Student Leaders

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Student Leaders

INTRODUCTION

Most large companies today do participate in various projects in line with their stated social or community responsibility agendas. With regard to companies that currently offer student leadership initiatives, specifically, some do while others do not. To identify those companies connecting with students, I conducted an online search looking for announcements and information about these kinds of initiatives as mentioned through corporate websites, non-profit organization websites, press releases, and community news media. You requested 3 to 5 examples of corporations to use as "case studies," and I was able to identify 3 corporations for you: 3M Company, Chick-Fil-A, Inc., and Dell Computer Corporation.

3m company

The 3M Company was founded in 1902 as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Corporation; today 3M is a global diversified manufacturer of more than 55,000 industry and consumer products earning some $30 billion in annual sales.

Recently the 3M Company announced a new partnership with Discovery Education for an annual competition aimed at students in the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades (elementary and middle school level) across the USA called the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. (Discovery Education is a division of Discovery Communications, a USA-based publicly traded media company.)

In a press release published by the Young Scientist Lab, an online interactive educational portal for students, teachers, and parents, the Challenge is described as an opportunity for 10 finalists to participate in a summer internship at the 3M headquarters in Minnesota, and for the Grand Prize Winner to receive a $25k money award along with the title America's Top Young Scientist.

The Challenge kicked off in December 2017 and is currently underway. The deadline is in mid-April 2018. Students fill out an online application including a parent consent form. They then submit a video which presents their unique "solution to an everyday problem." The videos are reviewed by a panel of judges including representatives from both 3M Company and Discovery Education, and each video is rated based on these values: creativity, scientific knowledge, effective persuasion, and overall quality of presentation. The videos that receive the highest ratings determine the 10 finalists, and from this group of finalists the Grand Prize Winner is be selected.

Because the application period remains open as of this report and because it will be months ahead before the Grand Prize Winner is chosen and the solution implemented in the field, it is premature to discuss the success of this Challenge.

Chick-Fil-A

Chick-Fil-A, Inc., is a privately-owned fast-serve restaurant chain based in the USA. It was founded in 1964 by S. Truett Cathy, a man with a strong belief in education as a key to building future local community leaders. The company has maintained support for education through the years most notably through their various educational scholarship awards offered to Chick-Fil-A "team members" currently attending high school or college. These scholarships have been offered since 1973.

Through the Chick-Fil-A Foundation, the company supports the Chick-Fil-A Leadership Academy, a leadership initiative aimed specifically at USA high school students (9th to 12th grade). This is a year-long program during which the students selected for the program attend monthly after-school "leader labs" to learn core leadership skills and principals.

The program's motto is "impact through action," and by the end of the program the students must create, organize, and implement a local Impact Project with the help of peers from their high school.

Interested students apply directly online with Chick-Fil-A for the Leadership Academy. I could not find any information about the company's selection criteria. Nor could I find any ratios comparing the number of applications received with the number of students accepted into the Academy. It does appear, however, that the program is competitive across the USA and accepts only a limited number of students each year.

After thorough review of the companies press releases, Leadership Academy web page, and related news reports, I was unable to locate information regarding the Leadership Academy's past success rate or how that success rate is measured by the company.

DELL COMPUTER CORPORATION


Dell Computer Corporation was founded by Michael Dell in 1984 while he was an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Austin after he assembled an IBM-compatible personal computer. From that humble origin, the company grew into one of the world's leading manufacturers of computers and hardware accessories, and the Dell brand has become recognized by businesses and consumers alike around the globe.

Dell has partnered with Enactus, a global non-profit organization, for the "1 Race 2 End Waste" initiative which focuses on both food and water waste. The initiative puts college students together with mentors over the course of a year to initiate and implement a plan that will have a measurable positive impact in a local community resulting in less food or water waste. The project begins with meetings and discussions among team members and mentors, then moves into a progress report stage, and finally there is the impact stage which takes the form of a judging competition held during the "Enactus World Cup" event with the selection of winners and awarding of funding to scale their projects. There are "Final 4" team winners: 1st Place Winner, 2nd Place Winner, and 2 Finalists. In 2017 the winning teams came from 4 different universities (3 in Canada and 1 in the USA). Along with the funding the winning teams earn an extension of executive mentoring provided by corporate partner representatives and individual subject matter experts who all served on the judging panel. It was not clear exactly how long this "extension period" lasts.

Dell is one of several major multinational corporations that partners with Enactus for this initiative.

The judges receive criteria for evaluating the teams and selecting the winners. These criteria are divided into 4 categories: Entrepreneurial Action, Direct Empowerment, Livelihoods, and Sustainability.

I was unable to find information regarding the success of previous "1 Race 2 End Waste" winning team projects.

CONCLUSION

Three US-based companies are identified for student leadership outreach programs that align with their publicly-stated social values and community commitments. The three companies are: 3M, Chick-Fil-A, and Dell. Two of these companies, Chick-Fil-A and 3M, support programs aimed at primary or secondary grade level students in the USA, and one company, Dell, targets college level students internationally. 3M Company and Dell both partner externally with other corporations or non-profit organizations to manage these programs, whereas Chick-Fil-A runs its program internally through its Foundation. Criteria for program acceptance and judging of winners is shared openly by some companies and not by others. The measure of success of these programs is unknown.
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