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Developing future leaders

Our ability, as a region, to develop our bright, young students and then convince them to remain in the area to become the business leaders of tomorrow will be crucial to the future of the Rochester economy.

That’s why organizations such as Junior Achievement—a volunteer-based group that teaches work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills—are so important.

Junior Achievement of Central Upstate New York held its JA Titan of Business Challenge luncheon on Tuesday at St. John Fisher College to honor teams of high school students who participated in the Titan of Business Program.

The program gives students the opportunity to make real-world business decisions using an economics simulation. As CEOs of a technology manufacturing company in the year 2020, they need to set strategies for price, production, marketing, capital investment, R&D, and charitable giving.

Students who go through the program gain real experience that they can draw on to succeed in the business world and possibly become entrepreneurs and CEOs themselves. The program also gives students the chance to interact with successful leaders in our business community who volunteer their time.

The luncheon provided further opportunity for students to interact with local business people, and also placed an emphasis on the second part of the equation: staying in Rochester. Each table was encouraged to have discussions around two sets of questions: one for students, one for adults. Some of the questions focused on what the students like about Rochester, and why the adults settled in Rochester.

The students’ pride in their work and interest in the program was obvious throughout the event, and you could see real excitement as they listened to Sweetwater Energy CEO Arunas Chesonis—the event’s keynote speaker—detail his own business experience in a funny, relatable fashion.

The more we can expose intelligent young people to programs like JA Titan and business leaders like Chesonis, the better chance we have of developing a new generation of business leaders with a love of Rochester.

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email madams@bridgetowermedia.com.

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