In partnership with a Senior Experience Team from California State University San Marcos, the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce has recently explored the relationship between educational institutions and the needs of the local business community.
The Chamber commissioned the three month project in order to gain new perspectives and insights on how to bridge the communication gap between educational institutions and businesses in Oceanside. The goal of this project was to find out what local businesses have experienced with past and current employees and to analyze the traits these employees are lacking and that the business is looking for, and then to compare these needs to the type of education and training that educational institutions have provided to students or future employees.
As a part of their research, the Senior Experience Team conducted a series of interviews and surveys with local businesses and educational institutions. Based on their conclusions and recommendations, the Chamber will expand its programs to help solve the problems businesses are currently facing regarding new employees.
- When businesses look to fill positions, they are most likely to take recommendations from current employees, because they have built a trust with them and believe they can make a difference in their company.
- Results also showed that companies used their own job websites to hire as well. Hiring this way builds better relationships and a more cohesive work environment.
- For those who wanted to communicate with the local educational institutions for qualified candidates, they wished to do so through dedicated websites. Some examples being: Oceanside Chamber job portal, or the career centers provided by school and universities.
- Employers are only somewhat satisfied with new employees. This is because they are lacking soft skills (including interpersonal skills, managing people, leadership, and personal habits), team experience, and communication.
- Schools recognize the need for soft skills and programs to enhance those skill sets. Some schools are doing their own research, as well as working with others to find out what employers need. Working with the Chamber and other businesses to find out what programs to implement is important to the success of the graduating students.
RecommendationsBusinesses stated that most potential employees are lacking soft skills, as well as teamwork experience and communications skills. The recommendations for addressing these needs are:
1) The Oceanside Chamber of Commerce should host seminars and programs that emphasize training to better prepare students and professionals for the workforce. Networking events, communication workshops, as well as “how to” seminars are examples of programs that can aid in fulfilling these needs. These seminars can help improve communication skills as well as create experiences for students to work in teams.
2) Local businesses are searching for well-qualified employees. These businesses wish to find potential candidates through dedicated websites. The Oceanside Chamber already has a dedicated job portal on their website; however businesses and schools are not aware of it. The Chamber must build better awareness of available resources through their webpage and promotional emails. The Chamber should improve the access to this page by making a clear, dedicated tab at the top of their landing page. The career centers at schools and universities should also be made aware of this webpage so that they can further promote job fairs, as well as student utilization of the webpage.
3) The Chamber should be the middle man to help break the communication barrier between schools and businesses. The impact the Chamber has on both communities can greatly help both sides and can aid in developing these necessary programs. This is why it is vital to have a well functioning educational committee that understands what the needs are from both perspectives.
The final recommendation for the Oceanside Chamber is to utilize an educational committee. The committee should hold monthly meetings between the business community and educational institutions to create an open dialogue between the two. The committee should take a more active role in addressing any prevalent issues that arise during these discussions.
Thanks to our Senior Experience Team-- Jennifer Constantian , Ashley Eppler, Liana
Gilkey, Kyle Kuck and Jan Liwanag--for their professionalism and insights!
The Senior Experience Project at California State University San Marcos is a semester long project that pairs groups of five CSUSM College of Business students with a local business and a faculty advisor to work on consulting projects at the company’s request. The students are matched up with a company of their choosing to work on a project that interests them and exploits the skills learned in the College of Business. Businesses benefit by getting a consulting projects done at an inexpensive price and with fresh and new perspectives. If you are interested in more information regarding a Senior Experience Project for you business, contact the University.