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JA Program teaches students business skills


Students participating in the program attended a full-day orientation program with Aramark in the Texans' retail department before the season began.

The conclusion of the Texans' season also marks the successful end of the team's inaugural Junior Achievement (JA) Business of Sports program. Thirty-five juniors and seniors from Houston high schools who participate in JA were selected for the program, which offers hands-on experience working with a professional sports team.

Before the season began, the students attended a full-day orientation program with Aramark in the Texans' retail department. They then had the opportunity to work in the retail store or at a retail merchandise location on the concourse during four Texans home games in the 2008 season.

Students learned the basics of merchandising, inventory and customer service while working alongside retail managers and learning the fundamentals of running a large-scale retail operation.

"It gives the students an opportunity to see a different side of professional sports than what is seen on the field," said Diane Crossey, the Texans' director of event services. "The students who participate in the program gain a greater understanding of running a business and receive valuable training in customer service and sales."

At the conclusion of the program, the students will participate in a career day with members of the Texans' front office. Executives will have lunch with the students, talk to them about their careers and provide them with guidance on starting a career with a professional sports team.

"Having an understanding of business principles and gaining experience in running a business will give these students an edge over other candidates for future positions," Crossey said. "All students who complete the program satisfactorily are also eligible for future positions with Aramark, one of the largest sports and entertainment companies in the world."

JA Worldwide is the world's largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. The Texans hold its regional branch in high esteem.

"We have a great partnership with Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas and appreciate all of the opportunities they provide for students in and around Houston," Crossey said. "We were pleased to be able to provide just one more opportunity to enrich the business education for their students."

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