Loyola Limited, the on-campus, student-run business enterprise, will hire local high school students to work for its businesses by the end of this spring semester. Two Loyola students spearheaded this outreach, making it the first student-led initiative to be part of the university’s five-year strategic plan, Plan 2020.
Loyola Limited Assistant Director Sean Connolly and Director of Human Resources Nick Coulson — who is also a staff member of The PHOENIX — presented a high school employment initiative to the Plan 2020 committee in October last year. The initiative falls under Loyola’s Plan 2020’s fourth priority: create partnerships within the Rogers Park and Edgewater communities.
Loyola Limited has a history of working with high school students across Chicago, according to Connolly. In its most recent outreach, Loyola Limited gave students from Sullivan High School, located in Rogers Park, a tour of Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus and Loyola Limited businesses. The enterprise wanted to create a more focused program and localize it, according to Connolly.
The initiative is currently in its planning stage and is expected to be launched by the end of this semester. Part of the planning phase involves developing a curriculum to complement the employment program. After that, Loyola Limited will begin the hiring process for Sullivan High School students.
Loyola Limited will recruit six to eight students from Sullivan starting in May, according to Connolly. The students will be selected in an interview process conducted by Loyola Limited student workers, according to the principal of Sullivan High School, Chad Adams.
The participating businesses include Felice’s Kitchen, a pizza restaurant; ChainLinks, a bicycle rental and repair shop; and the Loyola Limited office. The high school students will rotate among the three businesses and work alongside undergraduate students from Loyola, which will expose them to a college environment and provide them with mentors, Connolly said. Students from Sullivan are expected to start working in June this year, and they will be employed for one year, according to Connolly.
Adams said he looks forward to the new collaboration.
“I’m just really excited for the opportunity for not only Sullivan students to get some real job experience, but also for Loyola students [to work with Sullivan students],” said Adams. “It’s really a nice way to bring communities together.”
Connolly said the initiative was inspired in part by the mayor’s call for mentoring throughout the city. Last September, the mayor proposed mentorship as a solution to violence in Chicago.
“We think that the act of mentoring for [undergraduate] students is extremely important,” said Connolly.
Junior psychology major and president of ChainLinks Jacqueline Micelli said she’s excited for the opportunity to be a role model for the high school students.
“I believe mutual respect is easily obtained because it wasn’t too long ago that we were in their position with many questions about college life,” the 21-year-old wrote in an email to The Phoenix.
Senior English major Colleen Wimmer is the president of Felice’s and said she is eager to learn from Sullivan students and her fellow Loyola students.
“I think the best way to learn is to learn from others,” said the 21-year-old. “It will be great to work with the community and learn, probably, about how we interact with people just a few years younger than us right now. I’m really excited for them to just come in and start to learn even more about each other.”
Connolly said the experience will be valuable in preparing Loyola students for their futures.
“[The initiative] adds exposure to the community,” he said. “It really helps them start to think off of campus [and] how they can leverage a … Loyola education to be a positive change right here in the city.”