JOBS for AMERICA'S GRADUATES

Going Solo

Illinois students that are part of the Jobs for America's Graduates class at MacArthur High School took on a class project this academic year. The project, a computer simulation of running a small business asked them figure out costs to run the business like supplies, marketing, rent, utilities, and employee salaries. The next task was to determine whether their business could make a profit and if not, what they could do to make the business profitable.

For their business idea, Michael Holmberg and Blaze Rowland designed a bracelet voted by the class as the best product for the entrepreneurship project known as “Going Solo.” The bracelet was designed with males in mind, but classmate Kat Elliott liked it too. “I'd wear it,” she said. “It's unisex.”

Amy Leman of the University of Illinois Extension, who assisted with the project pointed out that not every student is someone who is cut out to work for someone else.   Some of the students already have their own small businesses so that they can begin to fulfill their own dreams. One of the students, Elliott babysits, others do lawn care. And yet another,  Blaze Rowland has a business called Footprints Development. It’s a web development service that he's had for about 18 months, and it is successful enough that he no longer needs an allowance from his parents.

Rowland and Holmberg discovered that there were several costs they hadn't counted on in running a small business, one being storage. “You have to figure out where you can cut costs,” Holmberg said, studying the balance sheet of their business, which they haven't named.

Elliott's group has a business named Crystals and she said that one important thing to keep in mind is the cost of making items. You can't use all the most expensive materials on every piece without raising the price.

Teacher Gayle Bowman said that entrepreneurship isn't for everyone, “Some of them are really into this,” she said. “Some of them aren't cut out for it.” The JAG Model programs in Decatur, IL are managed by Iowa JAG (iJAG).