VANTAGE is Minnetonka High School’s advanced professional studies program. This program lets high school students get hands-on experience with real-world clients, solving real issues. Students solve authentic business problems through hands-on learning, project-based assignments, and working one-on-one with mentors in the community, all while fulfilling rigorous academic credit requirements. Students get to choose from 7 different areas of interest: Digital Journalism, Sustainability, Health Sciences, Business Analytics, UX Design, Global Business, and Marketing and Design.
The owner of the Device Pitstop of Maple Grove, Brad Swenson, has worked with area high school business and entrepreneurial programs for almost five years. “I thoroughly enjoy helping students get a real-world perspective and experience into areas of marketing, sales, customer service, strategy, business planning, and more.” said Brad. Programs like Vantage partner educators with local business leaders to help better prepare students for a professional career in business. “Businesses gain unique perspectives from this generation which represents a huge consumer base as well as a near-term employee pool. The Student, School, and Business all win through programs like Vantage”.
This year Brad is working with a team of four young women in 11th and 12th grade as they navigate the issue of sustainability and e-waste in regards to Brad’s business, buying and selling refurbished technology- MacBooks, Windows Laptops, iPhones, Tablets and more. E-Waste, or electronic waste, encompasses electrical and electronic equipment that’s outdated, unwanted, or broken. Everything from smartphones to end-of-life refrigerators is considered e-waste. The team, consisting of Madeline, Heily, Sydney and Olivia, created and distributed surveys and quizzes to older Millennial and Boomer demographics within the larger Minnesota, Twin Cities area. They expanded their understanding of marketing research techniques and were surprised by their findings. They asked questions like what type of advertisements do they click on or view, what social media platforms do they use, how important is sustainability to use, how often do you buy XYZ devices, do they buy second hand or used devices, and what would encourage you to recycle e-waste. While their data wasn’t what they had expected they learned how to better formulate questions for the future and how to piece together their findings to come up with a helpful solution. The four R’s of e-waste are reduce, reuse, recycle, and repair.
Stay tuned for part 2 of the girl’s VANTAGE project. Expect an inside perspective from the team itself, as they are tasked with creating a plan for the Device Pitstop of Maple Grove and Brad on how he can make his tech business more sustainable and eco-efficient. If you want to learn more about VANTAGE itself, check out https://www.minnetonkaschools.org/academics/mhs/vantage for more information.