Just this week the venerable publication The Economist shined a spotlight on the reality of the youth unemployment crisis. There are now estimated to be 290 million young people – 25% of all youth worldwide – who are not employed, pursing education or in a vocational training program. NFTE and entrepreneurship education are more vital than ever.
By: Ernst & Young LLP's McLean Tax Partner John Domenick
When I joined the Ernst & Young organization in 1999, the mindset of corporate responsibility stood out to me in every aspect of our business. Intrigued, impressed, excited — those were the words that came to mind when I was first introduced to Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and its mission. After relocating to McLean, Virginia, in 2011, I got involved with the local high school class Ernst & Young LLP had recently adopted through NFTE's Adopt-a-Class program. I became leader of our Adopt-a-Class program shortly thereafter, recognizing its alignment with the firm's community engagement efforts.
I’ve been involved with NFTE for almost 4 years now – wow!
What started as a way for me to utilize my skillsets as an investor and advisor to entrepreneurs in support of my passion for education has morphed into, honestly, a way of life. Late last year I made a career switch and joined an education-focused startup company, www.campusexplorer.com, with the goal of founding my own one day.
While this was the scariest decision of my life, I felt a strange comfort because of two important lessons that have guided me. Interestingly enough, these two lessons are the core of NFTE. It’s why NFTE matters.
Michael Chow and David Bettner, then of Zynga with Friends, headlined a panel discussion on entrepreneurship at NFTE Bay Area’s Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. Michael and David are best known for inventing and releasing Words with Friends, which topped 60 million downloads.
What apps have you designed? 28 Students in NFTE’s New York Metro NYC Generation Tech program just completed the inaugural program to design and build a usable app. The winning app, selected by a team of judges, including Tumblr founder, David Karp, is SkooBrik.
One of the most interesting parts of my NFTE experience so far has been being able to host a variety of volunteers from both the corporate and the entrepreneurial world at my classroom sites. These volunteers come in for a variety of purpose. Some act as motivational speakers, sharing their own stories of trial and triumph, some act as coaches, helping students work on projects and business plans. Students, reticent though many may be to partake in class on an average day, generally perk up when volunteers come in. Suddenly, entrepreneurs become real people and having a career in business seems achievable.
Today at 9:00 AM ET (Tuesday, November 27th) the Microsoft Giving Tuesday begins! This is your last chance to Double Your Impact and your gift to NFTE through the generosity of the people at Microsoft. Matches will be made up to $1,000 per donor, per project on the Give For Youth website, and funding is limited.
Carlos and I underwent training at NFTE U-- a warp speed experience that compressed what children in program classrooms across the country will learn through NFTE into a four day seminar for adults. Teachers and program managers in attendance were asked to create business plans based on NFTE’s new business plan template for students.
NFTE Philadelphia is busy getting back into the routine of school, but last year’s regional challenge winners are also busy. They’re prepping for next month’s NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. Both young entrepreneurs who will represent the Philadelphia program office, Raleigh Russell and Dominique Hughes, share their paths to success.