When people think of high school, they often think of learning the basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic. Yet as our world changes, so does education, and a man that noticed a need for this change is Craig Lindvahl. Craig is the founder and Executive Director of the CEO program, which was started by the Midland Institute of Entrepreneurship.
CEO is not a normal high school class. In fact, it isn't even facilitated within a school. CEO, which stands for Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities, was started in Effingham, Illinois in the early 2000's, with the intent to teach from a more real life perspective, rather than in a somewhat simulated environment within schools.
Since its early beginnings, CEO has now expanded to not just one site in Illinois, but it is now in over 28 locations including central Minnesota. As I said before, CEO is not a normal class. First of all, it is funded completely by local businesses. Along with that, the class is also hosted within one of the local businesses.
Yet that is not the only thing that makes CEO special. The main purpose of CEO is to develop students to be more business savvy entrepreneurs, that later in life will better the local community. The way CEO does this is through several different strategies. First of all, just like a job, students have to go through a rigorous application process to get into the class. Once accepted, the students have the opportunity to travel and visit businesses in the local area, and learn from the owners and managers. Along with that, there are also several speakers that come into the class and talk about their business experiences and offer insight to students. But the biggest part of CEO, is that students are required to start a business of their own, by the end of the year. Yes, you read that correctly, the students have to start their own business, not hypothetically, or in a simulated form. They actually develop a business plan, and have to execute it effectively, while getting their tax ID numbers, registering their business name, marketing their company, etc.
Now I'm sure your saying "a class like this sounds great for kids", well Stern Rubber thought so too. So when the opportunity to start a course in the Staples area was proposed, Stern as well as a multitude of other local businesses, were more than happy to invest and get it going, and last year the first CEO class took place in central Minnesota. CEO is now offered to Staples, and Wadena students that want to be more than just an average every day learner. The ideas that are taught in CEO are lifelong skills that will hopefully not just better the community, but also the student as a whole.
Craig Lindvahl does a much better job describing the CEO class, so please see this video from Craig. For more information on how to bring a CEO class to your community, please click here. There is also a lot more information on the Midland Institute website that you can visit by clicking here, or their Facebook page by clicking here.