Today, Houchens Industries and the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated the donation of a $13,000 store that will be used as the backbone of South Warren’s new Retail and Marketing Career Focused Model. The store is comprised of a mobile kiosk and POS system that is identical to those used in Houchens’ popular Crossroads IGA stores.
The store will serve as the centerpiece of South Warren’s career focused model. The model, Retail and Marketing, will blend several pathways and provide students with fundamental skills in marketing, retailing, and business administration. The model is the first of its kind for the SCK LAUNCH initiative.
According to Chamber President and CEO Ron Bunch, “Today is a monumental day for South Central Kentucky. This generous donation from one of our largest employers will allow students to gain real world career experience on equipment that is identical to that used in the private sector. I would like to thank Houchens Industries for their commitment to helping shape the future workforce for theirs and other businesses across the region. This collaboration is a shining example of what the SCK LAUNCH initiative was intended to do – align the education and business communities to create a world class talent pool to fuel our economy well into the future. I would also like to thank the educators who helped define this model and will lead our students in this exciting new endeavor.”
Combining practical work experience and classroom instruction, the store will be the centerpiece of the model where students will run a store from end to end, designing products, determining product mix and merchandising, monitoring the store’s profitability, and even determining the appropriate time and number of discounts or sales at the store. Career pathways in this model include retail and fashion design, marketing, business management, and ecommerce. The store will be stocked with various school supplies, school merchandise, and student-created designs from The Pincushion. Creation of merchandise through Pincushion gives students opportunities to develop career competencies in the fashion industry while also gaining entrepreneurship experience. Pincushion is an existing student-run business, open to the public, that designs and creates club and team shirts, as well as embroidery, monogramming, custom orders and alterations. Students are expected to market their business, determine messaging, timing, and explore avenues in which to promote themselves. They will also learn general business management like how to price items, when to offer discounts, and how to keep the books and manage inventory. In addition to running the physical store before school and during 3rd block, students have the potential to take their business model and build on ecommerce opportunities.
Spencer Coates, President of Houchens Industries said, “Houchens Industries is delighted to be able to work with South Warren High School on the donation of this kiosk and POS system. We are excited to help the students learn more about what we do here at Houchens, and we look forward to meeting these students again as they complete their academic careers and enter the professional world. Houchens is deeply rooted in South Central Kentucky, and we appreciate the opportunity to share our knowledge and resources with our students.”
The Career Focused Model within SCK LAUNCH allows students to fully immerse themselves in a career pathway with significant career related experiences throughout. Students who participate in career-related experiences gain a deeper understanding of the skills needed for success in a business environment and may use that knowledge to become more intentional in the pathways leading to career preparedness.
Jenny Hester, Principal of South Warren High Schools said, “It is so exciting to see the collaborative efforts of our stakeholders through the SCK Launch. The donation of a school store and POS system, as well as the partnership that our teachers and students will have with Houchens Industries, will no doubt leave our students better prepared when they leave us today than they were yesterday. We are so appreciative of the opportunity to give our students hands-on experience in a number of career pathways.”
Today’s announcement is part of more than $1.8 million invested by the business community in recent years to grow talent in the region. Monetary investments include $1.4 million for The Leader In Me in all schools in Bowling Green and Warren County, $400,000 for the Machine Tool and Robotics Programs at the Warren County Area Technology Center, and $5,000 for the Warren Central High School Hospitality Courtyard. In addition to monetary donations, MedCenter Health and Tri-Star Greenview Regional Hospital donated equipment and supplies to the BGHS Medical Arts Academy.
SCK LAUNCH is a collective effort of the community intended to inspire the powerful education and business partnerships necessary to create the talent pipeline for high-demand sectors to grow the South Central Kentucky economy. The initiative builds on and enhances work already in progress in Bowling Green and Warren County high schools to offer career focused experiential models, career shadowing, educator externships, career academies, student-led leadership and employability skills training as a way to inspire students and provide valuable learning opportunities that engage their personal interest and career aspirations. SCK LAUNCH is a national model for best practices in comprehensive career immersion at all levels of education.
To learn more about the initiative and available volunteer opportunities, please contact Meredith Rozanski or Sandra Baker at the Chamber or visit the initiative website at SCKLAUNCH.com.
To learn more about the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, visit www.bgchamber.com.
About the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce:
Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was named the 2009 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. As the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,200 partners and is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. Its primary goals are to promote growth and success in the business community, reaching its small business partners and those in large industries alike. With leadership programs, governmental relations projects, educational initiatives and involvement opportunities, the Chamber aims to support the community and its neighbors in order to enhance the business climate and continue to grow the region.