Washington Business Week is a week-long summer camp where students can role-play as a business professional. Washington Business Week is headquartered in Renton. One of their three camps is located at Renton Technical College.
Students form a group and create a company that they develop throughout the week, and work on a real world problem to tackle.
Callie Gerber was in the program last year, and is now an ambassador for the program trying to get the word out to other high school students in Renton. She is a sophomore at Hazen High School.
At the camp, Gerber was in the health care route, and her group disease was childhood asthma. They developed a patch prototype that released Dyphylline, and an app that had a reward program for children using it.
At the end of the week, they went to a trade show, and their ideas were presented to real professionals in the area.
Gerber said her team received a lot of compliments on their design and idea.
She’s not sure what career she’s interested in, but she found herself surprisingly excited by the politics of the health profession. Each day they received a memo where they had to make management decisions, like picking an insurance plan. She enjoyed weighing the pros and cons, debating the best choice.
Being able to interact with real professionals and tackle public speaking were some of the standout results of the camp for Gerber.
She usually stutters and stresses out in front of a crowd, Gerber said, but at the camp she really pushed herself to volunteer to present her ideas on a stage.
But Gerber’s favorite part of Washington Business Week wasn’t work related.
“My favorite part of Washington Business Week is the lifelong friendships you make at the camp,” Gerber said. “You’re brought into a room where you don’t know anybody at all, and it’s awkward. Then you’re forced to talk to them. On the last day of camp it’s really hard to say goodbye.”
Right now Gerber collaborates with health and technology teachers at her school to promote Washington Business Week. She said Hazen has a lot of specific classes related to the professional world, and the career center, to help her get the word out.
Kevin Smith, career and technical education director for Renton schools, said Washington Business Week helps students test out their post-secondary plans.
“We want our students to continually narrow their plans, where at graduation, they are prepared for their first next step,” Smith said.
Gerber said she is still in contact with other students from her group, and they will “probably, most likely” be lifelong friends.
She said she heard about the program from a previous ambassador who had a booth at her cafeteria. The ambassador told her about receiving college credits from the camp and a potential scholarship opportunity.
Renton students get benefits with the program being nearby, including bus rides and promo codes from local ambassadors.