Indiana High School Builds Education-to-Entrepreneurship Pipeline

Indiana High School Builds Education-to-Entrepreneurship Pipeline

Interest in entrepreneurship was growing among high schoolers at Warren Central High School, Warren, IN. The school responded this year by creating a new pathway where students can launch their own businesses. Plus, they earn up to 16 college credits — roughly a full semester of classes, according to Chalkbeat Indiana.

Indiana education leaders are pushing to improve access to postsecondary education as the state’s college-going rate for high school seniors hovers at 53 percent, according to the latest data available, after years of decline. Dual enrollment programs, where students can earn high school and college credits at the same time, are among efforts to raise that percentage.

Supported by funding from the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI), InnoPower (a tech incubator) has launched the Talent Rich Initiative, a partnership with Warren Central High School, Walker Career Center, and Ivy Tech Community College to strengthen the education-to-entrepreneur connection for Career Center students.

Students are challenged to consider the appropriateness of an entrepreneurial career by conducting a personal inventory. They identify and evaluate ideas while learning the steps and competencies required to launch a successful new venture. Much time is spent doing work outside the classroom, meeting with potential customers, mentors, and key stakeholders.

Meredith Bryant, who left a marketing job for education, teaches pathway classes in Principles of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Operations and then the capstone. She told Chalkbeat Indiana “Every week we do a Mindful Monday exercise where students watch a motivational YouTube clip and reflect on it in their journals.” Then students discuss ideas and experiences. Bryant says, “Every Wednesday, we do ‘workshop stations,’ where the students go around to different areas of the room and complete an activity. Recently, we did ‘Adult Day’ where students learned how to tie a tie, sew on a button, read paychecks, and write professional emails.”

Bryant has four seniors who will hopefully launch their business ideas into the community by the end of this school year.

One student didn’t want to wait around and jumped into his business and is already making sales. He wants to start his own apparel line but, for now, is working with a manufacturer to design and distribute zip-up hoodies. He’s done very well so far.

As the world becomes more globalized, teaching entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mindset is more critical than ever,” states the Marion School District.

Marion School District of Warren Township / Chalkbeat Indiana

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