May 31, 2007
New UI Service Focuses On Intercultural Training For Iowa Businesses
The University of Iowa has expanded its services to help Iowa businesses succeed in a global marketplace and contribute to the state's economic development.
The Going Global in Iowa (GGI): Intercultural Training Services helps businesses by providing the cultural background and intercultural training needed to work successfully with executives and business owners from different countries.
"In an increasingly globalized business world, intercultural knowledge and skills are often the key to financial success," said Helen Jameson, GGI coordinator and assistant director of programming for the UI Office of International Students and Scholars. "For an organization attempting to navigate the global market and expand to other parts of the world or serve an increasingly diverse customer-base here at home, a lack of cultural knowledge and training could not only be detrimental to an impending business deal, but a costly disadvantage for an organization."
Currently, 12 multinational companies have headquarters in the State of Iowa, according to Catherine Beirling, a research analyst with the Iowa Department of Economic Development. In addition, 2,500 Iowa companies are exporting goods and services overseas, and the Iowa workforce is becoming increasingly internationally diverse at all organizational levels in Iowa.
The training service is led by OISS's staff, composed of experienced professionals who work with intercultural differences on a daily basis. GGI workshops are designed to help organizations and businesses develop the cross-cultural skills needed to serve an international population and create a more supportive, culturally accepting environment for international clientele and employees.
According to Alfred Ramirez, executive director of Diversity Focus, a Cedar Rapids-based nonprofit organization devoted to enhancing the diversity of the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City area, it is important that a program such as GGI exists.
"The Going Global in Iowa training service is a key resource in developing globally diverse knowledge for communication, conflict resolution, and intercultural awareness and expertise," Ramirez said.
Each GGI session is customized to meet an individual organization's needs, including country-specific training for companies interested in expanding or conducting business in a particular location. In the workshop, the trainers assess an organization's current level of cultural competency and interaction with international populations and provide feedback on specific cross-cultural issues that are limiting or facilitating intercultural growth.
"The Going Global in Iowa program offered by the Office of International Students and Scholars is the right program at the right time," said P. Barry Butler, dean of the UI College of Engineering. "At a time when Iowa-based companies are becoming more global, I believe it is valuable for them to partner with our experts at the University of Iowa on learning more about cultural differences."
For more information on the Going Global in Iowa workshops, contact OISS at 319-335-0335 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Web site at http://intl-programs.uiowa.edu/oiss/GGI.html.
The Office of International Students and Scholars of the University of Iowa provides leadership in international education and international learning through service to international students and scholars, their dependents, the university and the surrounding community. OISS enhances the academic, cultural and social pursuits of UI students and scholars through exceptional immigration and personal advising as well as outstanding cross-cultural programming and training.
University of Iowa International Programs enables UI students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity and give all university constituents access to vital international knowledge. For more information, visit http://intl-programs.uiowa.edu/ or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the UI Office of the Provost.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500