Sixteen students from the International College of the Cayman Islands met Mayor Rahm Emanuel, visited the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and several city agencies and volunteered in a community outreach program while attending a five-day seminar this month in the Windy City.
The seminar focused on business innovation and its impact on society, according to a press release from ICCI, and the visit was facilitated by the mayor’s office.
“It was very exciting to meet the mayor,” student Kassia Webb said in the press release. “He has a lot of responsibility on his hands managing the city and attracting new business to Chicago.”
ICCI students are required to complete two seminars before graduation. This was the first seminar to be held in Chicago, said ICCI President David Marshall, who led the seminar.
“Employers expect you to come to the workplace with a diverse knowledge of the world … it’s one thing to sit in the class, but I think it’s the exposure of getting out of the class that’s especially valuable,” Mr. Marshall said in the press release..
Chicago Chief Small Business Officer Roxanne Nava encouraged the students to become job creators.
“You have an opportunity to use your creativity to fill an unmet business need,” Ms. Nava said. “By being an entrepreneur you can strengthen your community and grow your country’s economy.”
Students also met with the Chicago Equal Employment Opportunity Officer and officials from the Department of Health.
“I have learned so much by being exposed to new ideas from our meetings,” student Kimari Fletcher-Barrett said in a press release. “I am grateful for the opportunity to have these high level briefings in order to shape my own professional goals. I am bringing back some ideas that I hope will make me a better employee and a more effective thought leader on the job.”
ICCI students also attended lectures arranged by the DePaul University School for New Learning and the National Louis University College of Professional Studies and Advancement.
Students also visited The Chicago Mercantile Exchange where they got an up-close view of the trading floor. World Business Chicago, a nonprofit economic development corporation chaired by Mayor Emanuel also briefed the students. The nonprofit is responsible for enhancing Chicago’s global position as a business location.
ICCI students also prepared meals and served residents at Cornerstone Community Outreach, a nonprofit that aims to raise the quality of life for low-income residents in the Uptown area of Chicago.
“I felt very fortunate to have this opportunity to help others in a real positive way during our day of service,” said finance student Barleigh McCarthy. “I can see that as a good business person and a good citizen in general, I have a responsibility to help people wherever I am. I am definitely planning to get more involved with service when I get back to Cayman.”
While in Chicago, each student was required to write eight reflection papers, produce a photo essay, record a video and conduct one interview about topics related to whistle-blowing, corporate social responsibly, discrimination and affirmative action, employment rights, government regulation, corporate governance accountability and business impacts on the environment.
At the end of the academic quarter in June, students will produce a portfolio detailing what they learned in Chicago and how they can apply that knowledge to their life and work in the Cayman Islands.
“We are very proud of these students who were awesome ambassadors for the college and for Cayman,” Mr. Marshall said. “They showed the highest level of academic and intellectual engagement during all of the visits. We are grateful to Mayor Emanuel and his team and all of the university and private sector partners for enriching the lives of our students.”