UA part of Young Entrepreneurs Consortium to boost student success


How do you nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders?

One sure way is through education. The University of Akron’s College of Business Administration has been chosen to teach the teachers who will begin preparing this next generation of business leaders.

With a $13.6 million grant awarded by the Ohio Department of Education’s Straight A Fund competition, the CBA and its partners in the Young Entrepreneurs Consortium are working on a multi-year initiative to create an innovative education-to-employment model to engage and increase young entrepreneurs in Ohio — starting in middle school.

Students in 11 counties to benefit

The consortium will serve a group of nearly 26,600 students in grades six through the sophomore level of college. The consortium is composed of 12 school districts, three career and technical centers, three colleges, and 11 business and community partners. It covers the 11-county area of Summit, Stark, Wayne and Holmes as well as Carroll, Guernsey, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Tuscarawas and Washington.

Bill Hauser

Bill Hauser

By introducing the students to an array of business and technical pathways,  and work-based learning experiences, the consortium’s immediate goal is to increase student achievement. The long-term impact would be the increase of young entrepreneurs growing local economies around the state.

“Many students in this geographical area will not attend college, but will set up their own businesses,” explains Dr. Bill Hauser, interim assistant dean and director of graduate programs in business. “The intent of this program is to provide them with the basic skills they need to be successful.”

Teachers teaching teachers

UA’s role in the consortium is to prepare the teachers leading the business classes — Ohio requires its secondary teachers to be certified in their area of expertise. To teach business, these 35 secondary school educators must complete 18 credit hours of MBA-level courses.

Sheri Schulte

Sheri Schulte

So this fall, a group of eight business faculty members are developing the curriculum for the program. This CBA team is coordinated by Sheri Schulte, a visiting college lecturer in management, who brings years of business experience and educational program development to the project. The teachers will move through the coursework as a cohort, beginning in spring 2015 and finishing in spring 2016. Because of the large geographical area involved, the coursework will be delivered online.

The Straight A Fund grant will pay all the tuition and fees for the cohort members. And, there is money available for some of them to have their tuition paid if they decide to pursue an entire MBA program at UA. The grant also will cover the costs for participating high school students to do dual-course work with Stark State College to earn an associate degree.

In class and online

The newly certified business teachers will then deliver their lessons through a combination of in-class and online instruction as the school districts in the consortium share resources.

“We are very honored that the Young Entrepreneur Consortium asked the College of Business Administration to serve as the business teacher credentialing agent on this very important grant,” says Hauser. “Through our involvement, we will be able to help middle and high school teachers educate the next generation of business leaders so they can understand and be able to successfully apply entrepreneurial and business practices to their careers.”


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