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Tuesday, 23 Jan 2018

The Need 4 Entrepreneurship


The Problem
The dropout crisis is one of the greatest threats to our nation’s economic growth. Our country’s future is in the hands of our youth (Miller, 2009). The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) went into effect in 2001 as an educational reformation plan. It implemented strong accountability measurements for schools, mainly through standardized test scores. President Bush enacted NCLB to improve the quality of education for students. Yet since its passing, the dropout rate has been increasing, more schools are closing, class sizes are getting larger, and elective courses have been eliminated.  In 2003, there were 3.5 million high school student dropouts (Bridgeland, Diilulio, etl, 2006). Special needs students contribute to that number substantially, largely because they are unfairly held to the same standards as their non-disabled peers. The added work and frustration associated with a disability can take its toll over time; national and local studies reveal that youths with disabilities drop out of school at higher rates than the general population (IES).  According to the Committee on Education and Labor, 7000 students drop out nationwide and less than 70 percent graduate with a regular diploma. There are several reasons why students are dropping out so rapidly. The top reason given is that classes are “boring” (Bridgeland, Dillulio, et al. 2006). Today’s high school curricula and programs lack the real-world lessons to assimilate issues that people face daily.  Youths of America are not being prepared to compete with their international peers. As a result, students are graduating from high school without a realistic plan for entering society. The majority of students have no idea of the stress and responsibilities that await them in the real world. This is attributed to the national educational system failing in preparing our young adults. 

Students with Disabilities
There are almost 6.5 million students with disabilities in America (Rosenberg, Westling, & McLeskey 2008). The high school dropout rate for students with learning disabilities (SLD) has reached the nation’s highest at 38%, double the rate of their non-disabled peers. The graduation rate for SLD is only 51%.  Sadly, sixty-six percent of students with learning disabilities are not eligible to attend a four-year university in comparison to 37% of non-disabled graduates. According to the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA), only 13% of SLD attend a four-year college two years after high school graduation, in contrast to 53% of their non-disabled peers. In Detroit, Michigan, where the Entrepreneurship Project study was being conducted, the poverty rate for disabled males is 31% and for disabled females 33.1% (Detroit City Data, 2010). Sixty-two percent of SLD are unemployed one year after graduation. LDA of America’s statistics portray 65.4% of SLD as having an annual household income of less than $25,000 in comparison to 38.8% of the general education population.

Youth Interest
Youths exhibit a tremendous level of enthusiasm towards entrepreneurship. An entrepreneurship education is beneficial to youths transitioning into society; it builds leadership, independence, confidence, perseverance and social skills. Implementing entrepreneurship education throughout schools in America will provide youths with the tools needed to compete in the global market.  The dropout rate for high school students is likely to decrease significantly if we offer paths to alternate career options for students who choose not to attend a traditional college. 

Industry Need
According to the National Consortium of Entrepreneurship Education, the U.S. is experiencing a rampant rate of students dropping out without the skills needed to succeed in advanced education or perform successfully in their jobs. Students complain that school is “boring” and the lessons taught are “not relevant”. Yet the growth and demands of today’s expanding global economy call for a highly educated, skilled workforce that can meet the needs of competing industries. We must answer the silent cry of our children to teach them in a way that makes them want to learn. Youth entrepreneurship growth in America has emerged as an exciting career choice for the new generation.  

Youth Entrepreneurship Growth in AmericaEntrepreneurship has emerged as an exciting career choice for the new generation. It became more popular when the unemployment had rate hit a 30 year high of 9.4% in December of 2010. With jobs and job security being so sparse, many decided to create their own opportunities. Junior Achievement conducted a youth survey in August of 2011, where 64% expressed interest in starting their own businesses.  

Why We R Here
The Entrepreneurship Project was created to unleash skills, talents and gifts from America’s youths. For too long, we have focused all of our efforts on a rigid academic path of core subjects. Students have been placed in a “standardized test box”, ignoring the individual talents, interests and learning styles of students who may not fit the mold. It is crucial that we implement new programs for at-risk and disadvantaged students that cater to all learning styles and capture the innovative minds of our young people.  We are here to turn the statistics around and birth innovators who will change the world.

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EP Intro Part 1

The Entrepreneurship Project (EP) is the first inclusionary entrepreneurship program in the country designed for disabled and non-disabled students.

EP Intro Part 2

Never before have special and general education students established a joint venture, nor has there been a curriculum developed to meet the learning styles of both groups.

EP Intro Part 3

The program uses differentiated instruction to teach students who have learning disabilities and cognitive impairments in collaboration with their general education peers.