The High Returns Program

What is High Returns?

High Returns is the Junior Economic Club's primary community outreach initiative, centered around fostering financial literacy education at an early age. 

How does it work? 

With High Returns, four to five JEC members lead a series of 30 minute workshops on finance for 7th and 8th graders at various elementary schools across the city. The workshop are fun, interactive, and hands-on, while simultaneously teaching students about important financial topics such as saving and spending, forms of payment, taxes, the economy and running a business. The program is a unique opportunity for schools to offer students a comprehensive and engaging workshop on financial concepts that are extremely important to future successes, but are rarely taught at such a young age.

Why does it matter?

Studies have shown that in-school teaching of financial literacy at a young age is very influential on student financial success and competency as an adult. However, financial literacy is rarely taught in elementary schools, or even high schools across the nation. It is also proven that low-income and minority students are more likely to be less financially literate in their adulthood. These are the problems that the Junior Economic Club is trying to solve with the High Returns initiative.


2112 MIT Launch Startup Incubator

JEC members are using the MIT program for high school students to learn and utilize entrepreneurial skills while forming startups. Our first year in the program was 2017. We will continue this year at the 2112 Chicago startup incubator. Located within the 160,000 square feet B2B creative industry ecosystem of Fort Knox Studios, 2112 is Chicago’s first incubator focused on the development of entrepreneurs and disruption in music, film/video and creative technology. We will be forming small teams to create startups that will be pitched in Marched as a part of a worldwide competition.

What is 2112 Junior Economic & Entrepreneurship Club?

JECC has partnered with 2112, one of the largest entertainment incubators in the country, to launch the High School Startup Incubator. By pursuing this program, you get to be a 2112 junior member, in which you get full access to all services and networks at 2112 as a member, including mentorship of Chicago’s brightest digital designers, engineers and entrepreneurs.

You get to experience first hand what it is like to start a business while honing skills like problem-solving, networking, strategizing, marketing, and pitching by going through the process of building a sustainable business!

2017-2018 Pilot Year

  • Members received mentorship from experienced serial entrepreneurs, business graduate students, and marketing experts.

  • Member got exclusive opportunity to attend 2112 events.

  • Members conducted market research interviews, created pitch, customer persona, Minimum Viable Products, etc.

Example business launched

Teen Insider

Teen Insider is an online magazine for and written by high school students. We focus on topics relevant to our generation. Some of our categories include academics, entertainment, advice, politics, current events and much more. You can find us at

Founders: Nina Boord, Alexis Ishmael

Who can join the 2018-2019 Cohort?

  • Anyone is welcomed! You don’t need to be a JEC member to join the cohort this year.

  • Priority given to those from under-resourced communities who would not otherwise get the exposure to entrepreneurship.

How to join the 2018-2019 Cohort?

We are excited to have you be a part of us! Please fill out the form: and we will get back to you promptly.


Chicago Youth Council for Economic Development

What is the Chicago Youth Council for Economic Development? 

The JEC is working directly with Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers and his office to hold the Youth Council for Economic Development, a forum for communication between club members, city officials, and community leaders. Consisting of entirely JEC members, students on the Council will share their perspectives on a variety of topics and work to create solutions for issues that are important to students and the city.

What is the Council's potential for enacting change? 

As students would work directly with city leaders and have real money to invest, the Council would serve to strengthen youth participation in the formation, implementation, and evaluation of economic and financial public policy in city government. The Council has the potential to make change on a small scale, but send an even larger message about the efficacy and potential for student involvement in municipal affairs.

If you are a Chicago area elementary school teacher or faculty member interested in having the High Returns program at your school? Please feel free to click Contact Us above expressing your interest.

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