Youth in disadvantaged and distressed communities often lack the principles, resources, opportunities, and guidance to develop career skills and ambition that lead to success in the workplace and in life. Youth in distressed communities are significantly less likely to graduate high school, pursue higher education, and start businesses.
Youth Entrepreneurs® (YE) teaches students the skills and knowledge of business ownership, as well as the important human values that will guide them to success in the workplace and in life. YE curriculum is founded upon the belief that core values — such as responsibility, freedom, sound judgment, passion, and acting with integrity — are key to a student’s success today and in the future. The accredited high school course and alumni program offers hands-on learning through the creation of business ideas and objectives. Students lead the development of their own concept by seeking opportunity and by learning how to solve problems for profit. The YE class demystifies business and introduces the concepts of value creation and opportunity. YE students practice earned success through hard work, planning, and strategy. They can experience the amazing feeling of accomplishment that accompanies a completed task. All of this is experienced at the hand of business and educational mentors in a risk-free and supportive educational environment.
YE began in 1991 as an eight-week program in a single classroom at North High School in Wichita, Kansas. The class eventually expanded into a yearlong, accredited course. Now, more than 25 years later, YE has inspired over 18,000 high school students across the nation to greater achievement than they ever thought possible.
Take Junior, for example. For him, YE was everything. When his parents divorced in middle school, Junior ended up moving frequently. The sudden instability left him just trying to survive and graduate high school. College wasn’t an option — or even a thought. With the encouragement from friends to enroll in YE, Junior started to see his life change. Junior found confidence and identified his passions. He learned how to navigate failure and strive to succeed. With mentoring, encouragement, and guidance, Junior is now the first in his family to attend college.
And, Junior is not alone. To date, 99 percent of YE alumni graduate high school, and 80 percent enroll and complete higher education. Currently in 10 states and 90 schools, YE has touched the lives of over 18,000 students.
In 2015, an expansion plan was put in place with the goal of reaching low income youth in all 50 states. Stand Together is partnering with YE to build expansion capacity and reach new markets.