The School of Business Administration recently named Michelle Giovannozzi director of its Center for Executive Education, with an eye toward adding flexibility and online accessibility to its training regiment. Giovannozzi is advocating for the visibility of the program, Portland State and students transitioning into the workforce in her new role at the SBA.
Located by the South Waterfront, CEPE is an arm of the business school that provides short courses, workshops and seminars orientating on workplace application.
“We are trying to prepare tomorrow’s leaders by making sure that what we do is always relevant,” said Dan Connolly, dean of the SBA.
Furthermore, CEPE works beyond the campus to educate others on business-related skills.
“There are a lot of untapped needs in the city,” Connolly said. “We can look at different industry sectors—healthcare, retail, energy, entrepreneurship, real estate or disciplines like finance or accounting.
“There are a lot of different directions for us to go,” Connolly continued. “We also have the potential to take some of our programs to other cities, which will allow us to expand our branding beyond Portland.”
Giovannozzi has previous business experience before CEPE, as the director of Economic Development and Partnerships [Note from copy: Economic and Community Development?] at Clark College.
“My role there was similar, but CEPE is more focused on broad-based business skills such as process improvement, human resource management, project management and business analysis,” she said.
In both cases she said the goal has ben to bring “awareness, support and knowledge of PSU or Clark College to businesses as well as serving their learning needs and acting as a resource.”
With this goal in mind, CEPE’s enrollment has nearly doubled in the last three years and Giovannozzi expects to see this growth continue.
“It’s a time in the economy when job mobility is opening up and people are able to make more job changes and look for more growth in their positions—a lot of times in order to do that, you have to have additional skills,” she said.
While CEPE strives to provide these additional skills, Giovannozzi also sees it as channel into the SBA in general.
“We go out and actively market to business people, business leaders and business owners about PSU and the educational and developmental resources,” she said. “We talk to them about short-term developmental professional opportunities, but at the same time we also tell them about bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and for-credit certificates.”
Giovannozzi wants to stimulate CEPE’s visibility within the industry while representing PSU at large.
“We are a conduit or a way of developing a pipeline to get students into the [SBA],” she said.
According to Giovannozzi, honing skills that equate to efficiency in the workplace increases one’s marketability to employers.
“There is a lot of demand right now of businesses looking for ways they can retool their workforce to get better productivity and outcomes,” she said. “Skill development is a big way to do that, and that’s what we provide them.”
Giovannozzi’s devotion to this program mirrors how Connolly describes her.
“She is charismatic and energetic, and I think she is just what the program needs,” he said.
“[Giovannozzi] has a great understanding of the professional education world and brings fabulous ideas and a great vision,” Connolly added. “Under her leadership, we have the ability to grow CEPE not just in terms of volume, but in terms of reputation and to grow beyond Portland.”