Alfred Cole

I have been teaching at Salt Lake Community College for the past 19 years and I have not seen a program with the potential for student learning and resume building like STUDENTfacturED.   Here is a hands-on experience that mirrors the real world.   If any part of the Business School education was lacking it was a direct tie to the reality of actual business.  This program gives students a real-world experience in solving business problems that does not come from textbooks.   My almost 78 years of living has shown me that nothing provides as much education as actual experience with the theoretical learning as actual doing.

I learned through the school of hard knocks many lessons that have helped me through life.   At age 16, I dropped out of school (I knew more than the teachers) and joined the Air Force.   After almost 8 years of service I realized there were many things I did not know.   Somehow all those teachers suddenly got smarter.   I knew I had to have an education if I was going to gain the most from my life. I worked at Sperry Engineering Labs after completing a course in Machine shop and drafting at Weber Junior College. I found out that I did not want to be a draftsman or machinist.

Next I attended Brigham Young University for a year while working as a correctional officer at the Utah State Prison.   During that time I got married and needed to be closer to Salt Lake City.   I transferred to the University of Utah, and have bled RED ever since.   I went to work for Kennecott Copper Corporation and completed my B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Economics, then went on to get an MBA.   I asked the copper co. to give me a better job, and was told I needed to get some experience in my chosen field then they would promote me.

I decided from several job offers to return to work with the Air Force, and stayed with the government for 27 years.   I had several different positions with the air force all due to my education. I was a management analyst for the Hill AFB commander.   Then I became a computer programmer.   From there, I went into logistics and helped provide training material for the South Vietnam Air force.   I came back to HAFB and went to work for the Ogden Air Material Area commander as a program analyst.   For a period of 5 years I worked with Dr. Fred Herzberg on job enrichment for the Air force Logistics Command.   Then I was assigned to develop and contract for a computer network for hill AFB. I became the Network manager for the base.   I was assigned to be the branch chief for computer systems research and development.   When I retired from HAFB I was the chief of Computer Security for the base.

When I looked at the education we were providing our business students at SLCC the one area of weakness within our program is the lack of actual business experience.   We could teach marketing and business principles, but we could not give the student a way to relate these concepts to actual businesses.   We needed a way to provide for our students actual problem solving experiences within an actual business where we played with real dollars and mistakes involved real losses.  

With a master’s degree in Business Administration, I know what it takes to be successful in the business world.   The number one question asked of new graduates when they apply for the first job is “What experience do you have?”   If a student has no experience they look like the other 50 or 100 applicants for this same position.   If a student has some business experience he/she immediately begins to explain what work they have done and what they are capable of doing for this new employer.   The difference is outstanding between a person with experience and one who does not have any.   This is why I am glad to be part of the STUDENTfacturED  company at SLCC.   I hope to be able to give you as students a real life experience you can use to further your career.