Niles New Tech Entrepreneurial Academy facilitator April Payne, right, listens to learner Makayla Williams, middle, during American Studies class Monday. Another learner, Alicia Boyce, is on the left. Daily Star photo/CRAIG HAUPERT

Archived Story

Why come to Niles?

Published 6:44pm Monday, November 7, 2011

Why would someone choose Niles as a place to live, raise a family or locate a business?

These were the questions learners at Niles New Tech Entrepreneurial Academy were tackling for a recent American Studies class project.

In groups of four, “learners” (students) were required to make a short video showcasing Niles as an ideal place to attract new industries.

Shelley Klug, of Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance, partnered with Niles New Tech for the project. In a letter, Klug commissioned each learner to create the video as if it were to be an advertisement for SMEGA’s new website.

“It is always a challenge to keep up with marketing and to produce fresh, creative materials to highlight our area,” Klug said. “The perspective the students bring will give us something to use now and to build onto in the future.”

Students obtained information for the project by contacting local business owners and asking them questions, such as why they chose Niles as a place to do business.

The students then created the video and presented it in class on Monday.

American Studies facilitator April Payne said there is a chance Klug could use one of the videos for the SMEGA website.

“That is the real world relevance of the project, instead of just an ambiguous project,” Payne said.

Students highlighted Niles’ proximity to major metropolitan areas such as Chicago, Detroit and Indianapolis as strengths. They also said Niles has great options for education, including the University of Notre Dame to the south.

“I never realized before that there were 14 colleges within a 60-mile radius,” learner Katelyn Mueller said. “It was a surprise to find that out.”

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