Butler students and faculty create online platform to connect students with employers. Photo courtesy of butler.edu.
RYANN BAHNLINE | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the past year, students and faculty members at Butler have been working to develop BlueWork, an online platform that connects students with employers. The platform is expected to launch in January, and those working on the project hope that it will be used by all students on campus.
Employers are able to create profiles for upcoming projects, including internships, jobs and non-profit projects. They are able to list what year level they most desire to work with as well as the skills that are most necessary for their project before building a team of students.
Students create a profile on the program and list their skills, ranking their expertise as either basic, advanced or desired, which would mean that a student might not have the skill now, but wants to learn it in the future.
After making their profile, students can see projects that are best matched for them, and subsequently click that they are interested in the project. Employers receive a notification that students have expressed interest in their projects and from there are able to build their team based on who has expressed interest.
Ginger Lippert, a Butler alumna and manager of BlueWork, said she originally developed BlueWork in the Old National Bank Center, but it has since been pulled out to provide accessibility to all students.
“We really decided that we wanted to take the concepts that we had developed in the ONB Center in terms of students working on projects with external companies, [and] we wanted to provide the opportunity for all students, not just Lacy School of Business students, to be able to gain access to those types of opportunities,” Lippert said. “So that’s why now, BlueWork is outside of the ONB Center and outside of the Lacy School of Business, to make it more accessible to all students.”
Tess McTeague, a senior management information systems major, worked as a student analyst in the ONB, which created the BlueWork platform.
“I would get assigned different roles,” McTeague said. “And then I would have to test out like scenarios within the software and then report anything that wasn’t working properly back to the development team.”
Junior strategic communication major, Max Wing, was also involved with the development of BlueWork as an intern. He was primarily responsible for giving the student perspective.
“So we would sit in on pretty much daily meetings … and we would give our student perspective on what was working, as it got developed, as the page got more fine tuned to be easy to navigate,” Wing said. “We also helped plan how to organize and present the student contractor learning sessions … we were planning how it would unfold and what needed to be emphasized.”
McTeague emphasized that one large issue the program combatted was making sure that students felt prepared for their future jobs.
Students have the opportunity to get involved with short term project work, which can be both paid or unpaid.
“[We made sure that] students feel prepared to take on professional opportunities,” McTeague said. “Because at the end of the day, they’re consultants. So they’re in charge of managing the project and making sure everything is up to standard.”
To ensure students felt comfortable, the program team developed training sessions and modules for students to complete to make sure they have the basic skills and understandings of how to run a professional meeting and turn in professional work.
Currently, the pilot is only with the Lacy School of Business students, however, in January, the program will be inviting students from across the university to be engaged in participating in the system.
BlueWork is having information sessions, the next of which is on Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. in Dugan Hall room 118. In addition to these information sessions, students can gain more information on BlueWork’s Instagram page. If students would like to register prior to January, they can go to BlueWorks web page, and complete the registration form for when the next cohort of students is brought on.