In 2011, Jeff Hoyle of the College of Business Administration initiated a program for students to work directly with companies in an authentic environment.
Hoyle said Mount Pleasant businesses need to seek out resources of the college and its students during the inaugural Central Talk, hosted by the Central Michigan University Alumni Association on Jan. 22.
The event took place at the CMU Research Corporation Headquarters, located at 2625 Denison Drive.
"I wanted to make the community aware that there is a resource," Hoyle said. "Our students are of powerful excellence. There is a lot of talent and if we challenge them, they'll do awesome jobs."
Central Talks are the university's take on the renowned "TED Talks" online series.
Marcie Otteman, executive director of Alumni Relations and Development Strategies said the series was created in celebration of the university's 125th anniversary and it's growth alongside Mount Pleasant.
Hoyle said student and community success comes out of partnership. Students must step out of the classroom and into a real work environment to benefit both parties, he said.
"(Right now) we're having organizations coming in and making their pitches and telling them 'Here's what I need help with, here's a challenge and here's an opportunity for you to help,'" Hoyle said.
Hoyle teaches CMU's marketing 460 course, Organizational Selling.
Students have the opportunity to work with organizations like Vantage Plastics, Art Reach of Mid Michigan, Life Choices of Central Michigan, Tom James Company and the Delfield Corporation.
Students team up to work for one of these various companies every semester.
Marcy Mathews, director of Product Management at Delfield Corporation and a CMU alumna, spoke at the event on behalf of the business.
"We wanted to showcase our collaboration with Central in both a two way direction, (including) how we help CMU and how CMU also helps us," Mathews said. "(Students) are helping us with customer service for a world class project."
Delfield is a stainless steel restaurant equipment supplier specializing in fabrication and refrigeration. They provide equipment consultation to their consumers, which include Chipotle, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Waffle House.
The company's mission is to create solutions to reduce labor, time costs and other general expenses a restaurant may be struggling with from equipment.
Matthews said students are given the challenge to help gather data, marketing devices and research required to provide the solutions to a consumer.
Matthews said the relationship between students and the organizations taking them on is treated exactly as though they were being hired as outside consultants. Although she expressed some students have done poorly under pressure, others have flourished.
"I can't thank the companies enough who have volunteered," Hoyle said. "I know it's a huge commitment of time-it takes a lot of time to work with a team and none of them have extra time and they're working on meaningful stuff."
Hoyle said he projects great performances from both his current and future students and is excited for the real world and academic collaboration to expand across Mount Pleasant.
Upcoming Central Talks include:
Feb. 12: Jennifer Weible, teacher education and professional development faculty member will host "A Look Back: Higher Education and the Impact on Local Communities" at the Mount Pleasant Discovery Museum at 5093 E. Remus Road.
Feb. 26: Tracy Galarowicz, biology department chair will host "The Chippewa River: Connecting the Community and CMU" at Camille's on the River at 506 W. Broadway St.
March 12: Lisa Hadden, executive director of the Mid-Central Area Health Education Center will host "Connecting Our Community Youth with Health Careers in Central Michigan" at Camille's on the River.
March 19: Jyotsna Pandey, College of Medicine faculty member will host "Healthy Aging and Aging in Place: A CMU Perspective" at Camille's on the River.
April 4: Hope May, philosophy and religon faculty member will host "To Think in World Terms: The Moral Vision of E.C. Warriner" at the Mount Pleasant City Hall Commission Chambers at 320 W. Broadway St.
April 16: Latoya Lain and Lindabeth Binkley, School of Music faculty members will host "Love Songs," a collection songs based on Native American words and traditions, at Art Reach of Mid Michigan at 111 E. Broadway St.