Strategies for Professionals: Improvisation and Acting

Program Description

According to LinkedIn, the #1 skill shortage in Los Angeles is in oral communication.

This one-of-a-kind professional training program addresses a problem that nearly anyone can relate to: in-person connection. Offered at Cal State LA Downtown, the Strategies for Professionals: Improvisation and Acting program utilizes the approaches and exercises developed in the realm of improv and acting to assist business professionals in developing and increasing their interpersonal (speaking, listening, presenting, pitching, networking) and intrapersonal (self-awareness, nonverbal communication, managing emotions, being respectful of others, showing empathy and understanding) skills. The workshop format will give participants an opportunity to engage with an experiential trainer and connect with other business professionals, resulting in real-time coaching and feedback.

This course adopts the fundamentals of actor training, based on the concepts of the True Self; revealing one’s own beliefs through open communication and honesty, for actionable tools and skills to be directly applied in the business setting.

Students will master the following social skills and skills advantages for the workplace:

  • Engage in exercises that will focus on transferable skills
  • Experience and apply actor training concepts based on the idea of the True Self used in a business context
  • Strengthen intrapersonal skills (self-awareness, nonverbal communication, empathy and understanding)
  • Improve interpersonal skills (speaking, listening, presenting, pitching and networking)
  • Expand your creative problem-solving and collaboration skills
  • Develop reflective practice habits
  • Create meaningful and long-lasting business relationships

Who Should Enroll?

  • Business professionals either early in their careers and eager to develop “soft skills” or move up, or seek a better position at another company
  • Someone recently promoted to a managerial/leadership position who wants to improve their interpersonal and intrapersonal skills to create a collaborative and creative work environment
  • An experienced business person who is looking to make a career change and wants to develop a new pitch, expand their networking and interpersonal skills
  • Anyone seeking an opportunity to forge stronger relationships either in the workplace or in day-to-day interactions

Tuition & Fees

To earn a certificate of completion, students must complete all three class meetings.

Total Program Cost: $295

Financial Assistance

Federal financial aid is not currently available for this program. However, you can apply for a private student loan here.

Program Schedule

Class will be offered Friday evenings at our Downtown L.A. campus.

Schedule: TBA

About the Instructor

Instructor Jay Lay wearing a blue and white striped polo shirt, smiling with light brown/blonde wavy hairJay Lay is an actor, writer, director, teacher, and experiential trainer.  

After receiving a B.S. in Mathematics and B.S. in Psychology from Vanderbilt University, Jay moved to Los Angeles. He has performed in television (​How I Met Your Mother, ​Arrested Development, and others), film (Evan Almighty and others), and over 85 commercials. He is also featured in the upcoming Melissa McCarthy film ​Superintelligence ​and recently starred in the short film ​The Garage, which he also executive-produced. 

Jay’s corporate/executive training background stems from his tenure at the Groundlings Theater and School in Los Angeles. He served there for 15 years - first as a student, then as a performer in the Sunday Company, and for seven years as a Senior Instructor and Director. In 2016, he created his own improv and sketch comedy collective called Hancock Park Jai-Alai Club and currently serves as its executive director. Jay has taught all levels and styles of comedy improv and improv for business and has directed 100+ live improv and sketch shows. 
Through his own experiential training company, Indigoburst Creative, Jay has led numerous seminars for Microsoft, Facebook, Netflix, Starbucks, Kaiser Permanente and dozens more companies. Jay also served as the in-house corporate creative consultant for the PR/marketing firm IgnitedUSA in Marina del Rey for over a year.


Register for the Strategies for Professionals: Improvisation and Acting program here. (Coming soon)


For more information about the Strategies for Professionals: Improvisation and Acting program, please contact the College of Professional and Global Education at Cal State LA via email or (323) 343-4915.