Five day “camp” to prepare high schoolers for A.I. economy

Listen on Apple Podcast Badge
Listen on Spotify Badge

The AI economy is coming. Parents want to know if AI training for Iowa students is something they should consider. Iowa high schoolers want to know how to prepare for the new generation of work. Jessi McQuerrey with the Association of Business and Industry explains how the Business Horizons program has pivoted to prepare students for design thinking and AI-ready jobs.

Today’s students are growing up on popular shows like Shark Tank. They’re excited at the idea of starting their own business or working at a company that is impacting our world. But there’s a huge educational gap between idea, pitch, and actually growing a company. Business Horizons is filling that gap this July on the Drake University Campus.

What is Business Horizons?

Business Horizons is a five day entrepreneurial business boot camp. Students are broken up into teams called “industries” and those teams create a product, pitch investors, and develop marketing assets.

Iowa students have big ideas and the camp focuses on the execution and design thinking skills needed to help them bring their ideas to life, start a business, or get a great career. 

The experience currently takes place July 16-20th on the Drake University Campus in the middle of Des Moines, Iowa. Apply to Business Horizons.

(Previously the event happened at Central College in Pella, Iowa.)

Stay informed about everything Iowa is home to The Iowa Podcast, Iowa Manufacturing Podcast, and Iowa Agriculture Podcast. Enter your email address to get the latest Iowa stories before your neighbors. (It’s free!)

How will AI impact Iowa jobs

With the release of ChatGPT from OpenAI, and Bing Chat from Microsoft, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been in the news often. Many have highlighted the good and the bad, but we know for sure it will usher in a new industrial revolution of sorts.

Although some alarmists choose to focus on the negative, as they often do in any major cultural shift, many see AI’s potential to usher in a new era of work, and new creative opportunities we’ve only dreamed of. For this reason, Business Horizons years ago pivoted to the higher tech future students are walking into.

McQuerrey said the camp focuses on creative skills, team building, collaboration, design thinking, and diversity of thought—skills that computers struggle with. Students learn how to embrace and work with technology to empower their own personal and creative skills.

Iowa Still Has A Skills Gap

To date, Iowa can still do better on career readiness says McQuerrey. She’s not wrong. As a volunteer, the host (Justin Brady) has worked with many Business Horizons students. In a writing exercise, many didn’t know how to type. Many Iowans assume students know technology because they are adept at smart phone tasks, but using technology in a career is very different.

Programs like Business Horizons have pivoted to address the modern workplace.