June 28, 2017
In 1995, I met Sam Dunn, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for Walmart Mexico, and developed a lasting professional relationship with him. I did not realize then that I was helping create career opportunities for Church members across the globe.
In 2005, under the direction of President David A. Bednar, I regularly took large groups of BYU-Idaho students to create networking opportunities at the Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. The purpose was to showcase to Walmart administration what potential employees with a BYU-Idaho education could do to enhance their organization.
Now, 12 years later, more than 70 BYU-Idaho alumni work within Walmart headquarters, including my son. Because of their outstanding reputation within the organization, these alumni employees are opening career opportunities for students within the United States and abroad.
Just like for these alumni, BYU-Pathway Worldwide is working with businesses throughout the world to provide career opportunities for our online students.
The Purpose of Our Travels
To bring BYU-Pathway’s initiative to increase partnerships with Self-Reliance Services (SRS) into action, BYU-Pathway area management has teamed up with SRS managers throughout the world. From Tonga to Spain and Ghana to Chile, we have traveled to establish connections with companies and universities around the globe.
There are two main objectives for these travels:
- Reevaluate the PathwayConnect and online learning curriculum to ensure that our online students are learning the necessary skills that most companies are searching for.
- Develop relationships between the Self-Reliance Service managers and these larger companies so continual partnerships and employment opportunities can take place.
Benefiting the Online Students
These partnerships will benefit students by giving them more employment opportunities.
We are working to provide career opportunities so our students not only earn certificates and degrees, but use them in their future jobs, careers, or further schooling.
During their time in BYU-Pathway, students will have opportunities to receive career advice and preparation. It is their responsibility to take the classes seriously and use the skills to benefit them in their endeavors.
As students are able to grow in their education or start their careers, we encourage them to recognize their identity as ambassadors of Church education and more importantly, Jesus Christ.
These connections with local companies are not only benefiting the students, but also giving those organizations opportunities to thrive and expand.
When we meet with companies, we strive to give them a solid understanding of what BYU-Pathway is and how the online students can be powerful assets to their organizations.
In March 2017, I traveled to Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico, and Lima, Peru, to meet with representatives of large companies and universities. Some of these organizations included Coparmex, Cosapi, Universidad Tecmilenio, and Walmart.
During these meetings, we discussed how BYU-Pathway and online courses have left and will continue to leave a positive impact on the residents of their cities and countries. We shared the English language opportunities taking place in each learning course and the certificate and degree options that BYU-Idaho offers through online studies.
We purposefully reach out to companies looking for English-speaking and degree-seeking employees. Organizations in Mexico and South America are especially interested in these English learning opportunities. Employees who have English-speaking abilities will have more opportunities for promotions and management positions.
The Lord’s Work
When I met the CAO of Walmart Mexico so many years ago, I never would have imagined where that association would take me. I see now that it is all part of the Lord’s work to fulfill His plan for His children all around the world.
As we continue to reach out to companies to create these opportunities for our international online students, we hope the students will recognize the love and support we have for them. Everything we pursue is so they can succeed academically and professionally.
When it comes to developing opportunities for our students, we have only scratched the surface. BYU-Pathway will continue to double its efforts in creating those collaborations for the benefit of the students.
Kevin’s next trips will take place later this year when he will visit with organizations in India and Spain.
BYU-Pathway employees are working every day to make your dreams of success a reality. How are you preparing yourself to be professionally ready for those career opportunities? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!