting in meaningful dialogue about careers in their field. The purpose of this business luncheon was for students to gain knowledge and apply proper business etiquette, interpersonal communications, and networking with healthcare professionals in their discipline.
“The event allows the student to experience a professional gathering, which is great because most programs don’t prepare students for a networking-type gathering. The students were so interested in their questions that ranged from appropriate attire for professional meetings to what I see in the future of laboratory medicine,” said Brice Bruno, Vice President of Auxiliary and Support Services at Wellstar. “Exposing students to this type of professional development will expose them to new ideas and perspectives that they might not have thought of with traditional classroom work. Professional development will give them the resources to achieve their goals effectively.
The professional business lunch struck a chord with students, community leaders and faculty.
“Our professional lunch provided our students with a meaningful way to learn what employees are looking for in their workforce, the types of careers in their field, and overall the valuable life skills needed for a successful career. successful career,” Dolecheck said.
“This event greatly increased the student’s willingness to shake hands and speak confidently with employers in a networking and interview setting. Mastering the skills needed for a business lunch will pay off very well for our students,” Griswold said.
The luncheon was sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana, Vantage Health Plan, GO CARE Community Health Center, St. Francis Medical Center, Omega Diagnostics, CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital, Dr. Susan Lacey, Dr. Terry Thomas, LabCorp, Wellstar and ULM radiological technology.