Serving coffee to gain real-world experience

The goal of going to college is to graduate with a degree and ultimately get a job. Students at Goshen College have the opportunity to gain real-world experience through a student operated coffee shop while still in school.

It's called Java Junction and each semester a management staff along with baristas participate in what is actually a class called BUS360.

“Our professor, faculty adviser, she guides us but she does not say no so we might come up with an idea and she’ll say well you can but let me tell you about what happened in the past,” said Java Junction General Manager Bryan Palmer.

He has worked with the coffee shop for four years now.

Malaina Weldy is the Human Resources Manager for the semester and said this will help her with her post collegiate plans.

“I’m planning to go to law school so that’s my plan but I would love to work as a lawyer within a business someday so kind of getting to be able to combine both of those loves,” said Weldy.

Weldy said she works closely with baristas, does the scheduling, as well as evaluations which can sometimes be hectic.

“It definitely is a challenge. A lot of the baristas are my close friends, a lot of the managers as well so sometimes if something pops up you don’t want to go there or make them feel like they’re not doing a good job. It’s great to tell your peers when they’re doing a good job,” she added.

The group has a faculty adviser they work closely with throughout the semester.

“We meet a couple times a week in a classroom setting so we go over the financial statements each week, we do analysis to see what works what didn’t, we’re involved with the baristas, we had a problem with our fridge a couple weeks ago so we had to fix that,” Weldy said.

They have to problem solve and figure out what works and what does not.

“I spend a lot of time looking at sales data. What drinks are selling well what drinks are not selling quite so well,” said Brian Sutter, the Analysis Manager.

He said being a manager you have a lot of responsibility. There are 10 baristas and six managers.

“One of the big jobs of a manager is to write down all of that knowledge I gain from this semester and leave that for the next management team,” Sutter added.

It is the real-world experience these students hope will carry over into their post-collegiate plans.

“Real coffee, real money,” Palmer described it.

Palmer said this is the only program like it in the area.

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