by Joan Tupponcee
Photo by Mark Rhodes
Regent University’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) kicked off the “Plus 1 Jobs Initiative” during the school’s Career Fair.
Regent University students are trying to get Virginia companies to hire at least one full-time or part-time employee each by June.
Regent’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) kicked off the “Plus 1 Jobs Initiative” during the school’s Career Fair in February in an effort to lower unemployment and boost the state economy.
SIFE member Michael Jackson suggested the initiative after hearing about the success of “Add One Job” programs in Indianapolis. Washington, Philadelphia and Atlanta also have conducted similar programs. “It dawned on me that this might be a good idea and that we could see if we could do something in Virginia,” he says.
The initiative was announced in November during the school’s Global Entrepreneurship Week. The program is designed to provide employers with continued support by providing them information and ideas that help them grow. University President Carlos Campo is proud the program is a grassroots student effort. “That makes it more exciting,” he says.
Lisa Renz, a Sam Walton co-fellow for Regent University’s SIFE team, also is executive director with BNI Southeastern Virginia, a business referral organization. She got many BNI members involved in the Plus-1 initiative. “They want to grow and expand but aren’t necessarily equipped,” she says. “I saw this as an opportunity to help our members make an impact in their own businesses while at the same time strengthening our local economy.”
Regent would like to have pledges of 300 jobs, topping the 200 pledged in Indianapolis. “We’ve tried to push this out much more broadly, and the response has been positive,” Campo says. “I’m rather sure we can beat our pledge of 300.”
By early February, 57 companies had pledged to hire workers. Jackson, who owns Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services in the Richmond area, has committed to hiring five employees by June. Campo sees that as a beginning. “I feel this will spur other companies to innovate and start jobs both locally and regionally,” he says.
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