High school juniors learn lessons in business

Weirton Chamber holds its high school business symposium

LESSONS LEARNED — Approximately 120 high school juniors from seven area high schools participated, Wednesday, in the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Dr. Barbara A. Matey High School Business Symposium. The event provided the students with lessons in budgeting, marketing and job interview skills through discussions with area business representatives. -- Craig Howell

WEIRTON — It was a lesson in business, Wednesday, for approximately 120 local high school juniors, as the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce presented its annual Dr. Barbara A. Matey High School Business Symposium.

“You’re going to learn a lot today,” chamber President Brenda Mull said while addressing the students, representing Brooke, Madonna, Oak Glen, Steubenville Catholic Central, Steubenville and Weir high schools and the Tri-State Christian Academy.

The event is held each year, organized by the chamber with support through a grant from ArcelorMittal.

Additional sponsorships were provided by Dee-Jays BBQ Ribs and Grille; First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union; Franciscan University of Steubenville; Gus’s Goodies; Hancock County Savings Bank; James White Construction; Madonna High School; Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort; R.E. Saxon Jeweler; Tudor’s Biscuit World and Weirton Geriatric Center.

Throughout the day, participating students heard from representatives of the local business community, with discussions and demonstrations focusing on the areas of marketing, budgeting, completing a successful job interview and product development and testing.

Carole Scheerbaum, of the WVU Extension Office in Hancock County, headlined the budget session, with each student assigned a job representing a variety of industries, along with a typical salary from those jobs. They then were provided with a listing of expenses and were tasked with figuring out a monthly budget based on their provided information.

“We just re-did all of the numbers,” Scheerbaum noting, explaining the goal is to provide students with a better idea of what they may face once they get out on their own.

Jobs included areas such as fast food, retail, medical and some industrial-related positions, with Scheerbaum telling the students of the importance of some education after high school no matter what job they may want.

Keith Murdock, of Eastern Gateway Community College, discussed the importance of branding and marketing for a business, showcasing several well-known logos as examples.

“That first impression someone gets of your company is of the utmost importance,” Murdock explained.

Murdock also described what he called the “Five P’s of Marketing,” Product, Placement, Price, Promotion and People, and the role each plays in selling an item or company.

A history of marketing techniques also was discussed, including the best ways to reach an audience through media and today’s digital technology.

Students also were provided with a demonstration on good and bad job interview techniques, provided by Brad Degenkolb and Brandy Wenner from the Holiday Inn, and Joann Babela from the chamber.

Degenkolb also advised students to do their research on any job they may seek and the company offering it.

“If this is a position you want, learn about the business,” he said. “You want to know who you’re working for and if it’s a good fit.”

Issues with social media in job interviews also were raised, with Degenkolb advising that businesses often look at an applicant’s social media presence as a type of background check.

The symposium is named in honor of the late Barbara A. Matey, who had chaired the chamber’s Education Committee, helping to plan the symposium and leadership programs. She worked as vice president of human resources at Hancock County Savings Bank, and coordinated the bank’s partners in education programs.

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