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SIFE tackles unemployment for spring outreach activities

February 11, 2011 12:00AM

Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) at Pittsburg State University is providing a big service to the community in preparation for this spring's competition season.

Over the next several weeks, members of SIFE will focus on helping unemployed community members by leading "Building Pittsburg," a series of three workshops focusing on computer literacy, resume writing and soft skills interviewees need to land a job.

Focused on computer literacy, the first of the free sessions will be held from noon until 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12, in Room 111 Kelce Hall. The second session, offered Tuesday, Feb. 15, will be held for residents of the Choices Emergency Shelter in Pittsburg. That session will focus primarily on how to present oneself in a job interview, including physical appearance and answering questions. The third session, a combination of computer literacy, resume writing and making the right impression in an interview, will be held from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, March 5, in Kelce Hall. The first and third sessions are open to the public.

After learning last year that the national SIFE board had set new judging criterion, the PSU SIFE group focused on combining their traditional six teaching areas (market economics, success skills, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, business ethics and environmental sustainability) into the new single criterion focused on a single broad-based issue.

PSU SIFE met with several community advisory groups to examine some of the biggest issues faced by community members - including healthcare, low-income housing and public transportation - and decided to focus on the issue of unemployment. The 25 group members, a combination of undergraduate and graduate students, received training from the PSU Career Services office on resume writing and computer skills. Career Services will also review the resumes of workshop participants free of charge.

"We spent a lot of time researching and seeing what needs should be met in this community," said Katie Aikins, a junior management major and president of SIFE. She added that the workshops will be repeated later this year. "It took a lot of work to remodel our approach but I'm really proud how our members have embraced this challenge."

In addition to the three workshops, SIFE is also working with the Salvation Army and Fort Scott Cosmetology to educate participates on appropriate hair, makeup and clothing. The group is also working on a partnership with Westar Energy to make presentations on sustainability to area schoolchildren in order to compete in the

Pittsburg Energy Efficiency Competition this summer.

All their work will be presented on March 11 at the SIFE Regional Competition in Rogers, Ark. Last year, they were named regional champions and advanced to nationals.

For more information on SIFE's projects, contact Aikins at 620-238-0489. To sign up in a workshop, RSVP to or contact Yana Kirichenko at 620-719-7190.

©2011 Pittsburg State University