Youth entrepreneurship education standards support career development and teach life skills

A survey of entrepreneurship education leaders shows that educators acknowledge the important role entrepreneurship education can play in developing the future careers of American's youth.

In February 2012, The Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education  published a report on the State of Entrepreneurship Education in the United States. The State of Entrepreneurship Education 2012 report conveys the results of a survey of forty state leaders in entrepreneurship education and supports the Consortium’s belief that educators are acknowledging the important role entrepreneurship education can play in developing the future careers of America’s youth.

The consortium was formed in 1980 at Ohio State University in answer to the U.S. Secretary of Education, Terrell Bell, whose policy was for all vocational education programs to include entrepreneurship competencies for their students. To date, more than two-thirds of states indicate they have adopted standards that include entrepreneurship competencies

The purpose of the consortium is to bring entrepreneurship experiences to young people everywhere through schools and community programs that encourage entrepreneurial spirit and teach the skills important for success. The report yielded five major points concerning entrepreneurial education:

  1. Eighty percent of survey respondents indicated developing entrepreneurship skills was extremely important to the future and that entrepreneurship education was a viable career opportunity in their state. Further comments indicated respondents felt entrepreneurship experiences should start early in the school system and were key component of many of their secondary and post-secondary career and technical education programs.
  2. More than two-thirds of the 40 states responding have adopted entrepreneurship competencies in their standards, referencing that it relates many career clusters and teaches skills for life problem solving and creative thinking.
  3. The consortium is the focal point for leadership, standards, curriculum and best practices. Sixty percent of the states responding participated in National Entrepreneurship Week and more than two-thirds receive and read the Consortium’s Update Newsletter.
  4. Teacher training and certification in entrepreneurship education are an identified need. The survey revealed 80 percent of those polled said there were no requirements for teaching entrepreneurship education or were unaware if their state mandated accreditation.
  5. The dependence on a written business plan as an educational approach is limiting the entrepreneurship experience for youth. There is a need for expanded problem-based learning activities and real-world experiences.

MSU Extension’s career and work-force preparation programming for youth is addressing the needs identified in the report by providing experiential learning opportunities in entrepreneurship through Michigan 4-H Youth Development entrepreneurship efforts. Educators, staff and volunteers use cutting-edge curriculum like Be the E , Going Solo and Entrepreneurship Investigation.

Michigan 4-H also partners with Generation E to provide entrepreneurship education certification for teachers and volunteers. A grant from Michigan 4-H is helping to provide this training at a reduced cost at the Michigan 4-H Entrepreneurship Conference scheduled for March 30 through April 1, 2012.

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