Goodwill Visits to SkillsUSA’s Business and Industry Partners
Many instructors and their students understand the value of industry partnerships, but they may not know the exact steps to undertake in order to foster and build these relationships. These resources will help your chapter to plan and carry out a visit to industry during the school year.
What is a Goodwill Visit?
A Goodwill Visit is a brief, 20 to 30 minute informational visit to a local company in your community. During the visit, your SkillsUSA officers or members will explain the benefits and programs of SkillsUSA, tell about your technical program and ask questions about the company.
The purpose is to build awareness of SkillsUSA and technical education programs, and to learn more about the company and its needs for entry-level employees and whether there might be future job opportunities for SkillsUSA members. It also helps students to see the business environment and to better understand the work practices of the company. Further, it is a chance for students to practice employment skills such as public speaking, making introductions, handshakes and more.
A long-term purpose of a Goodwill Visit can also be to generate corporate support for your training program in the form of personnel, resources or financial contributions. However, it takes time to build relationships (months or even years).
Goodwill Visit Basics
Here are some basic steps to planning and carrying out a goodwill visit.
- Make a list of one or more companies that you would like to visit. Each company should meet the following criteria: they could employ your students, they market their product/services to your industry, or they typically support education and youth within your community.
- Visit the company website to learn more about them.
- Identify a person by name at the company to contact (call and ask for the name of the human resources manager or the education/training manager).
- Write a letter requesting a visit to the company by a small group of students (four to six officers or SkillsUSA members selected for this activity).
- Call the company to request an appointment, within a few days after sending the letter.
- Send a confirmation letter or email with the date and time of the appointment, the purpose of the meeting and whom you hope to meet (be sure to mention any special needs for your presentation, such as requesting a conference room, an LCD projector or a television and VCR).
- Develop and practice your presentation.
- Call to confirm the appointment one or two days before your visit.
- Arrive 15 minutes early for the appointment, and ask to be shown to your meeting room so you can set up for your presentation.
- Send a thank-you letter from the students, a few days following the meeting (be sure to include any follow up information that was requested).
- Invite representatives from the company to your training program for an open house, to assist with PDP evaluations, to judge a local contest or to attend your state conference.
- Follow up with a proposal for other assistance, but not until a meaningful relationship that benefits both sides has already been established