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Westside, Nebraska Furniture Mart Announce Partnership

Posted December 7, 2017

Westside Community Schools, the Westside Foundation, and Nebraska Furniture Mart are delighted to announce a new partnership to create the Nebraska Furniture Mart School of Entrepreneurial Thinking at Westside High School. Nebraska Furniture Mart will invest $150,000 into a 2-year pilot fully immersing students into the business world to learn entrepreneurial skills, leadership, critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and corporate insight as they prepare for future careers.

Beginning in January, select Westside High business students will begin work on projects directly impacting and benefiting Nebraska Furniture Mart. This innovative program will allow students to problem-solve, think critically, and learn flexibility and teamwork from one of America’s most successful retailers. Nebraska Furniture Mart hopes to create local learning opportunities for Omaha students, as well as provide jobs and keep that talent in the metro.

“This is a win-win for all,” said Ryan Blumkin, vice president. “For Westside High School, for Nebraska Furniture Mart, and for the community. Mrs. B, our founder, was a true entrepreneur. Many of her philosophies are instilled in our culture and are still alive and well after 80 years; we are thrilled to be able to share these philosophies with Westside students. We are also excited to learn and hear ideas for how to improve our business from Westside students. We at Nebraska Furniture Mart commend Westside for creating such a unique platform of entrepreneurial thinking. We hope our investment will encourage other companies to get involved as well.”

Westside High School’s award-winning DECA program will continue to work with local businesses such as Dunkin’ Donuts, DLR Group, and Planet Sub. These community partnerships have allowed our students firsthand knowledge and experience, while simultaneously providing companies with fresh ideas and insight into a key demographic. Students also operate a school-based store, the Colosseum, which netted a profit during its first school year as a stand-alone operation in 2016-2017. WHS business teacher Jeanette Kleppinger will oversee the new pilot program, and her position will carry Nebraska Furniture Mart’s name: Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) Community Teacher of Entrepreneurial Thinking.

“We have long been considered a lighthouse in education,” said Superintendent Dr. Blane McCann. “This is another opportunity to do that. Our goal has always been and will continue to be to strive to put our students in real-life business situations that benefit both the students’ future and our great community. The Omaha business community is second to none, and we need to create unique partnership opportunities for economic growth that will increase success in our community’s future. We want our students to be mentored by some of the best in the business, to develop relationships and to keep our hometown talent here in Omaha.”

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