SBCC Prepares Students for Jobs in Global Workforce
by Tony Biasotti, special to the Business Times
In the 20th century, global trade was mainly a game for multinational firms shipping millions or billions of dollars worth of exports.
Today, a business doesn’t have to be big to be global. One example is The Grapeseed Company, a beauty and skin care manufacturer and retailer based in Santa Barbara. It has seven full-time employees and ships wholesale orders to Europe and Canada.
In early November, it was named Outstanding Business by Santa Barbara City College’s Scheinfeld Center at the center’s first Global Competence Summit. More than 100 teachers and career counselors attended the summit, which was meant to highlight the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation’s work in placing interns and preparing students for jobs in the globalized workforce.
Kristin Fraser, the Grapeseed Company’s founder and CEO, said her company has had two interns placed by the Scheinfeld Center and both were hired immediately after completing their internships.
“It’s a really good match for us,” Fraser said. “We tend to hire quite a few college students anyway, so its nice to have positions they can go into here at the company, and it’s great for us to be working with students studying global marketing and trade.”
One of those interns was Tiffany Huang, who is now an international business major at San Diego State University. “I learned a lot from them,” she said of her Grapeseed Company internship. “It’s one of the best opportunities I had.”
The Grapeseed Company learned from Huang as well, Fraser said. The student intern worked on social media marketing, an area in which she had more expertise than most of the veteran businesspeople on the staff. When Huang’s internship ended, the company hired her to do marketing full-time.
The focus of the Scheinfeld Center Internship program, and the training and classes it offers at SBCC and through other community colleges and high schools in the region, is on “global competence”. That means giving students the skills they need to make it in the modern workforce, with a particular emphasis on skills that employers say are often lacking in new hires, said Julie Samson, the center’s director.
“Global competence is the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance,” Samson said. “Workers today need the ability to investigate the world. They need a multicultural empathy for other views. They ned the ability to communicate past language and cultural barriers, and the ability to take action and create change.”