Maine’s business sector got some young hires. Its Maine Junior Achievement Day. High school students competed in a statewide challenge taking them out of the classroom and into VIRTUAL boardrooms where important business decisions are made. Meet the management team of a new Northern Maine startup. And so ARE THEY…and THEM. They all look quite young because THEY ARE quite young. High school juniors and seniors to be exact. The new titans of industry for the Junior Achievement of Aroostook County’s 4th annual Titan Challenge. Mark Wilcox is the Chair for Junior Achievement of Aroostook County and says “Its operating a business in an environment, a competitive environment where things change quickly, its not theoretical learning, its actual learning.” “It gets them to see all aspects of business but the other side of it is allows potential hiring agencies to look at these students and maybe to pick up someone who’s a shining star in their group,” adds Carolyn Dorsey a Business Advisor for UMPI. Those hiring agencies Dorsey’s talking about are the thirty business leaders and community members tasked with being mentors for the Titan Challenge. Shawn Murchison is a Mentor for Junior Achievement of Aroostook County and says “They see that hey number one these people care about us and our education number two they ask us for advice and they get an idea of what we’re involved in.” Titan Challenge is a statewide virtual competition put on by other JA chapters throughout Maine. JA of Aroostook County has students competing from schools all over Northern Maine…from Houlton to Fort Kent. More than 90 kids, the second highest in the state. And Wilcox says the challenges are held on college campuses like UMPI where students also get a tour. Wilcox says having business people interact with young people throughout the Titan Challenge is critical. Believe it or not, it helps to tackle the bigger issue of youth outmigration. He says “We’ve got a high number of jobs coming to the county for the first time in a long time, that we need folks to fill and may not have that number and the exposure is the big thing, we’ve got to make sure that kids know there are opportunities in Aroostook County.” In the meantime, its through projects like the Titan Challenge that youth can better prepare for those opportunities, learning the ins and outs of running a business. Clarissa Buck is a senior at Presque Isle High School and Participant with this year’s Titan Challenge and says “we’re learning how to adjust your production, your price and how increasing marketing and R & D would make it so that your company will be able to make more money.” “Anywhere you go you’re gonna be dealing with business so it’s a really good idea to get a jump start with this,” adds Elijah Verhoff another Titan Challenge Participant and junior at Caribou HS. Its a good jump start that has these kids getting an education beyond the classroom. Out of 96 teams two teams from Caribou took the prizes. Caleb and David Hunter from Caribou each won a $250 scholarship. The Caribou group made up of Ben Ezzy, Delaney Williams and Elijah Verhoff, who you just saw interviewed. They each will receive a 1000 dollar scholarship.