Entrepreneurial Students Visit American Reading Company for Business Building Insight

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Memphis Street Academy’s eighth-grade students took a bus ride a short distance from their Philadelphia charter school to King of Prussia to visit American Reading Company (ARC). There, the students were able to see every part of how the business runs—from the CEO and President to the Warehouse, Finance, and IT Departments, the employee day care, and even the various employees’ dogs.

Jesse Hileman, American Reading Company's Account Manager for Philadelphia, invited the Entrepreneurial eighth grade students from Memphis Street Academy to visit the company headquarters when he learned about the group’s current project—creating apps for their own business.

“These tours give me awesome knowledge and better understanding about business,” said student Hoang. “The tour explained that business is not just one step, but it takes multiple steps and requires cooperation. Mr. Hileman and his co-workers explaining about their field showed me how important [the business skills class] is and how it applies to reality. Now I feel more confident about my business app and know what is best for my app.”

“The whole bus ride home, they were discussing the different jobs they had seen and how the skills for success in those jobs related to both the businesses they are creating for the class and to careers they hope to have in real life,” shared Computer Science teacher Cathy Costello.

“American Reading Company being an entrepreneurial business gave me a deeper look into what it takes to start out a business and how big of a company it can grow into,” said student Mercedes.

Part of the visit included a tour of the 6-acre warehouse of 10 million books that are part of the independent reading system that Memphis Street Academy uses. One student described it as “paradise in my eyes.” Here they learned about the summer employment opportunities for teens.

Each summer, ARC collaborates with various community groups to employ local high school and college students and provide them coaching to build both workplace and academic skills. While these students do all kinds of jobs from warehouse work to graphic design to finance data, there is one part of their workday that is a non-negotiable: 15 minutes of reading. Students read and review books at all levels and on a variety of topics, voting on the books they believe should and should not be included in ARC’s classroom libraries.

“I hope I will have a chance to work alongside you guys after I get my working papers!” student Emily said.

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Traci Dibble
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