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Jersey County brings entrepreneurship program to high school students

JERSEYVILLE — Jersey County CEO is proud to join a network of 51 total CEO communities across the United States who have partnered with Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship to bring the entrepreneurial program, CEO, to their community. This program will be open to Jersey Community High School students in the 2019-2020 school year.

The Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) Program is a proven learning model that creates a world class learning environment for our high school students through interactive, real-life learning in local businesses throughout the community. Students who enroll on the course will write their own business plans and start their own businesses, all with mentoring and support from the local business community.

The end result is a group of out-of-the-box thinkers who have experienced first-hand the opportunities in Jersey County, have cultivated skills that will allow them to contribute better to the workforce, and are prepared to participate in future local business growth.

In short, workforce development, economic development, and talent retention are the outcome of this program. But the most important part is that the kids get to see first-hand what the community has to offer.

Our local business leaders and the administrators of Jersey Community High School partnered with the Jersey County Business Association and the Community 100 Foundation over the past year to effectively launch the CEO Program. Early adopters of the program initiated key conversations with community members, business leaders, and JCHS staff to begin the program before formally handing over to the CEO Advisory Board, which now oversees the operation of the program. This board is led by chairman Christopher Simon who serves as President/CEO of the Bank of Calhoun.

Other CEO Advisory Board members include: Julie Brangenberg, Julie Pohlman, Beth Bear, Sharon Cameron, Bob Manns, Brad Tuttle, Corey Breden, Kim Davis, Mindy Woelfel, and Beth King.

The initial $25,000 fee to implement the program was made possible by a number of inaugural investors and 35-50 additional community investors will be needed to make the continuation of this program a reality for many years to come. These investments will fund the operational budget, which is lean and focused on local program impact. It will primarily be dedicated to funding the new job that has been created for the future facilitator of the program. The facilitator will work daily with the CEO students and local businesses to create the CEO learning environment.

Jersey County CEO is grateful for our community’s support and enthusiasm as we take our first step toward growing as an entrepreneurial generation. Our success in initiating the program has been made possible through the efforts of this community, and your continued participation will ensure its future success. A target list of over 50 local businesses has been established, and a CEO Board member will be knocking on those doors soon to discuss donations as well as hosting classes.

If you are interested in applying for the program, in learning more about the facilitator position, or in becoming a stakeholder/investor, please visit www.jerseycountyceo.com.

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