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CEO program imparts valued business skills

To boost the area’s economy, more entrepreneurs are needed. A new class at the Whiteside Area Career Center in Sterling is designed to teach students how to think like entrepreneurs. The impact on individuals and communities could be profound.

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

People who start businesses help the community. New businesses create revenue and jobs. When more jobs are available, more people can support themselves. When those people spend their income, good things happen to other businesses. Tax-supported bodies also benefit.

Creating stronger communities through entrepreneurship is the goal of a new class taught by the Whiteside Area Career Center.

The class is called Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities, or CEO. Nearly 20 high school students are involved. They come from more than half a dozen area communities.

Class members already have met at Wahl Clipper in Sterling, Moore Tires in Rock Falls, and the Lee County Council on Aging in Dixon.

By visiting different businesses and agencies and hearing from their leaders each week, those juniors and seniors receive valuable exposure to the business world. Then they will put that knowledge to work. As class projects, students will create businesses of their own.

Those businesses might succeed, or they might fail. The resulting experiences, however, can be drawn upon by students now and in the future.

People who care about the Sauk Valley’s future should be thrilled by the new CEO program. It was created in Effingham to groom young people for entrepreneurial careers. The Blackhawk Hills Regional Council, the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship, and local donors partnered with the Whiteside Area Career Center to bring it here.

High schoolers who participated in the Effingham CEO class said it increased their enthusiasm for creating businesses in their hometowns. Sauk Valley area students now have the opportunity to capture the same enthusiasm.

Local folks can give the CEO program a boost. People who want to find out more about it, or who want to invite the class to visit a local business, may contact instructor LeAndra Hartman at lhartman@wacc.cc.

Business-minded students who want to chart an exciting future for themselves and their communities should look into the CEO program. The more budding CEOs it creates, the better for all.

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