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CRESCO, IA – A new Iowa bill is giving schools an opportunity to invest in local businesses and gain hands-on experience.
State lawmakers joined community leaders and students outside the proposed site for a new meat plant set to go up just outside of Cresco.
Students will now have a chance to experience the in’s and out’s of an industry that plays a major role in their agriculture-based economy.
“It really gets our chapter involved and it creates new opportunities for all the kids in our chapter. Just to see what it’s like for us to invest in this business,” said Kayleigh Hauber, of Cresco.
For Iowa students like Kayleigh Hauber, this is the first time a school is getting the opportunity to invest in a business.
Lawmakers recently signed a bill making this a possibility and they say it’s a valuable resource for all students.
“You can do simulations, you can do software programs, you can do all these things but to actually have something that’s real life where the students are actually vested into a project like this is unprecedented,” said Josh Byrnes, Iowa State Representative.
As stakeholders, students will share in responsibilities when it comes to decision making and in the end they are participating in situations with real life impacts.
“They’re going to be there at the board meetings, they’re going to get to see the construction of this facility. They’re owners of shares, I mean they’re going to pay attention to this. Then some of these students are going to probably go on to be cattle producers themselves and this creates another market for them as a future cattle producer,” said Byrnes.
State Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm worked closely with community organizers to get the bill passed but says all the credit goes to the young people involved.
“This doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes a school district, the superintendent, principles, parents but also the FFA students to take and look at an opportunity for them to invest in and learn from. So they’re the ones that should be commended,” said Wilhelm.
Community organizers say like any start-up business, they expect to see some hiccups along the way, but according to them, it’s these types of experiences that will surely prepare their youngest stakeholders.