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iWOW coming to JSC

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iWOW, otherwise known as Incubator Without Walls, is an existing program at Lyndon State College for students looking to gain experience, money and or credits through practical application involving work with small businesses, and will soon be a part of Johnson State’s campus as well.

The Incubator Without Walls program is now run by co-director Timothy Egan, part-time instructor of business and economics at Lyndon and Johnson, and Bill Morison, chair of the Lyndon department of business administration and the other co-director of iWOW.

Egan will now be working with Johnson’s business department chair, Jim Black throughout the 2017 and 2018 semester to initiate the program. iWOW will allow for Johnson to broaden their offerings for students with real-life work opportunities, while also supporting small businesses.

Through iWOW, students and business clients are matched together, and through the efforts provided by students, businesses are able to see improvement and growth within their own facilities. According to Egan, program efforts will help small businesses with advice and cost effective labor, and provide students some practical experience in their field with small businesses that are in the Lyndon and Johnson communities. It will also enable students to build networks and connections in the business world to prepare them for the future after graduation.

The model of iWOW starts when a client approaches the directors seeking help somewhere within their business. Egan meets with those clients to gather an idea of the skill set necessary to accomplish that job. Egan and Morison then recruit students who are interested in and able to get the job requirements done. Students are given three options to engage in the action, through either course work, a paid internship or hourly pay.

According to Egan, iWOW will suggest an additional resource to a public liberal arts college, such as Johnson, as practical application on business services can help many different students grow and further their education. “The business and visual arts departments will be able to develop craft related opportunities for students – like market research, press releases, video, photography, etc.,” says Egan. This will expand opportunities for all students campus-wide.

iWOW can also be seen as a way of bringing the two campuses together with the upcoming change over to Northern Vermont University. Both campuses are already experiencing faculty teaching in both locations through new telepresence communication technology that combines both classes, and professors travelling back and forth to both areas. “We’re trying to work out the details on a shared curriculum, and we’ve been holding in-person meetings about this during the fall term,” said Morison. So, under that over-arching umbrella of cooperation and collaboration, iWOW will be one more piece of the puzzle that will be the combined Lyndon and Johnson business department.”

According to the Lyndon State College website, iWOW aims to support local businesses by increasing their competitiveness and decrease unemployment to improve the overall economic health of the region. With the Incubator Without Walls coming to Johnson soon, the campus will also be able to show community support through strengthening local business, by providing a knowledgeable and qualified workforce of students.

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iWOW coming to JSC