Central MN CEO program connects students with business leaders
Students to host social today at Maslowski Wellness Center
Staples-Motley and Wadena-Deer Creek High Schools, along with area business leaders, have collaborated to give eight high school students a unique opportunity. These students are participating in the first Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) class.
The CEO program is designed to give high school juniors and seniors a jump-start on learning how to become successful entrepreneurs and small-business owners.
Those students include Hayley Carlson, Megan Han, Rebekka Paskewitz and Mary Sarah Sauber, all from Staples-Motley High School; and Kayla Hanson, Jessica Langer, Hope Norenberg and Danyel Post from Wadena-Deer Creek High School.
The CEO program was founded in 2008 in Effingham, Ill., under the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship. The first teacher of the CEO program, Craig LIndvahl of Effingham, has been to Wadena and Staples to help launch the program.
The class starts at 7:30 each morning and meets for 90 minutes. During the school year, students will visit more than 50 businesses and host local business leaders as guest speakers. Cindi Koll serves as the program’s instructor.
According to Koll, the CEO program goes beyond standard education.
“The CEO program believes that students learn best by doing, rather than being in the classroom,” Koll said.
The program’s objective: to prepare these students as future business owners who are responsible, enterprising individuals and who contribute to economic development and sustainable communities, Koll said.
These CEO students are immersed in real-life learning experiences with the opportunity to take risks, manage the results and learn from the outcomes, explained Koll.
While emphasizing real-world learning over textbooks, the class is linked to Common Core and national entrepreneurship education standards and provides high school credits. Students are selected for the class through a rigorous application process.
Today, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., the CEO students are hosting a social where the public can learn more about the CEO program. The social will be held at the Maslowski Wellness & Research Center in the Michael and Marian Craig Room.
Koll said the social will give people a chance to meet the CEO students and hear from them how beneficial it’s been so far.
The CEO students are in the process creating their own business plans and presenting them to local banking investors and entrepreneurs at a trade show this spring.
The Central MN CEO Advisory Board oversees the program and is made up of business owners and school administrators from Staples, Motley, Wadena and Deer Creek. They meet on a regular basis to hear updates from CEO students, to fine-tune and improve the first-year program and other program needs. Members include: Bob Jackson, Jerel Nelsen, Lee Westrum, Mike Palmer, Chris Hadfield, Judy Richer, Mark Schmitz, Rich Utech, Dean Uselman, Julie Nelson, Michael Craig, Sue Turner and Koll.