New Bay Area Partnership Brings Entrepreneurship Opportunities to Students in San Jose

A new partnership has begun with East Side Union High School District (ESUHSD), Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), the Silicon Valley Organization (SVO), Work2Future, and the San Jose Mayor’s Office, where students in San Jose can begin to build their entrepreneurial mindset, conceiving and explore building an entrepreneurial venture while still in high school. This partnership brings entrepreneurship opportunities to students in San Jose through a summer NFTE BizCamp program and year-long initiatives.

“When you engage kids more in learning, then the outcomes are much better.” Chris Funk, East Side Union High School District Superintendent affirmed, “The thing that CTE Pathways does, is that it links learning to the actual career that the student may be interested in pursuing. When you can make that linkage, then it makes it more meaningful and the kids see a pathway to a potential career.”

Alfredo Matthew, NFTE Senior Regional Director, West agreed, adding “They leave feeling that they can start companies. That their problems and opinions matter, that they can talk to adults and professionals. They can network, can find solutions and ultimately grow in confidence. NFTE is bringing not just a curriculum and support for teachers, we are bringing an approach to the work that is going to add value at every one of these stages across the partnership.”

Watch a new video exploring this unique public/private partnership bringing entrepreneurship opportunities to San Jose students

Sam Liccardo, Mayor of San Jose spoke to how this partnership will help put the students participating in the NFTE curriculum on a pathway to a successful future. “It helps for young people get oriented towards success. To recognize their capacity to be entrepreneurs, to start something on their own, to take risks, to fail, to learn from those failures and keep moving forward. Those basic skills we know are essential for success in this valley.”

Students at East Side Union High School District will grow their entrepreneurial mindset with NFTE classroom tools, allowing them to learn tried and true entrepreneurial business skills and crucial soft skills like creativity, innovation and communication. Patricia, a computer science pathway and BizCamp Student echoed some of the soft skills she honed as being a NFTE student, “I’m opening all my options. I took this Bizcamp and I’m really glad that I did, because I learned how to network, and also improve my presentation skills and communicating with other people.”

The BizCamp as well as year-long initiatives are combining academics with real world experience in a fast-growing field. By discovering what the working world is really like through specialized field trips, industry mentors, and internships, students get a unique ability to discover where they want to go and how to get there.

“This entrepreneurship program has really connected me to the world I live in right now. The things I do, the things I learn it’s not only for myself. When you get out of college, what do you want to do? What do you want to do? What do you want to bring to this world? The NFTE entrepreneurship program helped me really realize the potential that every person has.” Said Srikar, a current BizCamp Student.

This partnership, along with SVO and Work2Future offers a crucial cycle of classroom learning incorporated with real life business intern-based learning that will help them prepare for their future. Mat Mahood, CEO of The SVO weighed in about the value of workplace experience, “We’re actually putting kids into the workplace, gaining experience, finding out things they like, they don’t like; it’s practical workforce education initiative. It gives them real world experience applying the things they’ve learned in the classroom. The SVO brings to the table a unique ability to convene partners. We are able to bring the City of San Jose together with East Side Union Highschool district, with major employers, medium size employers, small businesses; we’re able to convene all those folks along a coordinated mission and that goal is to connect kids with career opportunities.”

Kenya Rawls, a youth program manager from Work2Future Foundation echoed Mahood’s sentiments on the merits of the partnership’s strengths, “You learn a lot during this period of time, this program gives students the platform to be able to learn organically, and that is the best thing that we can teach them. Real life experiences.”