College Teachers Take Export 101

October 25, 2013

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Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Global Knowledge Center. 

Business instructors from community colleges in 18 states attended MSU's business education program in June 2013.

Business instructors from community colleges in 18 states attended MSU’s most recent business education program in June 2013.

Educators at Michigan State University are leading a program to help community colleges increase their coverage of international business.

MSU’s International Business Center (CIBER) is bringing community college business instructors back to school to help them learn the best ways to develop new classes or expand on the subject.

The International Trade Administration’s (ITA) Commercial Service is proud to partner on the initiative, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education.

CIBER uses ITA’s Basic Guide to Exporting to teach these instructors the basics of international business. An accompanying online portion provides slide shows and narratives that augment the text.

These tools aim to help teachers become comfortable with an important topic – doing business overseas – and give them a starting point for developing their own courses.

Community colleges may be overlooked in international business education, but these schools are great tools for helping drive export success.

“A lot of small business leaders seek additional skills by attending night classes at their local college,” said Thomas Hult, director of the CIBER program at Michigan State. The skills developed at community colleges can translate to success in the global marketplace.

Studies show international business is becoming a more common subject in community colleges. About 51 percent of community colleges offered courses in international business in 2008; four years later, it was 81 percent.

The course followed the International Trade Administration's Basic Guide to Exporting, which covers everything from global marketing plans to international business travel.

The course followed the International Trade Administration’s Basic Guide to Exporting, which covers everything from global marketing plans to international business travel.

Diane Hargens of Western Iowa Tech Community College is sharing the lessons she learned at an event with her faculty colleagues.

“I will be showing them the resources that we talked about and asking each of them to incorporate international concepts into their classes,” she said.

Partnerships like these help ITA inform more business leaders about the process and benefits of exporting.

You can learn more about the CIBER program from Michigan State’s Broad School. Students interested in attending community college can find information at the Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education.


  1. KUDUS to ITA for partnering with the Dept of Education of value of being a resource to business leaders with international business development! I hope that there will be more emphasis placed on how essential it is to support the “Doing Business in Africa Campaign”!

    Yesterday, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce, announced that total August exports of $189.2 billion and imports of $228.0 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $38.8 billion, up from $38.6 billion in July, revised. August exports were $0.1 billion less than July exports of $189.3 billion. August imports were virtually unchanged at $228.0 billion.

    Great Job!

    • Education is arguably the most important aspect of a society because it can lead to so much else in terms of freedom, development, and prosperity. The partnering of state universities with community colleges seems key to increasing overall education. Today, many people do not have the time or money for state or private universities and instead seek opportunities at community colleges. Although often overlooked, community colleges offer key programs and technical skills such as Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Machine Tool Technology, and Supply Chain Management. It is good to see cooperation between the ITA and Department of Education in business export education. These types of programs are what will help US businesses and entrepreneurs maintain a competitive edge.

  2. I’m liken this article. Teachers are the future. I was amazed that 81% of community colleges offer courses in international business. Lets get some of those students starting companies and exporting to support the US. Thanks again,

    Teri Green

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