Franchise Development Program
During the 2015-2016 school year, the WASDEF was awarded a $10,000 grant from Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Community Grant Program to support the launch of the Franchise Development Program at WAHS, which has since been absorbed by the school's Culinary Arts Program.
In partnership with Alabaster Coffee Roaster + Tea Co., the program was implemented for the first time in 2017 to provide a real-world, hands-on opportunity in the instruction of small business ownership and operation.
And the outcomes of the effort have begun to emerge.
Working with the downtown business and its owner, Karl Fisher, the high school’s construction trades students were tasked with building the mobile coffee bar, the business model dreamed up by the high school’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and accounting students, and the business itself came under the management of School-to-Work Program students, like Tymir.
“Our goal is to have our students create and maintain a small business program that they make financially sustainable,” said Kristin Takach, WAHS School-to-Work Program coordinator. “By learning the soft skills and technical skills needed to operate a small business in a hands-on capacity will give students a foundation to build their skill-set, business savvy and knowledge base to help them transition into the workforce beyond high school.”
“I believe that this is an amazing opportunity to partner our high school with our city and continue to strengthen that partnership for mutual long-term good,” Fisher said. “This is a chance to offer students real-world business experience that encompasses all the aspects a student would encounter in creating and maintaining a small business — an opportunity that many may never have until actually deciding they may want to pursue entrepreneurship.”
The program also was supported by $9,500 of Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) dollars from the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania.
“Participating in the development of the Alabaster franchise has helped me in my day-to-day life with skills I have picked up and can bring with me into my future and use in fields I aspire to be in. A year-and-a-half ago, I could have been labeled a drop out. Not only am I finishing strong but I will now be the first in my family to attend college. I am more than confident that I will be successful in my journey. To all of you who have helped me along the way, thank you for listening, thank you for investing, and, most of all, thank you for coming to work each day determined to make dreams like mine become a reality.”
— Tymir James, Class of 2017