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2017 October 24 - 09:04 am

Teens Get Business Experience Running Campus Food Stand

Partnership with Illinois College Teaches Students About Business

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Trinity Humes is getting an early start on what will hopefully someday be a successful business career. On July 17, the 13-year-old peddled herbs and vegetables at a farm stand in the commons area of Menard Hall on the campus of Lincoln Land Community College.

“I want to go into business and this is teaching me a lot about the workforce” she said.

Humes is one of 27 teens with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Illinois learning about local foods and entrepreneurship as part of a six-week partnership between the nonprofit and community college.

In addition to running the farm stand, the teens get hands-on experience in composting, planting seeds, harvesting and even cooking with fresh produce from an LLCC garden.

Lincoln Land workforce specialist Marnie Record said the program helps teens enhance their gardening knowledge, make better food choices and gain skills exploring a career in local foods.

The program was made possible by a grant from North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education.

“They’re getting a lot of experience in customer service and sales, and those are skills that are transferable,” Record said.

Tiffany Mathis, central unit director for the Boys & Girls Clubs, said the partnership with Lincoln Land expands on the nonprofit’s summer program called Teen Career Launch that serves 13- to 18-year-old students, predominantly from lowincome families, in Springfield five days a week from June 19 to July 24.

Students go to Lincoln Land on Monday, learn job skills on Tuesday, meet with business owners Wednesday, job shadow on Thursday and are rewarded with swimming on Friday.

Mathis said she started the program because many of the teens the Boys & Girls Clubs serve do not have plans for what they want to do after high school.

The partnership with Lincoln Land bolsters that effort because it not only teaches the teens entrepreneurial skills, it also exposes them to a college campus, she said.

“This is a way we can serve our kids so much better,” Mathis said.

Information from: The State Journal-Register, http://www.sj-r.com

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