DIXON – The Whiteside Area Career Center is launching a second Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities class based in Dixon next year in hopes of catering to more students in Lee and Ogle counties.
The CEO class was created about 5 years ago to shape high school juniors and seniors throughout the region into future business moguls through guidance from local entrepreneurs, and they take what they’ve learned and apply it to creating and managing their own businesses.
“The program teaches them not only the techniques and challenges to create a business, but also exposes them to leaders of a wide variety of organizations in our communities," said Jerry Binder, WACC's director of development. "We want them to think about coming back here to start businesses or work as leaders in the organizations here in the Sauk Valley.”
Talks of adding a second class have been ongoing for the past few years, and the goal was to start it up this school year, but there weren't enough interested students and sponsors.
So far, the program has had 122 students, including 26 students in the current class.
"That is more than an optimal class size, yet distance has prevented even more students from the eastern region of our geography from applying," Binder said. "We want to give those students the opportunity to experience CEO."
Having a class based in Dixon means eastern Sauk Valley students won't have to drive back and forth to Sterling.
The program is funded by 67 individual, community and corporate investors, and the accounting firm Clifton Larson Allen has committed to providing $5,000 seed money for the new class.
The new class is slated to start in the fall and applications will be accepted until Jan. 31.