High school students hone business skills in Action Corner
Posted on 05/27/2015

Students in McMinnville High School’s Marketing Career Pathway have a unique opportunity for hands-on experience in the school’s Action Corner. The school-based stores give students a chance to learn real-life skills like marketing, inventory control, employee management and clothing design, among other things. The experience has shaped future plans for several of the students who work there.

“My mind was set on being an entrepreneur,” said sophomore Brianna Garcia, who is the youngest student in the program. “Then I decided I wanted to own my own business, like a cupcake business or interior design. But now I’m interested in marketing management.

“This Pathway is different, I think, because it’s self-motivated,” she said. “It’s about what you think needs to be done, it’s not set out, step-by-step, by a teacher.”

To illustrate, she explained how she and junior Marquis Ortiz were working on an end-the-year improvement plan to devise a better system for processing bagel orders and packaging cookies. “It’s what we think could be better,” she said. “No one is telling us what we should do.”

Ortiz takes charge of the mobile cookie cart and sometimes has to deal with requests to buy one cookie, instead of the usual packaged two. “But we always sell out,” he says. “We actually make a pretty good profit on them.”

Sharing profit is one of the motivating factors of the Action Corner said senior Cervando Medina. Medina is one of the store managers responsible for tracking sales and revenue.

Learning to analyze numbers led him to leave his weekend job at the Nike Outlet in Woodburn and take a job working for his father. “I did a cost-benefit analysis of working there on weekends,” he said. “With gas costs, it made a big difference.

“I would never have done [the analysis] without the business classes,” he said. Medina plans to attend the University of Oregon and major in Business Administration.

Another senior who expects to use his Action Corner experience after high school is Adam Israel, who plans to major in Business at Oregon State University. Israel started out in Culinary Arts and later joined the Marketing Pathway as well because he wants to open a restaurant someday.

“I noticed a lot of people only focus on the culinary aspect,” he said, also noting the high rate of restaurant failures. “But I wanted to learn the business aspect of running a restaurant, too.”

Israel also sees an immediate benefit to his experience in the Action Corner. “I’ve learned about customer service,” he said, noting his summer job in the pro shop at the Michelbook Country Club requires him to work with members. “I think it’s actually easier to handle the customers at the golf course,” he said. “High school students expect everything to be perfect, and it isn’t always like that.”