Empowering the next generation of business leaders: An innovative partnership between ASU Prep Global and Peoria’s MET Professional Academy

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The world is evolving at an ever-increasing pace with career industries and roles being redefined seemingly overnight. It’s just one reason why Peoria Unified School District (PUSD)’s MET Professional Academy supports students who are interested in the fields surrounding Medical, Engineering, Technology, Entrepreneurship and Bioscience. They truly understand the significance of innovative education focusing on career readiness in such an ever-changing landscape.

In a groundbreaking partnership, ASU Prep Global and PUSD’s MET Professional Academy are collaborating with the City of Peoria and Edson Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute at ASU, to set up students for success while still in high school. The innovative partnership equips students with essential skills, not just for their first job, but for a lifelong career in high-demand STEM fields.

ASU Prep Global Business course

Students participating in the program take a Global Business course through ASU Prep Global, giving them a solid foundation in Global Commerce, International Finance, Regional Integration, Trade Relations, Legal Agreements, Cultural Influences, Global Organization, and Global Logistics.

MET Teacher Nicole Nitschke and ASU Professional Learning Advisor Michelle Gilbert oversee the program onsite several days a week, meeting with students on client-based projects and internships and arranging guest speakers. Mary O’Malley, the ASU Prep Digital Community Partnerships Manager explains that Ms. Gilbert is perfect for the role: “She has a teaching and school administration background, has been a small business owner herself, and is a Peoria resident. She’s the perfect trifecta.”

Treating students like working professionals, the partnership immerses students in a professional culture providing them with industry-standard tools, mentorship from experts and tailored business experiences.

Client-based projects & site visits

In addition to coursework, students participate in client-based projects with local businesses, as well as tailored site visits. Under the mentorship of entrepreneur Eric Nilsson, students choose projects they are interested in and then interview for positions. After a selection process, they are grouped into teams with an assigned student leader responsible for managing the scope of the project. These teams meet weekly, utilizing project management tools and receiving guidance from business owners.

Teams have pitched marketing proposals to the owner of AZ Ice, developed new menu items for Jupiter Wings, and worked on brand awareness for PLS Farm and the Aspiring Youth Academy. For Socialyfe, they provided valuable research and feedback on the design of a social media app. And for Bausch and Lomb, they gained experience in product promotion. Students also benefited from business site visits to corporations like REI and Vanguard.

At the end of the semester, all students present their project results to business partners, judges, MET Academy students, teachers, administrators, and families. These experiences provide real-world application of the knowledge and skills learned and valuable connections and mentorship from successful entrepreneurs. As an added benefit, 100% of the students in the program earned an A or B in their semester coursework, with nearly 80% earning an A.

Ms. Gilbert explains these multifaceted projects are a unique hands-on experience for students “to learn valuable skills in project management, marketing, research, and presentation.” Ms. O’Malley agrees, saying it’s through these hyper-local business experiences that “the learning really comes to life.”

ASU Entrepreneurship Co-lab

The program also includes the ASU Entrepreneurship Co-lab which provides personalized guidance and support for students pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams. Sessions throughout the year are focused on developing students’ entrepreneurial skills and knowledge, and offer the opportunity to compete for funding of up to $10,000 for their own business ventures.

Prep for college, careers, and life

ASU Prep Global and PUSD’s MET Professional Academy partnership in global business and entrepreneurship offers unique opportunities and resources for business-minded students with an entrepreneurial spirit. With an innovative approach to learning, personalized mentorship, and opportunities for real-world experience, the program is paving the way for students’ career readiness in high-demand STEM fields.

ASU Prep Global is passionate about our commitment to successfully prepare students for college, careers, and life. Visit our website to learn more.