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El Paso County Colorado District 49

Businesses work with FHS high finance academy

Local business people are working with teachers and students from Falcon High School’s finance academy on developing business and leadership skills that will give them a leg up after graduation. To accomplish the goals, an advisory board of business people in finance and information technology is building the curriculum and establishing classes relevant to the outside business world.Alex McIntire, FHS teacher, and Kathleen Saltmarsh Voss, community specialist for Intellitec Medical Institute, teamed up to help the advisory board create more opportunities for students and business people to interact in the community and schools. ìThis board is absolutely classroom involved,î Saltmarsh Voss said. ìTeachers wanted to find out what workplace skills are lacking that they need to be working on.îìThe board is mandated under the rules of the academy,î McIntire said. ìAnyone (high school) having career and technical education classes must have two meetings a year in order to strengthen the courses and give back to the community.î The board meetings are also a way to find what topics the community members can speak about as guests in the classroom, he said.ìI really want to have a mentor program with the advisory council members,î Saltmarsh Voss said. ìWe can bring in business people who prefer to be a mentor rather than host an internship program.î The district’s CyberPatriot program has a similar program in which professionals in the IT industry meet after school with students interested in the field.McIntire said the board has been helpful by encouraging members to volunteer as guest judges for extracurricular competitions. Other financial and supply needs are being met by the group too. ìThe school needs 40 to 60 computers that can run the Microsoft Office suite, and the board is helping us find those,î Saltmarsh Voss said. ìAlso, 16 of our students qualified to go to the state competitions for DECA (an association of marketing students) but it’s expensive.î The 31 people who have agreed to be part of the council are helping to discover donation and fundraising opportunities for the students, she said.ìYou can’t build a good advisory council with people who just sit there,î Saltmarsh Voss said. ìI want to make sure every person in the council has opportunities to really make a difference. I’m really excited to still be a part of it.î

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