VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota Beacom School of Business created a new student-centered, project-based program with Sioux Falls area businesses that provides students with real-world experience and creates a pipeline of prepared professionals for the workforce.
Beacom’s Business Engagement for Students (BEST) – Sioux Falls was developed in collaboration with the City of Sioux Falls, the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce and the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.
“As the state and region’s leading business school in the state, it was important that the USD Beacom School of Business create a program that helps develop a supply chain of young, talented business professionals for career opportunities with businesses in the state’s largest city,” said Venky Venkatachalam, Ph.D., dean of the Beacom School of Business. “BEST – Sioux Falls not only does that, but it also prepares students to pursue careers in business. They are trained with a rigorous curriculum, cutting-edge technology and are mentored by a team of highly talented and dedicated faculty.”
After applying for the program, 25 students were selected by Beacom faculty to participate and were broken into teams. Each team was assigned a business and a specific project based on the needs of that business. The teams work with designated project managers in each business to identify problems, develop methodologies, collect and analyze data, and propose and implement solutions, including identifying potential benefits to the organization.
“The city’s partnership with USD’s BEST - Sioux Falls program presents us with an excellent opportunity to not only engage students in contributing to impactful community projects but also continue developing our future workforce,” said Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken. “Sioux Falls continues to be nationally recognized as a top spot for young professionals, and partnerships like this one are allowing us to work with our next generation of leaders and continue building a thriving community for young people and many others to build their careers in Sioux Falls.”
Participating businesses include Lloyd Group, the City of Sioux Falls, JDS Industries, LG Everist, POET, CorTrust Bank, Sioux Falls Airport Authority, PREMIER Bankcard, Mickelson & Company, Children Home Society and the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.
“USD's BEST - Sioux Falls program is a beautiful example of how the city of Sioux Falls, the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce and the Sioux Falls Development Foundation work together to solve workforce challenges,” said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development at the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. “Dean Venkatachalam and his team at the USD Beacom School of Business develop exceptionally talented students. Surveys show us that exponential learning experiences, such as job shadows and internship programs, are a few primary factors for college graduates choosing an employer. As a talent attraction competitive strategy, this is a ‘win in workforce’ for all involved.”
BEST – Sioux Falls began mid-September and will run through November. The students designate eight hours toward their project. Each week, students travel to Sioux Falls on Fridays for in-person engagement. During this time, students meet with their project managers and others in the business to discuss their work and progress.
“College students want experiential learning and businesses want talent – BEST - Sioux Falls is a perfect opportunity for everyone to win,” said Jeff Griffin, president and CEO of the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce. “In order to attract and retain world-class talent, our businesses must partner with our universities. It may seem like an obvious and simple solution, but partnerships can sometimes stall when universities and the private sector speak different languages. I am thrilled that the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce is able to partner with USD to launch BEST.”