Inspiring Students with Real World Experiences

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Atterro, a family of staffing agencies, partners with Minnesota-based BestPrep to give high school students an edge with hands-on learning

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BestPrep bridges the gap between the classroom and the real world to teach lessons that can’t be learned in a text book. We’re thankful for volunteers like Atterro who make this all possible. -Andrea Hanson, BestPrep

Grace Bugbee may be just a high school student, but she manages to juggle more than most adults – all while remaining on the honor roll.

The ambitious senior is active both inside and outside of her Eden Prairie High School walls. For the past seven years, Bugbee has been a part of the yearbook team. She was promoted to editor her junior year and is now serving as editor-in-chief, a position earned by nomination by her peers. In this role, she manages a team of almost 30 people, including eight editors, and works an average of 45 hours per week.

Outside of school, Bugbee has a job and an internship. She works about 20-25 hours per week as a photographer for Lifetouch, capturing images of children, families, and businesses. As public relations intern for the Eden Prairie Rotary, Bugbee attends weekly meetings, designs graphics for events, and networks within the community to promote the organization – duties that add up to about 5 hours per week.

With these commitments of time and talent, Bugbee has created a strong foundation for her future. She says there’s something else, however, that gives her an edge – the learning experiences and connections she’s made with BestPrep.

Volunteers Making a Difference

BestPrep is a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization that helps prepare students with business, career, and financial literacy skills. To encourage success in business and life, they provide hands-on learning experiences and connect students to positive role models in the community. Atterro, a local staffing and recruitment agency, is one of many local businesses making a difference in students’ lives, including Bugbee’s.

“We’re honored to be part of an organization that helps students reach their full potential,” says Kathleen Griffin, client operations manager at Atterro. “We’ve discovered that we get so much out of these experiences as well. Meeting students like Grace is energizing and keeps us in tune with the next generation of workers.”

The Impact on Students

Bugbee first became connected with BestPrep’s Classroom Plus program through her school’s business seminar course. Classroom Plus is BestPrep’s flagship program and is a free service to educators. It provides hands-on activities, including workplace tours and mock interviews.

“Most high school students haven’t stepped foot inside a corporate office,” notes Bugbee. “Through BestPrep, I’ve toured several businesses, which has allowed me to get a taste of the corporate world and meet business leaders.”

During a series of mock interviews, Bugbee received interviews and feedback from a variety of business professionals, including Atterro volunteers. By participating in several interviews, she was able to practice what she learned in previous sessions. She jokes that she probably could have used these skills earlier: “I interviewed and received my first job at age 16. Knowing what I know now, I wonder how I ever got that job!”

Just the Beginning

To date, BestPrep has helped 1.3 million students prepare for life after high school. BestPrep volunteers will continue to make an impact during the next round of mock interviews on March 23 at Eden Prairie High School.

“Now, more than ever before, students need life skills to turn today’s challenges into opportunities,” says Andrea Hanson, vice president of Educational Programs at BestPrep. “BestPrep bridges the gap between the classroom and the real world to teach lessons that can’t be learned in a text book. We’re thankful for volunteers like Atterro who make this all possible.”

As for what’s next for Bugbee, she plans to attend St. Cloud State University in the fall with a double major in business and graphic design and double minor in psychology and photography. She will continue to work for Lifetouch in a studio near campus. In other words, she will stay busy.

Beyond that, Bugbee hopes to one day move to New York and become a CEO: “I’m so inspired by the people I’ve met through BestPrep. I aim to reach similar levels of success – and become like the people who have interviewed me.”

Business professionals looking to make a positive impact on students can visit to complete a volunteer inquiry form. There are several ways to volunteer and provide practical learning experiences.

“I feel so fortunate to have interview and corporate experience as a high school student,” says Bugbee. “I wish every student could have these opportunities.”

BestPrep is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preparing students with business, career and financial literacy skills through hands-on experiences that inspire success in work and life. BestPrep offers six innovative programs including: Classroom Plus, eMentors, Financial Matters, Minnesota Business Venture, The Stock Market Game™, and the Technology Integration Workshop. For more information visit

Atterro Human Capital Group offers Specialty Staffing, Contingent Workforce Solutions and Recruitment Process Outsourcing services to local, regional and national customers. Atterro’s experienced industry professionals utilize the latest research, recruiting technology and assessment tools to serve clients through its six specialty brands—Blue Edge RPO for Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Digital People for Creative, Interactive and Marketing, Hunter Hamilton for Finance and Accounting, Pro Staff for Administrative and Light Industrial, Technical ProSource for Information Technology, and Ware Technology Services for Engineering. Visit

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