Austin-East Magnet High School students welcomed several Knoxville professionals last week for a dialogue on future career opportunities. The two-hour workshop was sponsored by Austin-East’s unique Culinary Arts Program, led by instructor Joslyn Johnson.
Among the professionals were Terrence Carter, Director of Economic and Business Development for the Knoxville Urban League; Jason Andrews, entrepreneur and owner of Meatball Madness & More food truck; and Patricia Robledo, Business Liaison for the City of Knoxville.
The workshop aimed at connecting students with the tools needed to become a successful business owner. The invited leaders encouraged attendees to further their education after high school, whether it be vocational school or a four-year university.
Robledo in particular emphasized the dedication required to be a successful businessperson.
“Being the owner of a small business consists of more than having a passion," she told the students. "Often times, you have to wear many hats, so to speak, such as being the accountant, manager, marketing director and the human resources director all at once. It takes preparation, determination and skill. It’s important to be honest about your own strengths and weaknesses and seek help when needed.”
The presenters also introduced the students to the many resources available to business professionals in the area, such as the Tennessee Small Business Center, the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, and the City of Knoxville's Office of Business Support.
Additionally, Austin-East, along with Fulton High School, is implementing a Young Entrepreneurial Program for students aspiring to start up a new business.
Plans are underway to make the professional seminar happen every semester.
- Communications intern Tucker Hyde