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11/30/2001 - Class 101 Connects Youth to Business

When Class 101 Corporation fulfills its mission, Spokane will be a valedictorian city. This small, new Terabyte Triangle Company has positioned itself as an intermediary ---a middle link---between the educational community and the business community. They specialize in helping high school and college age students learn about real world business. While accomplishing this, Class 101 identifies business needs from the business community and helps position prospective young employees to fill these business needs. Phil Autrey and Michael Francisco, owners of Class 101, have learned that Spokane has a wealth of job opportunities available for local high school and college graduates.

Following state guidelines, Class 101 sets up internships for local students with local business. The partners carefully screen the students for ability, knowledge, and interest. They also interview the business in depth, learning what the business does, what it needs, and what is expects from an intern. Then they match the student and the business.

It is a co-operative process. Class 101 supervises the intern, works with the internís educational institution, and does the on-site supervision. Class 101 does all the paper work, and mediates should a problem arise.

Although Class 101 started with internships, they have expanded to a whole spectrum of work place education. They now do program development, facilitate guest lecturers, develop tools for teachers, and write grants to help pay for the costs and equipment needed for technical training. They will write grants on a contract, bid, or hourly basis. Class 101 also functions as a temporary employee agency.

One of Class 101 clients is the Excelsior Youth Center for disadvantaged youth. Class 101 found that the students at Excelsior received no technical training and took remedial action. Autrey wrote and received a grant for the support money. He and Francisco consulted on the equipment needed, and they now act as ongoing tech support and mentors for the students.

Class 101 has a contract with the Community Colleges of Spokane for program development for the new High Tech Academy located in the Holley Mason building. As part of the over all educational program, Class 101 has facilitated weekly guest lectures by representatives of local technology companies. With the help of these speakers, the students are learning how to assemble a professional portfolio, how to dress, and how to communicate. Finally, Class 101 will help find the students internship opportunities for real world experience. Upon graduation from the academy, the student will be ready to either continue on to college, or to take a responsible position in the business world.

Class 101 works with INTEC and is developing working relationships with the local colleges and universities. Autrey and Francisco believe having five local universities is a real economic development boon to the Spokane area. With the lead time usually required for a company to establish and set up a business in a new city, a whole battery of students can be trained to fulfill any staffing need.

Class 101 Corporation recently relocated into the Spokane Computer Building at 915 W 2nd Ave. To learn more about them, their URL is: http://www.class101.com. --- Billie Moreland

Billie Moreland
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