Vancouver Business Journal

Fri11282014

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Seven tips for taming the content marketing beast

Seven tips for taming the content marketing beast

Content marketing is the “art and science of using content or stories to sell so...

Bleu Door Bakery owner purchases Uptown Village building

Bleu Door Bakery owner purchases Uptown Village building

Bonnie Brasure, owner of Uptown Village-based Bleu Door Bakery, recently purchas...

City rolling out “one-stop licensing”

City rolling out “one-stop licensing”

In what can still seem like an incredibly volatile business environment, the cit...

The changing face of SEO

The changing face of SEO

Five years ago, search engine optimization (SEO) centered around using keywords ...

Accomplished & Under 40 class of 2014

Accomplished & Under 40 class of 2014

Each member of the Accomplished & Under 40 Class of 2014 has their own inspi...

Ghost Runners Brewery to open new production facility

Ghost Runners Brewery to open new production facility

Beer lovers, rejoice! A new place to fill up your growler is coming to Vancouver...

Real Estate & Development

Local office market heating up

Local office market heating up

The commercial office real estate market in Southwest Washington continues to improve, according to local real estate professionals contacted by the Journal.

The overall vacancy rate for top-tier class A and B office properties has dropped to 16 percent or less, from a high point of about 21 percent a few years ago, according to Adam Roselli, commercial broker at Eric Fuller & Associates.

“E...

Marketing & Strategic Communication

Seven tips for taming the content marketing beast

Seven tips for taming the content marketing beast

Content marketing is the “art and science of using content or stories to sell something,” according to Kari Olivier, director of marketing and business development for Vancouver-based strategic communication agency AHA!.

“Content” includes print brochures, blog posts, website copy, videos, podcasts and information shared via Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The overall goal, ...

News Briefs

From the List: Sign companies (2014)

What are the largest sign companies in Clark County? We ranked them by number of FTEs. In the event of a tie, companies are ranked by year established. Figures as of 10/10/14.

Spotlight

My Auto Repair Center brings “membership-only” model to auto care

My Auto Repair Center brings “membership-only” model to auto care

As a minister, Mike Miller has dedicated his life to trying to make the world a better place. Three decades ago, he founded Dare to Live in an effort to prevent teen suicides. Eight years ago, realizing that car trouble could lead to a lost job and a raft of other problems for people with few financial resources, he started the Carpenter’s Garage, a nonprofit mechanic shop for the poor.

Then, ear...

WSUV prepares digitally savvy workforce

In order to survive and thrive, companies must understand the role digital media plays in their customers’ lives and begin finding ways to integrate digital media into their business plans.

In order to survive and thrive, companies must understand the role digital media plays in their customers’ lives and begin finding ways to integrate digital media into their business plans.

So said Dene Grigar, associate professor and director of Washington State University Vancouver’s Digital Technology and Culture program, the goal of which is to ensure graduates have the skills to deal with the increasing digital and technical demand.

By focusing on four main skills sets – critical thinking, computers and digital environments, communications and project management and teamwork – the program prepares “well-trained designers who can lead companies into the digital media world,” Grigar said.

Examples of careers for which DTC graduates are prepared include information architecture, public relations and marketing, digital media design and content strategy.

Digital explosion

A March 2007 study by IDC, a global market intelligence firm, predicted that digital data will increase six-fold by 2010.

“This explosive growth will change the way organizations and Information Technology professionals do their jobs,” said Mark Lewis, executive vice president of EMC, a Fortune 500 manufacturer of software and systems for information management and storage.

The DTC program’s enrollment is tracking business’ increased focus on all things digital. Enrollment in the program jumped from 77 in the fall of 2006 to 140 this fall. Grigar and fellow associate professor John Barber constantly seek feedback from local companies to determine what skills are needed, host lectures and workshops in the community and provide educational programs for public school and community college students.

While the information technology sector will appreciate graduates with broad critical, analytical, and communication skills, DTC graduates are not relegated to just computer-related industries. Arts-related industries also need technologically literate workers capable taking advantage of new digital technologies.

