Students Assisting Businesses program open for applications

Milgard School of Business offers an opportunity for students to assist local businesses and nonprofits in Tacoma.

The Milgard School of Business is offering an opportunity for business students to partner with local organizations. The UWT Students Assisting Businesses program places students with local institutions to provide hands-on work experience, while earning above-minimum wage and providing a flexible schedule to accommodate students’ needs.

The Students Assisting Businesses program began in 2020 with a focus on helping local businesses apply for government Paycheck Protection Program loans, more commonly referred to as PPP loans. Since then, it has grown to incorporate other focus areas and partnerships. 

Facilitated by Professor Evy Shankus, a Milgard School of Business founding faculty member and faculty supervisor of business student internships, the Students Assisting Businesses program pays students $20 an hour, for up to 50 hours per project.  The stipend is provided through funding from the Milgard School of Business and aims to fund project-based needs within community organizations, where a substantive learning experience is provided.

Professor Shankus says “What’s unique about the program is that the employer does not pay. It’s funded through stipends for students, so it works like a scholarship that the student doesn’t need to pay back and the company doesn’t need to pay back. It’s all covered through the Milgard School of Business at UWT.”

Professor Shankus says the program is open to all Milgard students, both graduate and undergraduate.

Once enrolled, students are placed within a community organization, government department, or local non-profit organization to assist with various tasks related to business administration, management, marketing and other areas of need. 

Professor Shankus says students are also able to present partnership opportunities in hopes of creating new placement positions. 

“I am in the process of identifying opportunities for both businesses and students, and doing the matchmaking,” Professor Shankus said.

Dave Moore, a UWT senior in the Milgard School of Business, says the Students Assisting Businesses program provides flexibility with his school schedule, and gives him an opportunity to give back to his community while learning on-the-job skills.  

“It’s really a cool program because I’m learning what it’s like to work for a county government. Not only is it a good opportunity for me to make connections and good income, but I’m doing something that’s helping the community I live in,” Moore said.

Moore works in partnership with Pierce County Economic Development as a liaison for businesses applying for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding, also known as the CARES Act. In his role, he works one-on-one with local businesses who are owned by members of underrepresented individuals and communities such as BIPOC, women and veterans. 

Moore’s primary task is helping owners fill out applications and navigating paperwork to give businesses access to grants that offer assistance like commercial lease stipends, innovation grants to help businesses with equipment updates and other operational costs. 

“If a student is considering this program and is maybe apprehensive because of what it will add to their schedule, don’t let that hold you back. Not only is it a good program to help you make some extra money, but more importantly, it provides so many benefits for you as a college student. It is also a good way to give back to the community, which is pretty nice as well,” Moore said.

To apply for the Students Assisting Businesses program, students can email Professor Shankus with their current resume and a short message expressing their interest in the program.  

Professor Shankus can be reached at ezent@uw.edu

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