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A Chicago elementary school is prepping its students to invest in stocks by the time they reach the fourth grade, Black Enterprise reported.

According to the news outlet, John Rogers, CEO of Chicago-based Ariel Investments and former chair of Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, implemented a curriculum at South Side’s Ariel Community Academy to introduce the importance of financial literacy at an early age. Students begin to learn about stocks when they are kindergarten, and a few years later are able to trade stocks with their classmates. Ariel Community Academy, which is predominantly Black and serves students from inner-city communities, is a K-8 school that was founded nearly two decades ago by Rogers.

“We wanted our students to be really comfortable with the stock market,” Rogers told Black Enterprise. “We wanted the students to grow up to be good investors, to prepare themselves for retirement, for college tuition, and for a first house.” He also added that exposure to the financial industry at this age will allow them to explore career paths that they might not have known existed.

As part of the curriculum, in the early stages, students learn about personal finances, and as they get older they delve into its impact and influence in the world. Rogers told Black Enterprise that he hopes students will be inspired to become entrepreneurs, which will eventually lead to the establishment of more Black-owned businesses. He also wants this program to be used as a blueprint for other investment companies to lead financial literacy initiatives at inner-city schools.

Many of the individuals who have been through his school have furthered their careers in law, medicine, and investment banking, the news outlet reported.

SOURCE: Black Enterprise

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