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Staples Answers Governor Engler's Call; Employees Roll Up Sleeves to Assist Region's Schools
DETROIT--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 11, 1999-- The partnership between Staples and Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan is now in full swing as 50 high school classes participating in the program will come to session by next week. In line with Governor John Engler's comments about education last month, Staples' stores, its associates and some of its small business customers have teamed up with Junior Achievement. The Staples/JA partnership will match 14 participating Staples retail stores with local high schools, and will afford students a unique chance to get a first-hand look at how a retail operation works when each class of students visits their mentor Staples store.

"My number one priority as Governor is that young people from Michigan ... are prepared to go directly into the workforce ... or become entrepreneurs who will build the new businesses of the next century," said Engler at the Detroit Economic Club luncheon on February 8. Engler stressed that companies can provide more than just financial support to aid in the educational and job training process, by serving the role of a mentor. "I think what Staples announced today ... is very good."

"The entrepreneurial spirit represented by this JA curriculum is something I encourage within Staples and what we want to foster in the communities in which we do business," said Staples' Chairman and CEO, Tom Stemberg, who announced the program at the luncheon.

The JA Connections curriculum, taught by community volunteers, is designed to give high school freshmen and sophomores interpersonal skills necessary to succeed in the workplace. In addition to funding the JA Connections classes, Staples has recruited 30 classroom volunteers, including its area store general managers and regional district managers. Staples is also proud to partner with its local small-business customers such as J. deKoven Phelps, managing consultant of 2Innovative Internet consultants of Ypsilanti, Mich., and Les Alexander of T/J Technologies of Ann Arbor, Mich., who will be volunteering in JA Connections classes this semester.

Bill Laimbeer, Jr., retired Detroit Piston star, will serve as program spokesman, and will address some of the class sessions to be held in Staples stores. "As a Michigan employer, I know how important it is for high school students to have this type of training before they enter the workplace."

In addition to the eight-week-long series of classes in each school, all JA Connections class-rooms will be invited to participate in field trips to local Staples stores. Laimbeer, a successful business owner himself, will address the students at the Rochester Hills and Farmington Hills superstores. The students will learn retailing, interpersonal skills, employee relations and marketing in their classes and these field trips will reinforce those lessons.

The 50 Connections classes will be partnered with 14 Staples stores in the following communities:

Ann Arbor Staples                   Willow Run High
                                    Saline High
Brighton Staples                    Brighton High
Chesterfield Township Staples       Mount Clemens High
Clawson Staples                     Clawson High
Commerce Township Staples           Walled Lake Central
Dearborn Staples                    Dearborn High School
Farmington Hills Staples            Southfield Lathrup
                                    Harrison High
Grosse Pointe Staples               Grosse Pointe South High
Monroe Staples                      Monroe High School
Rochester Hills Staples             Rochester Hills
                                    Bloomfield Hills Alternative
Roseville Staples                   Roseville High
Sterling Heights Staples            Stevenson High
Taylor Staples                      Truman High
Westland Staples                    John Glenn High

Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan trains volunteers and provides them with classroom materials and lesson plans to teach business, economics and life-skills lessons to 3,000 Kindergarten through 12th grade classes throughout the ten-county area each school year. Nationally, JA reached more than 3.1 million students last school year and another one million in 103 other countries.

Staples operates 30 superstores in Michigan, including the Farmington Hills store which was the first to open in southeastern Michigan in 1995, and is an active participant in business and education in those communities.

Staples, Inc. is a $7 billion retailer of office supplies, furniture and technology to consumers and business, from home-based businesses to Fortune 50 companies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. Headquartered outside Boston, Staples invented the office superstore concept and today is the largest operator of office superstores in the world. The company has more than 37,000 employees serving customers through more than 915 office superstores, mail order catalogs, an e-commerce site and contract business. More information about the company can be found at

     CONTACT: Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan 
              Christine Long, 313-962-0592
              Staples Public Relations
              Christina Erridge, 508-424-7375