The following webinar was hosted by the IISE Sustainable Development Division, as part of their mission to help align Industrial and Systems Engineers with organizations working on the UN Sustainable Development goals.
In addition to covering details of the project, here are some key takeaways.
- Student capstone projects and research work provide excellent real-world experience for the students, and provide valuable support to non-profits.
- Students can provide software development and data collection and analysis support to nonprofits at a little to no cost due to the time and resources they have access to and the learning they will gain from the experience.
- Students interested in nonprofit work should also need to develop skills in writing grants and problem statements, and communicating to funders and donors in non-technical terms to be most effective.
- Partnerships between schools and nonprofits take time to develop in order to translate the language of engineers into the language of nonprofits, and to develop trust in order to be able for the nonprofit to commit their limited time and resources to the effort.
- Many nonprofits may not be familiar with the skill set that engineers can provide, and therefore do not know how to seek assistance with current challenges in their organization.
- Professors and instructors should seek help from other faculty, staff and school leadership (president, provost, board of trustees) to help make connections in the community to establish relationships with nonprofits for students seeking project work.