Empowering St Louis Teachers to Teach Entrepreneurship
Program Creates Curriculum for Schools that Guides Youth Towards Business
You can tell by the energy in her voice as she describes the program that Angela Lewis loves what she does. Lewis is the St.Louis area directory for the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a national program that trains teachers to teach students in the skills needed to become successful entrepreneurs.
NFTE works with schools in students in low-income communities across the country that are plagued by crime, violence and high dropout rates. Their program is available for communities where 50% of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch.
The NFTE program brings to schools a well-rounded curriculum where students learn entrepreneurial skills and how to recognize business opportunities. Students graduate from the program once they display the necessary leadership and problem-solving skills to contribute to the economy, by running their own business, or by enhancing the workforce.
“The entrepreneurial skills that they learn – such as overcoming adversity, working within a team, public speaking, and effective communication – are skills students can use later in life. Our goal is to increase their entrepreneurial mindset, where students learn how to think critically and quickly solve problems,“ says Lewis.
NFTE is a relatively new program for St Louis. It’s only been in the region over a year. Schools currently participating in the program are McCluer, McCluer South Berkeley, McCluer North High School, Clyde C. Miller, Carnahan, Ritenour, and Jennings. Yet as the word spreads, more schools are becoming interested in NFTE’s curriculum.
How it works
The program partners with local schools to connect with teachers who are interested in the program. The teachers go through a short training where they learn the curriculum of NFTE. Those teachers then take that entrepreneurial curriculum and incorporated into their programs their lessons.
Schools that inquire past the training deadline can still purchase and incorporate the NFTE curriculum independently via their website. Director Lewis says her staff will be able to assist.
Students are often excited to participate in the program, which holds business competitions sponsored by major corporations, wherein students can win up to $25,000 in some cases.
Lewis says the NFTE program is like a gift (to teachers) that gives back. “We love our work. We love providing opportunities for our kids to advance,” says Lewis. “Teachers say they love the new experience as well. They are the biggest recruiters of others teachers joining the program.”
“We want to build confident, business-minded youth. Knowing that these students will soon step out into the world creates an urgency (in us) to ensure they have what they need to be successful,” she explains.
To learn how to enroll your district in the NFTE program, or to volunteer, become a contest judge, or to donate click here. For more info contact the local NFTE office at the information below.
Angela Lewis, St.Louis Director
911 Washington Ave, Suite 742
Saint Louis, MO 63101
NFTE board members include: Maxine Clark, Tim Hayden, Tina VonderHaar, Ruth Saphian, Gary VonderHaar, Randy Weller, Patty Haegan, Jason Greer, David Laiderman, Olay Ayeni, and Nicole Adewale.