In the Indiana Uplands, hundreds of high school students are gaining real-world work experiences through student-run businesses. Schools, students, and employer partners are working together to redefine work-based learning across the Uplands region. From manufacturing to printing, and from machining to coffee shops, teenagers are thriving as employees, leaders, and entrepreneurs. They are gaining employability skills and experience with real work environments to help develop career interests and skills to pursue further upon graduation.

Each Uplands student-run business has its own personality and has been developed within the context of the local community. Avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach, student-run businesses have partnered with local employers that provide guidance, feedback, and mentorship. Armed with employer insights and business plans, these student-run businesses are embedded within regional high schools. In this model, instead of learning by watching, students learn by doing. Students are learning logistics, customer service, design, production, marketing, teamwork, and public speaking skills. This hands-on approach, in which students “fail forward” and learn from mistakes, has resulted in a much deeper understanding of the real world of work—and the powerful combination of hard and soft skills needed in the Uplands workforce.

Eagle Manufacturing
Brown County High School

CNC Machining, EngineeringDesign, Graphics Design, Decals, Engraving, Banners, Apparel, and more.

Jeep Engineering and Manufacturing
Northeast Dubois High School

CNC Routed Wood Products, Plasma Cut Metal Products, and Laser Engraving.

Lion Manufacturing
Loogootee High School

Laser Engraved Wood and Metal Products, 3D Printing, CNC Machining, and more.

Patriot Manufacturing
Owen Valley High School

Screen Printing, Graphics Printing, Laser Engraving, and Vinyl Printing

Shoals Grounds
Shoals High School

Coffee Shop

Wolverine Enterprises
White River Valley High School

Agriculture, Welding, Precision Machining, Fine Art, Manufacturing, Culinary, and Vinyl Printing

Edgewood Student-Run Businesses
Edgewood High School & Junior High School

Mustang Coffee Corral, Edgewood High ILC Designs, Edgewood Junior High EdgeShop

Student-run businesses are made possible in our region through the ROI’s Ready Schools Initiative and important community collaborations between school districts and businesses in their communities. We would like to thank all of the local and regional organizations and businesses that have provided mentorships and resources to help students to get their businesses established and successfully launch!

How It All Began

Launched in 2019, Eagle Manufacturing and Lion Manufacturing became the first student-run businesses in the Indiana Uplands. Watch the video to see how they got started.

To learn more about student-run businesses in the Indiana Uplands or how you can support these student-run businesses, contact Emily Menkedick, Education Specialist, at or (812) 287-8116 ext. 110.

Recent News on Student-Run Businesses