Minorities gain opportunity through InterNet conference


InterNet gives students a link to the business world in northern Illinois.

InterNet (Internship Networking) is sponsored by the East West Corporate Corridor Association. The company typically sponsors a summer program and recently added a minority program.

Bonnie Wood, executive director of East West Corporate Corridor Association, said this year the minority program was the Minority Students Career Awareness Conference.

There were three phases of the conference that illustrated how students can utilize the business world. Phase one focused on gaining exposure, phase two was titled “Dress for Success,” and phase three was a speech, “Rising to the Top.”

Students also were encouraged to talk with representatives from the 27 companies in attendance. Wood said the focus of the conference was for businesses and students to come together and communicate.

Collin Halliman, Student Association minority relations adviser, was at the conference and invited Wood to NIU. She will be meeting with students at 8 p.m. tonight in the Illinois Room of the Holmes Student Center, by cooperation with the Organization of Black Business Students (OBBS).

Halliman said the main purpose of this meeting is for students who attended the conference or were unable to attend, but are interested in InterNet, to discuss student needs.

Halliman said the meeting also will be a way of getting students interested in participating in the student advisory board Wood is hoping to establish.

“We’re shooting for people who belong to organizations to get involved,” Halliman said.

The student advisory board would include students from universities all over Illinois who would discuss issues they are interested in and any questions they have. Wood would then talk to businesses and let them know what the students are looking for.

Wood said from this meeting she can discover what students are looking for and, hopefully, schedule speakers to address these questions.

One focus of tonight’s meeting will be how students can go about developing a Latino business organization.

Halliman described Wood as a liaison between universities and high schools and corporate America.

“She helps minority students who are disadvantaged from an academic standpoint to gain contacts with the business world,” he added.

Halliman encourages students to attend this meeting because companies are focusing on hiring, training and retaining minorities. “If you take advantage of this opportunity, it’s an advantage to you,” he said.

“If students want to learn about businesses in this region, this is their opportunity,” Wood said. “We don’t want students to be recruited out of this area.”