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BusinessCoronavirus

Stony Brook University expands program to help businesses navigate COVID

Thomas Moebus, left, a consultant with The Shift

Thomas Moebus, left, a consultant with The Shift Group, and CEO Stefan Doering will help lead the workshops, which will also rely heavily on peer education.   Credit: Shift Group

Stony Brook University has raised enough funding to offer Pandemic Shift workshops, free digital courses on surviving the pandemic, to 300 business leaders.

SBU and The Shift Group, a Brooklyn-based online education company, piloted a workshop this summer, where local executives identified ways to adjust their models for pandemic-era behaviors.

The college has since raised $125,000 from Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and others, which will fund about 10 rounds of the workshop, according to Joseph Barry, director of development at the university's College of Business. The funding will also provide academic scholarships to about 35 undergraduate or graduate students, which allows them to earn academic credit without paying for it, while aiding businesses through SBU initiatives, Barry said.

"This is a terrific resource for [business leaders] to overcome some of the financial challenges that they may have experienced or may still be experiencing," Barry said.

The digital workshops are slated to begin in October. Each workshop will include four 90-minute sessions that rely heavily on peer education in small groups, said Thomas Moebus, a consultant with The Shift Group who will help lead the workshops along with the firm's CEO, Stefan Doering. Moebus said the initiative aims to serve about 300 companies and include minority and women business owners.

"It’s tough to figure [it] out by yourself, which is why people are open to the idea of working together with others in a workshop, but also seeing the workshop as a way to organize themselves [and] as a way of continuing with it," Moebus said. "It’s something that can really revitalize the business community."

The workshops are open to any business leaders, but priority will be given to Suffolk County enterprises and those with fewer than 50 employees.

Applications may be submitted online at shiftgroup.com/pandemic-shift.

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