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How to Find and Nurture Young Talent

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How to Find and Nurture Young Talent

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The world, it is changing. If you think the only way to find young and upcoming talent is by recruiting through business schools, think again. A recent Inc.com piece asserts that while business schools, of course, are one course of action, you might want to consider high schoolers.

Really.

This is especially true in Chicago, which is leading the way in entrepreneur-related courses in high school. Here's why:

Perhaps the best-known example is Chicago's Tech Academy, famous for its entrepreneurial and tech heavy curriculum. The high school, which draws 77% of its students from low-income homes, partners with more than 100 tech companies for field trips, inspiration, and mentorship. Most recently, the school teamed up with Microsoft, allowing some students to tour the offices, problem solve with employees, and meet CEO Steve Ballmer. 

With only 450 total students, the extra-curricular activities make a big impact. For example, they provide a special brainstorming session at a local incubator, in which students are charged with coming up with a viable tech start-up and then presenting it to tech start-ups for feedback. It brings them from classroom to "real world." 

The piece also adds that:

None of this is exactly brand-new educational theory. In most industries, real-world experience trumps a lesson on a white board. But in the start-up world, more and more organizations are looking earlier than college to mold young talent, exposing high schoolers to entrepreneurism through events, mentorships, and internships. 

Inc.com isn't the only place that feels this way. Boston Mayor Thomas Mennino gave a talk in February asserting the same thing, giving a shout-out to the site Mayor's summer jobs program, which has a website that helps connect employers with students. So, it's starting to look like taking a paper route or working at the Taste of Chicago won't be the only summer jobs kids can find, in time.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a columnist for EGM. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

Related Topics HR, High Schoolers, Internships
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