GREENUP COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) – Students at Greenup County Area Technology Center are not just learning job-ready skills, but now they’re creating their own small businesses.
“It gives them the confidence that they can see their idea, make it into something tangible, and it really builds a structure that our community can build on,” said Anthony Thompson, the GCATC principal.
Thompson challenged each program at the tech center to create their own business model, which they are calling the GCATC Market Place.
“I’ve seen a lot of students really grow. The light bulb came on, ”said Cheryl Wellman, the business and marketing instructor.
The students are designing and selling their own products they make in class. Some of these include: the welding program making medal signs, agriculture construction creating a turkey call, the electricity shop converting a shipping container into a mobile coffee bar, the automotive class offering a full-service center and the business department has a vinyl shop making tumblers, shirts, key chains, etc.
“You can come get your oil change at a good price and your tires rotated and those kind of things light automotive repair,” Thompson said.
The key to the whole process is the business department. Everything is run through them from marketing to graphic design and handling the finances.
“They write every check, they receive every dollar so it’s one bank account and they do all the accounting for it, so it’s an enormous undertaking and we’re really proud of how they’ve gone about the business of putting the infrastructure in place to make that happen, ”Thompson said.
Senior Brandon Dalton is the bookkeeper. He says his former experience with the Future Business Leaders of America prepared him for his role.
“I was able to really take up the head and really start making documents and spreadsheets and all that good stuff and keeping very accurate records very quickly,” Dalton said.
Each department fills out its order form and brings it to Dalton, where he tracks all the expenses.
“It’s preparing me for the workforce outside of school working with peers and actually getting along with peers,” he said. “It’s been surreal because if you would have told me this even a year ago that something like this would be happening our school I would have told you, you were crazy.”
Right now, they are selling through word of mouth.
“We’ve already had orders for grills, and lots of cars have come in, and we have boats all over campus,” Thompson said.
He said the next step is to create a website where the community can go online and order and browse the products. He hopes they will have that started in the fall.
“They’re so excited that they get to sell it and they get to see that everybody wants it, and we have re-orders,” Wellman said.
The money they receive will go back into the programs to fund the products the students design.
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