School of Business Awarded Nearly $200,000 Ongoing Funding

Published: August 09, 2021 | Author: Carson Brown | Read Time: 3 minutes

SUU's Dixie L. Leavitt School of BusinessIn partnership with Southwest Technical College, and Iron County School District’s Launch High School, Southern Utah University recently secured $179,100 in ongoing legislative funding to support the creation of a Professional Sales Strategic Workforce Initiative (SWI). This SWI will provide critical education for students at all stages to develop the sales skills and abilities needed in all industry clusters, with a focus on financial services and software development. Funding for this program will be made available on July 1, 2021 and will continue each year with documented success.

As industries diversify and business models change, one thing that will never be replaced is the salesforce. Thanks to this new ongoing SWI funding, SUU’s Dixie L. Leavitt School of Business can now help any major better prepare for a future in sales. This program is designed to educate students from all majors in the fundamentals of sales. Students can add it to their curriculum as either a minor or a certificate.

While performing background research on this proposal, School of Business Dean Mary Pearson discovered that 60% of college graduates find themselves in a sales position post-college.

“It is so important to know what it means to sell yourself, a company, or a product. Working in business, you are continually selling yourself as a consultant,” said Dean Pearson. “To discover this huge demand and realize if we market and educate this right, this is something that could really benefit students… it was incredible. This is something very worthwhile.”

Numerous employers from all over the state are jumping in to be a part of this initiative, including promises of employment for students and graduates. Pearson confirms,

“We had a business in northern Utah promise us 12 paid remote internships and said if we got this going they wanted to hire 60 of our students,” said Dean Pearson. “This alone provides a great marketable value to our students who take advantage of this program.”

Dean Pearson worked with the SPARC Office last December to update and polish their prior grant proposal previously awarded but not funded due to redistribution of legislative funding in response to COVID-19. The updated submission process was even more competitive than the first round. Thankfully, Dean Pearson had the passion to make the magic happen—twice! She commented “We’ve got all this opportunity in sales—millions of jobs—and we are only the second school in Utah to do this!”

Although creating a top-notch submission can be daunting and it made Dean Pearson nervous putting a great deal of effort into something that could be rejected, as she made connections with Launch High School and Southwest Tech in coordination with this certificate, she saw the incredible potential and kept moving forward. For anyone who has considered applying for grant funding, Dean Pearson advises using the resources in our SPARC Office. The SPARC office appreciates the sentiment and support of the amazing faculty and staff at SUU. People like Dean Pearson make it a joy to come to work each day.

If you are interested in the new sales initiative or have any questions, please contact Dean Mary Pearson at or go to the main office of the Dixie L. Leavitt Business Building on SUU’s campus.

Produced by the SPARC Office
SUU’s SPARC Office provides assistance to faculty, staff, and administrators seeking external funding for their projects and programs, from concept development and planning through implementation and management of funded projects.

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