From a program designed to reward the students, the Packers Pro Shop was recently rewarded itself when it was named 'Co-Op Employer of the Year' by Green Bay's Preble High School, based upon letters submitted by a pair of Preble students who worked for the Pro Shop as part of their co-op marketing course.
In their letters to the judging panel, Preble students Katie Kaehler and Michael Dobbertin both stressed that in their tenure with the Pro Shop they acquired skills that went beyond retail, customer service and other job-related areas, resulting in an even more valuable experience.
"Not only was it a great educational place to work, not only did I learn important skills which I will carry with me forever, but the Pro Shop provided a kind of family, a support system that I know will always be there," Kaehler wrote. "I really felt a part of the whole system, not just some employee, and I will truly miss the Pro Shop when I go off to school this fall."
Wrote Dobbertin, "I've learned the value in punctuality, responsibility, honesty, endurance, confidence and above all else, kindness. One year ago I walked into the Packers Pro Shop just another high school student starting just another job. Now I can stand tall, grasping the principles I learned while employed at the Packers Pro Shop, and truly say I am a leader in the making."
And while the award is nice, Pro Shop coordinator Kate Hogan insisted the real reward is still in the testimony of their former student workers. This is the fourth year the Pro Shop has worked with Preble's co-op program -- it also works with Green Bay's Southwest High - and Hogan said that it continues to be a win-win arrangement.
"We get energetic, quality students who want to work, and they get a grade, plus a valuable bit of real world experience in a tremendous environment," Hogan said. "They learn leadership and customer service skills, but they are also included in the whole Packers organization, which is the last thing they expect when they come on board."
Likewise, an 'Employer of the Year' award was the last thing Hogan expected.
"I was excited and very surprised, but to make a difference in kids lives is what does it for me," she said. "Hopefully they come away with something that will help them when they go to college and prepare for the rest of their lives."
Both Preble students already have demonstrated as much. Kaehler was recently named the DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) 'Student of the Year', while Dobbertin was honored as Preble's 'Store Employee of the Year.'