UA Business LEAD Prepares Students for the Workforce

The University of Alabama UA Business LEAD program for business students is entering its second year. (Photo/University of Alabama)

UA Business LEAD, a professional development program preparing students for the workforce, is entering its second year at the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business.

“LEAD helps students be day-one ready when they enter their job or internship,” says Keely Latopolski, director of professional development and engagement at Culverhouse. “We want students to be learning on the job but also be adding value to the company or organization that they’re joining … and be able to articulate the soft-skill development that they’ve learned in Culverhouse and then worked on co-curricularly.”

As part of LEAD, students use an app to track their activities, including attending workshops, capstone experiences and speaker series. The Suitable app also serves as a portfolio that allows students to share their work.

“They can even upload a video file, so we’ve had students upload an elevator pitch to that e-portfolio (and) link that to their email signature line or to their LinkedIn profile to give employers an additional snapshot about who they are,” Latopolski says.

The LEAD program is looking to add an internship system, too, says Lara Ellen Locke, assistant director of professional development and engagement for Culverhouse.

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“We’re developing a process for students to earn LEAD points for their internships,” she says. “This will help us see where our students are getting opportunities and what kind of opportunities they are getting. In turn, that will allow us to also partner with some new corporate partners that we’ve never had before.”

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