Such is the case at Techjet Imaging, a Vancouver-based large-format printing company, which hired DTC graduate Justin Lee last year.

“Justin is a poster child for the DTC program,” said TechJet Vice President Jason Beatty. “He was raised here, got his degree here, got a job here and is using his skills practically.”

Increasing demand for applied skills     

A 2006 study funded in part by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills found that “applied skills such as teamwork, critical thinking and communication are essential for success at work…These applied skills trump basic knowledge skills such as reading and mathematics in importance in the view of employers.”

In addition, almost 75 percent of those surveyed ranked “creativity and innovation” in the top five applied skills projected to increase in importance for future graduates.  

Recognizing this trend early on, WSUV’s DTC program was one of the first in the nation, Grigar said. It was founded in 1997. The program was so ahead of its time, the university didn’t know where to put it – finally placing it in the Department of English. It became a four-year degree program in 2003 and will become a stand-alone department in 2009. In addition, Grigar said, WSUV is considering adding an online DTC master’s program in 2010.

In the last 10 years, programs like the one at WSUV have emerged across the country – Grigar said there are now more than 500 in the United States – but WSUV is recognized as a trend-setter.

“We’re a destination major now,” Grigar said.

Real-world experience

Students in the DTC program often work on projects for local companies and nonprofit organizations. This work, said Grigar, represents a commitment to community outreach – the mission of a land-grant institution.

During their senior year, DTC students must complete either a 150-hour internship with a metro-area business or work on a project for a local nonprofit organization. Students have interned with PeaceHealth Hospital in Longview, Organic Products Trading Co. in Vancouver and the Vancouver City Planning Commission.

They have worked on pro bono projects for The Ark, Clark County Fire District 11 in Battle Ground, the At Home At School program and the Council for the Homeless. Plans for this fall include work with the Columbia River Economic Development Council and Fort Vancouver Community Television.

The local business community’s response to the program has been positive, Grigar said.

“Companies realize they need this kind of expertise,” she said.

Historically, Beatty said, students have had to go outside the area to gain this type of education – and may not have come back. The DTC program, he said, will do much to keep graduates local and serves as a “great source of qualified local candidates who are ready to go to work in the high-tech world.”

Bridgette Fahnbulleh, community voicemail coordinator for the Council for the Homeless, was enthusiastic about the DTC students’ work.

“We wanted a video we could give to the business community that explained our GoPhone Society,” Fahnbulleh said. The students, she said, did the cover, the soundtrack, taping, interviewing and wrote the script in two months.

She was so impressed with the students’ work, she plans on having them create a training video for case workers this fall.

Internships and projects, Barber said, provide students with real-world experience, a chance to develop a network of contacts and the opportunity to be mentored by professionals in the field. In addition, he said, students can develop a portfolio and learn the value of community service.

“It’s not so much about placing students in high-dollar opportunities but about finding a place where they can practice skills and appreciate the rewards of giving back to their community,” Barber said.

STATE RENEWS COMMITMENT TO HIGH-TECH WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Recognizing the need for continued improvement in high-tech workforce skills, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed Senate Bill 6377 into law in March. The bill’s intent is to “identify the gaps in current laws and policies regarding secondary career and technical education and fill those gaps in a comprehensive fashion to create a coherent whole.”

Rick Meeder, American Electronics Association Washington Council executive committee member and education committee chair, called the bill a “comprehensive career and technical education bill.”

American Electronics Association is a nationwide nonprofit trade association that represents all segments of the technology industry.

According to the bill’s summary, it “seeks to increase the quality and rigor of secondary career and technical education, improve links to postsecondary education, encourage and facilitate academic instruction through career and technical courses and expand access to and awareness of the opportunities offered by high quality career and technical education.”

Opinion

Focus Column

The tech effect on property management

The tech effect on property management

Love it or hate it, technology has certainly changed the world of business, blurring personal and professional lines and...

Lurking dangers in purchase and sale agreements

Lurking dangers in purchase and sale agreements

Many who purchase real estate put faith in their broker to correctly complete “form” Purchase and Sale Agreements (PSA)....

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