Issue 365: 1 / 11 / 2011

Southwest and DISH Satellite TV Plan to Put New Partnership in Orbit

Mike Leonard tells Southwest students ...

Mike Leonard tells Southwest students about opportunities with DISH Satellite TV.

 Partnership in the works: DISH ...

 Partnership in the works: DISH Satellite and Southwest Career Services leaders met to work out the details and show students opportunities: From left: Willie Jones, DISH warehouse manager; Ana Randolph, Susan Wilson, and Brenda Williams of Southwest; and Mike Leonard, Dish Satellite.

In October, DISH Satellite TV General Manager Mike Leonard contacted Southwest Career Services Director Brenda Williams with an object of recruiting Southwest students for installer/technician and technician manager positions. Leonard and Williams immediately called a planning session with faculty members Associate Professor Lisa Jones and Assistant Professor Janet Sykes of Engineering Technologies, and Instructor Yolanda Jackson, Industrial and Environmental Technology. The key objective, as it turned out, was a partnership.

DISH Network arranged to bring their vans to campus to allow students a closer look at the equipment used in the satellite TV industry.  With the vans in place, Southwest technology instructors began bringing their classes by to see the equipment and ask questions. Students were invited to a presentation about job opportunities with DISH, and two days later, Leonard and staff returned to talk about upcoming positions in the Memphis area.

According to Susan Wilson, Southwest Administrative Support, “More than 50 students attended two sessions … it was standing room only at the daytime session.” After covering the history of DISH Network and their application process, Leonard discussed the importance of professional appearance, including suggestions on interview preparation and appropriate workplace attire. "It is always good to have prospective employers reinforce the information that Career Services offers Southwest students on the importance of professionalism,” commented Ana Randolph, graduate intern with Career Services.

When DISH Network expressed a definite interest in an ongoing partnership with Southwest in order to fulfill hiring needs, Williams responded, “Anytime a company invests the time and resources that Leonard and his team have into a recruiting partnership with Southwest, it gets our attention, especially in this economic climate.” She added, “When students have the opportunity to hear about job opportunities directly from employers, it makes things very real for them and allows them to see the connection between their education and career choices.”

Following up on Leonard’s interest, Jones, Electrical Engineering Technology Program Coordinator, invited him to serve on the Southwest Industrial Technologies Advisory Board, including the possibility of getting satellite equipment into the labs “so students could experience it firsthand,” said Jones. “This is a valuable partnership that we look forward to expanding.”

Students who missed the two presentations will have future opportunities to learn about the company’s positions to fill. According to Wilson, “They are very interested in partnering with Southwest, and plan to come several times a year to talk to students.”

The presentations were sponsored by the SETC (Southern Energy Training Consortium), a partnership formed by the Memphis Bioworks Foundation between four regional community colleges and the Department of Labor to provide training and tuition assistance for participants interested in green jobs.