Learning ‘On the Job’ with Virtual Enterprise

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Virtual Enterprise International, a required course in the high school’s new Business Academy, directly simulates the experience of creating a business from an idea, with students developing a business plan, opening a new virtual business and follow the product through production for eventual sales to other student firms in the Virtual Enterprise organization.

The Virtual Enterprise simulated business environment, facilitated by teacher Renee Clock, was made possible via office furniture donations from Tech Data. The VEI “employees” are involved in actual “on-the-job” work experiences, from purchasing, sales and marketing, to accounting and personnel.

The only difference between the VE and an actual business is that no material goods are produced or legal tender exchanged. However, services are provided, as the VE generates the documents and information needed to do business with other VE classes in New York City, other states and abroad. Students have the opportunity to work in one or more of the departments in the VE organization. In each department, students are expected to work individually and as a member of a team to fulfill the responsibilities and tasks associated with their department, including focusing on such career-ready skills as developing initiative, creativity and responsibility; improving teamwork; enhancing oral and written communication; budgeting and finance; and e-commerce and website design.

“The goal of the Virtual Enterprise experience is to weave together several academic disciplines and occupational subjects, thereby overcoming fragmentation of subjects,” said Clock. “By working in the VE, students will better understand how learning has relevance to real life. The goal is to create a learning environment that, through a series of activities, integrates school and work to enhance learning. In effect, the VE will drive the learning, the applications, and the educational experiences and opportunities. Through experiences in the VE, students will come to see that there exists an important connection between all disciplines.”

This inaugural VE class at Islip quickly developed their business idea, Tranquell Beverages, and were assigned to their respective departments, with Taylor Nink as CEO, Shannon Dolan as CFO, Katelyn Delaney as vice president of administration, Matt Marano, as head of human resources, Patrick Karwowski as office administrator, Kristin Maratta as accounts payable manager, Alexis Freudenburg as accounts receivable manager, Austin Harvey as benefit officer, William Baldwin in marketing and sales, Adrian Aarons in marketing, Benjamin Giuliani as research manager, Michael St. Lewis as sales manager, Joseph Geldmacher as sales associate, Anthony Weinum as web manager, and Alexa-Rae Galicia and Alexander Petry in graphics design.

Both of Islip’s new Academy programs – the Business and STEM Academies – have completed the Career and Technical Education endorsement application process. This endorsement will allow students graduating from the school’s Academies to receive a CTE designation on their high school diplomas.

Academy students Julia Hormann, Olivia Lorenz, Ryan Scheidel and Sean Skahan, along with administrators and teachers, recently had the opportunity to visit a local radio show and share their experiences with the new Academies that were introduced this year. The broadcast can be heard in two parts at SoundCloud links here and here.