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County CEO program enables students to start own businesses

SHELBYVILLE— Efforts are underway to introduce the most effective and cost efficient approach to long-term economic development in Shelby County – by equipping our youth with real life business skills.

Midland Institute’s critically acclaimed CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) Program is a year-long accredited high school course designed to teach students how to conceptualize, start and run a small business.

CEO is a partnership between businesses and students. Classes are not held in the school, rather they are held at area businesses. CEO can be supported by those who donate money, mentor students, provide a meeting space, open their businesses for tours or speak to the class. In all senses it is community-based program that will equip students with the skills they need to start businesses in their homeotwn, work, and raise families.

Local government, schools and businesses say they believe a local CEO program for Shelby County would benefit our economy well into the future.

“I grew up in a small town and was one of the many that couldn’t wait to get out. Most of that had to do with the lack of opportunity and outreach the local community provided. CEO is the type of program that increases the chances that my children can find a niche or opportunity that would enable them to make a great living right here in Shelbyville,” says Jeremy Jokisch, of State Farm Insurance.

A Happy Hour meeting will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the Lake Shelbyville Visitor’s Center to provide information and generate support for this educational opportunity, which is targeted to start in the fall semester of 2017. Parents, students, business owners, and educators are encouraged to attend. Midland Institute Interim Executive Director Cheryl Mitchell will discuss various aspects of the program and share success stories of students as near as Christian and Effingham Counties. Her anecdotes include a student ending the course with a business that earned $10,000 profit, and another who developed a hunting scope technology business that has made his “dreams come true.”

Anna Kiley, Economic Development Director for Shelby County says, “I’m thrilled with the opportunity for our students in CEO. This course is not geared toward the best-performing students. It is for the hardworkers and kids who like to be outside of the classroom. Really, the benefit of the program goes beyond the coursework itself. Learning to network, to identify your risk and value to a bank, and to pursue your interests are precious skills that take practice.”

The rapid expansion of the CEO program to nearly 50 counties nationwide in 6 years is a testiment that CEO is the standard for entrepreneurship education.

Mark your calendars and plan to attend Tuesday’s Happy Hour meeting to show your support for Shelby County CEO. More information can be found on the “Shelby County, IL” Facebook page.


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