Students taught to finish school, create jobs

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Finish school. Get a job. That's the message most students are used to hearing, but one local group is being told to finish school and create jobs.

One budding entrepreneur thinks she can hit it big selling t-shirts and one young academic believes there's a market for college students who need help typing papers and doing research. The exercise at Perspectives/IIT Math and Science Academy is designed to get students to think in a practical way about starting their own businesses.

"When we get out of college, we'll eventually have to start a business or we'll have to work for somebody and I feel like this class exposes us to real-life situations," said 12th grader Janeya Cunningham.

"They're learning all these other subjects math, science, history and all that and they don't think that it's relevant to what they want to do in life," 12th grader Akporesiri Omene said. "So this class is good because it takes what we've already learned in those classes and put them together in a practical way."

The program is run by the Future Founders Foundation. It teaches students how to close the gap between idea and execution.

"We start as young as 7 and have them create lemonade stands and go all the way through high school where they're building business plans," said foundation president Scott Issen. "These are just age-appropriate ways that they can learn about entrepreneurship."

The non-profit recruits local business owners to volunteer to teach real world skills and open students' minds to possibilities.

"I really enjoy just seeing the creativity and the ambition of the students and just connecting with them so that they see someone who looks like me that go out on their own and take the risk of starting their own business," said D'Rita Robinson, Chattyguest.

Students are taught business fundamentals including how to network, create a business plan and pitch their ideas.

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