Fashion merchandising and graphic design students tour factory; meet with employees

Students from the Warwick Area Career & Technical Center (WACTC), in conjunction with Rhode Junior Achievement, visited the Alex & Ani headquarters in Cranston, RI on February 16. The jewelry and accessory manufacturer, founded in 2004, allowed the students onto the factory floor and brought in speakers from a variety of departments to answer questions about their careers and the company.

“We started working on this last year,” said WACTC Fashion Merchandising and Management Instructor Julie A. D’Andrea. “And we spent a lot of time preparing for it, going through items Junior Achievement identified and our own Career Prep classes to discuss things like career clusters, career research and interview preparation.”

While at the factory, students met with representatives from Alex & Ani’s Human Resources, Information Technology, Operations and International Business departments. D’Andrea said one of the things that impressed students was the idea that successful people often change careers and continue to learn new skills.

WACTC principal Bill McCaffery said these kind of opportunities are important to students as they as they translate academic ideas into real world situations.

“Those experiences are so important,” he said. “They really bring home the ideas of professional behavior and skills in a way that can be challenging to explain in a classroom environment.”