When the company Rebecca Pace worked for downsized, her position was eliminated. While searching for a new full-time position, she discovered a program offered through UC’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business designed to help displaced professionals get back on their feet.
Pace remembers those uncertain times and recalls how meaningful it was to know her Alma Mater, UC, was there to help. “I enrolled in the program to expand and refresh my connection with current business trends and practices,” Pace says of the session that helped her land a job as a tax manager at Orcutt & Co. of CPAs in Milford.
For five years, the Back to Business program has been assisting job hunters like Pace use what they learn in eight weeks at Lindner to find work. Amit Raturi, professor of operations management at Lindner, founded the program with a team of Lindner professors to help those hurt by staggering job losses after an economic downturn in 2008. His commitment to help earned him a Just Community Award in 2010 for demonstrating high community values.
The Back to Business group meets for eight hours a day on four consecutive weekends at Lindner’s Blue Ash location to learn from Lindner professors who volunteer their time to lecture on everything from business analytics and marketing to risk analysis and social entrepreneurship. “It’s like taking an MBA refresher course,” says Carolyn Hauger, who enrolled in the program in 2009 after her employer downsized.
One of this year’s 16 professors is Lindner Dean David Szymanski, professor of marketing, who will be on hand at the last class on May 11 to teach “Contemporary Retailing Strategies.” “How many times will you see a Dean of a business school do such a thing,” says Raturi, who teaches two segments on supply chain management.
Along with Szymanski, Cincinnati entrepreneur and Cincom President Tom Nies and Shailesh Jejurikar, vice president of Home Care North America, Procter & Gamble, will pass out certificates of completion and sage advice to this year’s participants during their “graduation” ceremony from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on May 11.
The participants will then hope to transition back to the workforce with confidence and refreshed skills. “I learned things that I can use in my current position and because of this, I am more valuable to my employer and our clients,” says Pace.
Each Back to Business participant pays a $500 “commitment” fee to enroll in the class, but graduates receive a full refund upon successful completion of the program. So far, every program participant has successfully earned back their fee.
Raturi believes that he and his colleagues are making a difference. “I would say that upwards of 80% of the people from the program are now gainfully employed,” he says.