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GISBA prepares high school students with an interest in business

by jmaloni
Mon, Jul 21st 2014 04:05 pm

by Allison Deutschman

In an age focused on social media and the iPhone craze, millennials are losing touch with good old-fashioned hard work. Technology has made it too easy for this generation to forget about the labor involved in running a successful business, regardless of the industry.

The Grand Island School and Business Alliance has been active for more than 20 years, introducing high school students to an environment that requires hard work for success.

Students can choose to compete in the organization's Corporate Bowl, shadow local employers and personnel, partake in mock job interviews, and hear community speakers made possible by GISBA, so that these young participants are better prepared for the working world.

Kathryn Turner, a 2012 Grand Island Senior High School graduate and GISBA board member alum, speaks highly of her experiences involving the school and business alliance.

"During my high school career, having the opportunity to be a student board member of GISBA as well as partake in the events coordinated by GISBA provided me with fantastic experience and valuable knowledge," Turner said. "Being a student board member allowed me to see firsthand how local business professionals and members of the school board were coming together to increase the opportunities and scholarships offered for students."

Many local industries benefit from GISBA's involvement at Grand Island High School, too.

The networking encourages important business relationships in the future.

GISBA can mold the work ethic and skills of participating students so that they are assets in their future endeavors.

Co-founder and active GISBA member, Tony Brindisi, director of sales and marketing at The Keller Group in Niagara Falls, has witnessed the success of the children and the organization in action.

"Even my business, the insurance department. We ended up hiring students to work here." Brindisi said. "We had telemarketing programs and some of them worked all the way from college."

When GISBA began incorporating mock interviews and shadow days in the early 1990s, it never dreamed of students actually becoming employed by the companies, but some were. Others were given the encouragement needed to set career goals later on in life.

Just one day of shadowing at Cannon Design provided Turner with insight on the teamwork that is necessary for a successful business atmosphere.

Her experience with GISBA also encouraged her involvement in the Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization at Canisius College, where she currently attends as a junior.

Grand Island High School students may be better prepared for the business world than we imagined, thanks to the organizations like GISBA, that are cultivating today's youth.

GISBA must function as the link between education and commerce to give students exposure to an effective business environment.

Paul Krull, Grand Island board member, has been involved with GISBA for four years. He encourages the community to become involved in GISBA's fundraising efforts this summer, so that the program can continue to thrive. For $100, one can participate in the upcoming GISBA Golf Tournament, July 22, beginning with lunch at 11:30 a.m. to noon, at River Oaks Golf Club. The fee includes 18 holes of golf and a cart. For $35, the general public is invited to come for dinner. There will be a prize raffle made up of donations from local businesses.

For more family fun entertainment, residents may purchase Buffalo Bison AAA baseball vouchers sponsored by GISBA and available at the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce office, KeyBank, M&T Bank and the school district office.

Tickets are $10, providing savings over retail sales, dependent on whether one chooses to attend a weekday or weekend game.

Plus, $3.50 of every voucher purchased at the above locations is donated back to GISBA.

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