Business Students Partner with Lebanon YMCA
The Lebanon YMCA wanted to examine its staff turnover rate at its child care facilities. The students in LVC’s Human Resources Management course were looking for a capstone project based in the local community.
It was the perfect match.
The College’s class of 10 students was split into two groups to take on this semester-long project in collaboration with the YMCA. The project included conducting a survey, completing on-site observations, and then synthesizing information into a finished project that would include recommendations.
“I was eager for the class to begin,” said Brandon McMinn ’17. “Having the opportunity to apply what I was learning in class, directly to a real-world scenario, was a great way to enhance my learning in the class and build my confidence in my abilities as a future professional.”
The student groups visited two of the YMCA’s child care facilities—their primary location that serves infants through school-age children, and one of their School Aged Child Care (SACC) sites located at elementary schools around Lebanon County. Students talked with child care employees and parents of the children at the centers and gained an understanding of daily activities. Students focused on interactions and performance of the child care workers, specifically the behavior and attitude they displayed toward their job.
“From these observations, as well as employee surveys, we were able to explore results that illustrated job satisfaction, job opportunities, employee reviews, and many other aspects of the YMCA child care that aided us in building our solutions section for the project,” said Hilary Yoh ’17. “Above all, my group was able to really capture the feel and atmosphere of the work environment.”
Even after the initial visits, students stayed in touch with YMCA employees throughout the project. Near the end of the semester, Phil Tipton, CEO of the Lebanon YMCA, along with Darin Pickles, director of operations, and Amy Pennycoff, director of child care services, visited campus to hear what the students had discovered. Tipton expressed his thanks to the class for its efforts.
“After hearing some of the proposals and speaking with my staff we are looking at implementing several ideas,” Tipton said. “I really enjoyed listening to the students and was refreshed by the energy and enthusiasm they had in taking on this project.”
Doug Gautsch, assistant professor of business administration, emphasized the exemplary work the students produced on the project, including how the students were forward-focused in developing a survey that the YMCA could continue to utilize.
While the YMCA benefited from the project, students also received valuable experience and insights.
“What’s illustrated in textbooks and taught in classrooms can only take you so far,” said Yoh. “It’s critical that a student can take what they have learned and apply it to the environment outside of the classroom. During the course of the semester, my group and I pulled information that we learned from courses we took freshman year all the way up to courses we were enrolled in at that time.
“Everything in business is connected. We saw that by incorporating aspects of accounting, management, marketing, ethics, and behavior into our research,” she added.
McMinn echoed Yoh’s comments and said, “As a student, you always wonder whether the concepts you learn in the classroom will transfer to your future job and if you will be successful. This project proved to me that our program at LVC is making us ready for our future careers.”
As a result of this successful collaboration, the Lebanon YMCA has met with the Business and Physical Therapy departments and Center for Career Development to explore additional partnership opportunities.