WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange High School (WOHS) students participating in an innovative virtual business program will be teaming up with mentors of the West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC) and the Downtown West Orange Alliance (DWOA) this fall.

The Virtual Enterprises International (VEI) program will serve as a capstone course for a handful of juniors and seniors who have met certain business course requirements. The business simulation class and will give students an opportunity to run a virtual business, creating hands-on experience to use their knowledge.

"We have tremendously talented students at WOHS and a vibrant business community in West Orange,” said Nancy Mullin, Supervisor of Career Education and Library Science at WOHS, who will oversee the program. “We look forward to the merging of these entities, which will result in an extraordinary experience  for the WOHS students in the VEI course."

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The students will create a virtual business that functions like a real one—having a human resources department, marketing, accounting, information technology, sales and payroll, Mullin said.

The students will pair up with local business owners from the WOCC and the DWOA to receive mentorship and guidance from those who are active in the field. This partnership will allow the students to ask questions, think through problems and come up with solutions for the virtual business.

“The course will allow students to work collaboratively in an environment that resembles a company setting and participate in regional and international competitions with other virtual business in the VEI program,” Mullin said.

Mentors will attend a class or two a month at the high school as part of their commitment.

"We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with the high school,” said Jessica Marrone Parkes, executive director of the WOCC. “The West Orange Chamber has so many quality members. Nothing beats hands-on experience in my book, so these students are really going to graduate with an advantage. And what a rewarding experience for our members as well. I can't wait to announce the participating businesses."

Businesses involved in the the DWOA will also participate.

“I'm always amazed how the high school continues to roll out new programs that excite the students and our township,” said Megan Brill, executive director of the DWOA. “The Downtown Alliance is looking forward to partnering on this new initiative and I can't wait to see which one of our many businesses will be participating.”

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