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JPEC Grant Boosts Development of National Youth Curriculum

The John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) at the University of Iowa has received a $100,000 grant from the William Zimmerman Foundation of Fairfield, Iowa to spearhead the development of a comprehensive teacher and student entrepreneurship curriculum and training program for release on a national scale. The new curriculum targets the entrepreneurship education needs in secondary schools across the country.

JPEC is currently conducting a comprehensive study of entrepreneurship training and curriculum offerings throughout Iowa and the Midwest. Based on the information collected, JPEC will revise, refine and package the YouthBiz teacher training and curriculum program and pilot the YouthBiz curriculum and training program in Iowa and contiguous states. The YouthBiz program includes an online teacher training program, instruction toolkit including case studies and entrepreneurial resources, student guide, and a student business planning template.

Since 2000, JPEC has worked closely with the Zimmerman Foundation, which was instrumental in the creation of JPEC's Iowa Teacher and Youth Entrepreneurship program. "Having support and insight from the Zimmerman Foundation has helped JPEC's K-12 outreach initiatives reach new heights. We are very excited that we will be able to create an affordable online teacher and youth entrepreneurship curriculum that will be accessible nationwide," says Dawn Bowlus, JPEC student activities and outreach coordinator.

Bowlus will work with Kenneth Brown, associate professor of Management and Organizations in the UI's Tippie College of Business, on the comprehensive study. A similar study will be conducted in neighboring states.

Eileen Mercuris, business education chair at Prairie City Monroe (PCM) High School, has seen the value of JPEC's entrepreneurial training firsthand. "The community and students have really profited from our students learning and using entrepreneurship principles. We are but one small school in Iowa; but because of JPEC, one small school after another is incorporating and promoting entrepreneurship."

JPEC teaches University of Iowa students and Iowans of all ages how to turn their creative ideas into profitable businesses. Since its inception in fall 2000, JPEC has trained 240 teachers from 182 Iowa schools. UI entrepreneurship education programs have impacted over 5,000 Iowa students. The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) recognized JPEC as the 2004 National Model Program for Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education at the Undergraduate Level.

"At JPEC, our goal is to fulfill the entrepreneurial educational needs of all UI students and faculty and to teach and inspire entrepreneurship in secondary teachers and students," Bowlus said. "The Zimmerman Foundation is making it possible for us to reach that goal."


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