Posts Tagged ‘Youth’

Part of the Solution… in response to White House Conference on Jobs and the Economy

Youth Entrepreneurship Education: An Essential Tool in Preparing Our 21st Century Workforce

Youth entrepreneurship enables young people to forge their own unique path to success and feel a sense of ownership in their lives. Michelle Araujo, a young entrepreneur who owns A La Mode Fashions, said it best: “My dream is not to die in poverty, but to have poverty die in me.” Entrepreneurship education gave her an exit strategy from poverty and honed her skills to compete in today’s economy.

While most budding entrepreneurs have no choice but to develop their business skills by trial and error, there is strong evidence indicating that an organized approach to teaching entrepreneurship to at-risk youth can dramatically increase their interest in college and occupational aspirations. At Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) we take this evidence seriously and have created programs to teach entrepreneurship skills to middle school and high school students, providing them with both the skills and motivation to stay in school and become productive participants in today’s economy.

The entrepreneurship model NFTE presents to 11- 20 year old youth trains them to observe their surroundings and identify unmet needs in their communities. We then work to inspire them to find creative ways to meet those needs by offering goods and services in the marketplace. Along the way, they learn to develop business plans, calculate return on investment, order raw materials, create a product or service and market it effectively. Most importantly though, young people in our program learn the skills and knowledge to take control of their economic futures and the futures of their families.

Entrepreneurship education can truly transform how we approach talent development. It is based on the premise of meeting needs in the neighborhood and local community, which makes it an effective response to regional economic shocks. Whether or not students end up running their own businesses long term or working for someone else, they gain an appreciation for the value of ‘real life’ learning that keeps them engaged in high school and often inspires them to pursue a college degree. NFTE’s approach embodies the concept of fostering applied learning and pathways to graduation and post secondary opportunities.

Incorporating entrepreneurship training into the curricula of Title I institutions across the country would benefit America’s communities both by contributing to local economic development and by providing the means for low-income youths to develop skills that will significantly increase their employability after high school. Currently only 50,000 American youth from low-income communities have access to Youth Entrepreneurship Education. We recommend that policymakers scale this movement on a city, state and national level.

Entrepreneurship training prepares youth to create jobs and become superior employee candidates with a winning entrepreneurial mindset. We need to prepare our nation’s youth to become economically self-sufficient by giving them options and training to take charge of their lives and their futures.

By Julie Silard Kantor, Vice President,
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship
(NFTE Washington Office) –