Thursday, April 30, 2015

Americhem and Junior Achievement

Americhem’s partnership with Junior Achievement started with retiree Rick Mathew, who served as our COO in the early 2000s. As a long-term member of Junior Achievement, Rick brought the program to Americhem and I took a personal interest.

I believe that giving back to the community is important. A colleague and I chose to work with high school students. This decision was important to us because these students are getting ready to graduate and enter the world as adults, and we thought that they would really benefit from a real-world business education.
Six years ago we held our first session at Stow High School. We joined a teacher who taught an impressive business management course. Every year for seven weeks, my colleague and I teach courses to this business management class. We start with business ethics and move onto entrepreneurship, which is really fun to do with the students.

When teaching entrepreneurship, we ask the student to create a business. During each step of the business development process, we teach business terminology and best practices. The end result is having the students pitch their “businesses” to potential investors. It is amazing to see their creative spirit. The pupils take the program seriously and are quite impressive. I can remember one year a student arrived dressed as a pig to promote his business where every kind of food was wrapped in bacon.

The classes we work with are amazing. We open ourselves up to be their mentors and there are students that have continued to stay connected after graduation. We had one student who came to Americhem after she graduated high school to intern with us for four years while she was attending college.

In 2011, a colleague here at Americhem and I were nominated by our teacher/partner from Stow High School and won the Northeast Ohio Junior Achievement Volunteer of the Year award and we are now part of the Junior Achievement’s Hall of Fame. That was a really great moment because even though we voluntarily worked with these students and observed their progress, the acknowledgement that we were making a difference in their lives was quite an honor.

I look forward to teaching the classes every year and I believe that Americhem and Junior Achievement make great partners to give students the tools to excel as they continue their education and move into the business world.
For more information about Junior Achievement and how you or your business can be part of this great program visit their website.

Christa Batton
Human Resources Manager - North America, Americhem Inc.

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