Human resources students continue free consulting work

The Arden Theater in Philadelphia is one of several organizations around the eastern U.S. receiving free online consultation services from students in WCU's master’s degree program in human resources.

The Arden Theater in Philadelphia is one of several organizations around the eastern U.S. receiving free online consultation services from students in WCU’s master’s degree program in human resources.

Students from Western Carolina University’s master’s degree program in human resources are continuing their tradition of providing free online human resources consultation services for organizations around the eastern U.S.

Last semester, about 30 students were involved in the consulting work, including internship students, program alumni and graduate students taking courses taught by Marie-Line Germain, associate professor of human resources and leadership. The client organizations included Habitat for Humanity of Gwinnett County, Georgia; the Arden Theater in Philadelphia; the Western North Carolina AIDS Project in Asheville; and the Community Table of Sylva. The fall projects varied from the revision of several employee policy manuals and creation of formal onboarding procedures to writing emergency response plans, Germain said.

Brent Bohanan, executive director of the Habitat for Humanity group, said the WCU students “provided high-quality work in a very professional manner.”

“The work of the students has allowed us to address important HR issues now that would have had to wait due to lack of resources,” he said.

Amy Grimes Sims, the Community Table’s executive director, said the students’ professionalism and attention to every detail made the process go smoothly, while Courtney Martin from the Arden Theater said she was impressed with the consulting work.

“It has been more helpful than I could have imagined,” Martin said. “The team was prompt, professional and really listened to our company’s needs, and I was impressed by how quickly they learned about our organization and our culture. It was an all-around wonderful learning process for our entire team.”

Since 2011, more than 432 graduate students in WCU’s Human Resources Program have served as pro bono consultants for more than 60 nonprofits, small businesses and government agencies in eight states. Germain said she is seeking contact with small businesses or nonprofit organizations that would like to receive complimentary human resources assistance on an ongoing basis.

For more information, contact Germain at 305-962-8668 or mgermain@wcu.edu, or visit http://hrconsulting.wcu.edu.