Central Career and Technical School has a plan to make money by literally creating something out of nothing.
On April 10th, Central Tech plans on launching a company dubbed Pallets to Profits. The company’s objective will be to manufacture wooden products such as house signs, planters, and stepping stools out of shipping pallets donated from local businesses.
In addition to the pallet program, the company will also produce metal products from scrap and donated steel.
The unique business model developed for the Pallets to Profits Company is twofold in design. Not only will the raw materials needed for overhead be acquired on a donation basis, but labor will be pooled from students enrolled in various shop classes offered by the school. The hope is that with operating costs minimized, Pallets to Profits will be quite lucrative.
In conjunction with good financial yields, the hope of instructors at Central Tech is that the program will move students from classroom theory into actual manufacturing experience. This change will help find jobs for the students faster after they graduate because their knowledge base will be bolstered by hands-on understanding of production processes.
Mat Pundt, the director of career and technical education in the Erie School District shared his enthusiasm for the program. For him, the business would serve three major purposes. He summarized those as follows:
- Exposure to entrepreneurship and experience in manufactured goods.
- Repurposes unwanted materials like lumber and metal through donations – an environmentally friendly practice that would save the district money in supplies.
- Central Tech programs would become self-sufficient by funneling in profit from sales with almost no foreseeable overhead.
Because Pallets to Profits would be a full-fledged business, there were several considerations to make before mass production could begin. The students were tasked with researching product design & building prototypes, creating product sales pitches, and conducting market research by interviewing local consumers.