JANESVILLE, Wis. — Students are working on projects for local businesses through the Janesville Business Hub.

What You Need To Know

  • The Janesville Business Hub is a partnership between the school district and Forward Janesville

  • Students work on projects and provide professional services to businesses

  • Businesses get outside-the-box ideas from the students
  • It can help prepare students for careers or college

The program is a partnership between Janesville Global Academy, formerly known as Elevate, and Forward Janesville. Elevate is not new, but their new space at 1 Parker Place is.

Students come to the new space during the school day. They work on real projects for real businesses, like SSM Health and the Beloit Sky Carp.

“The work that they do in the program is about working with real-world businesses out in the community, and working on projects that meet real-world deliverables for those companies,” said Shawn Kane, assistant principal of Craig High School.

One set of students is working with the Janesville Business Improvement District (BID). They created a survey for BID to take the pulse of downtown.

“New technology always seems to be easier for the next generation,” said Matt Kealy, chair of the Downtown Business District. “We’re focused on running our businesses. It does allow us to use them as a resource.”

Kathleen Kennedy came to speak to the students on her winter break from Miami University. She’s studying marketing and business administration after going through the program when it was named Elevate.

“Public speaking has gotten so much easier for me,” she said. “I used to get so nervous, and fidget all the time. Now, it just comes easily and naturally.”

Many of the students said they want careers in business. Other are simply just exploring. Caleb Wier said he wants to be a nurse, but he’s gotten a lot out of the program.

“To have that ability to present is very valuable,” Wier said. “[To] make good presentations and put out good work, especially in the business setting where it’s not just Google Slides for a random class at Craig.”

Oakleigh Ryan was the former chair of Forward Janesville. She said bringing businesses and students together is invaluable.

“I could spend thousands of dollars as a business owner on projects that they’re helping us with,” Ryan said. “If you are a small business, or not-for-profit, and budget is tight, they’re a godsend.”

In the future, the Business Hub space will be a meeting and coworking space for emerging Janesville businesses.