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Ignite Tour: Giving Students Real-World Opportunities


Ignite Professional Studies Bentonville Facility

Ignite Professional Studies, located in Bentonville, Arkansas, is making huge moves in the education world. By connecting regional businesses, non-profits, and industry professionals with students, Ignite is providing real-world experiences at an age when it matters most. These students are gaining valuable professional skills and knowledge to jumpstart their growth in our ever-changing economy. Thanks to our client, Mrs. Maud King, we were able to learn all about the program in order to share it with you!


What is the Ignite program?

Ignite Professional Studies Program Bentonville

It’s a way for students to get real-world experience and college-level knowledge in an industry they’re interested in. Ignite Professional Studies currently has 10 career strands, including:

  • Aviation – Air Mobility

  • Construction Management

  • Culinary Arts

  • Digital Media

  • Education Innovation

  • Global Business

  • Health Sciences

  • Industrial Design

  • Technology

  • Visual Design & Branding

We spent most of our time with Maud learning about the Global Business strand of Ignite, and we got to see all the innovative activities they are providing to students with the help of regional businesses, non-profits, industry professionals and Northwest Arkansas Community College. Ignite’s Global Business program was started by Jessica Imel, who had the vision to ask local businesses for the 10th item on their to do list to create projects for students based off these real-world items. She was able to spark the creation of a network of business partners and internship experiences for their students.


Speaking of internship experiences, one of Ignite’s students, John Verkamp now interns with us at Lighthouse Financial. Our firm isn’t his first opportunity to work hands-on, though, as he shared with us all about a project with House of Webster Jams & Jellies, where a group of students worked to redesign their products and marketing strategy, formulate ideas, and present their work to the company. This immersive experience is just one example of the work students can be exposed to in their industry of interest.


Between, projects, mentorship, and relationships, John shared with us that his “favorite part of the program is hosting guest speakers like entrepreneurs, business leaders, and other individuals like that who come and teach [them] what it’s like from someone who has been successful in the industry.”


Not only are students getting exposure to people and projects like these, but they’re also getting credit for the college-level classes they’re taking through the program. On top of college credit, some strands of Ignite Professional Studies are providing certifications, such as Certified Nurse Assistant for Health Science students. To learn more about each career strand within Ignite, visit www.bentonvillek12.org/o/ignite/page/career-strands.


Ignite Professional Studies Global Business Podcast Room Bentonville

As we finished up the tour, Maud showed us some of Ignite’s media equipment, the photography studio, medical devices, robotics, and more. This way of teaching is advanced and out of the normal standards our current students are held to. With a traditional classroom, Maud mentioned that “students didn’t get to touch these things. They talked about them. They got to see them in pictures. They didn’t get to take them and use them. It’s a true hands-on experience.” It’s profession-based learning, which is what Ignite Professional Studies is here to accomplish.


Overall, the Ignite program is doing great new things for young individuals who are figuring out their future careers and passions.

Ignite Professional Studies Bentonville Culinary strand, global business strand, medical strand

For students interested in applying for the program, keep checking www.bentonvillek12.org/o/ignite for information about the opening of applications for the 2024-2025 school year.


How can you help?

Ignite Professional Studies is always looking for assistance from regional businesses and industry professionals for mentorship! Ask about taking a tour of the facility or becoming a community partner. Reach out to their Director, Teresa Hudson, at Thudson@bentonvillek12.org to inquire.


Lighthouse Financial wants to give a special thank you to Ignite for allowing us to tour this amazing facility!


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