Life Skills Develop through Participation in Youth Entrepreneurship Program

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Virginia Tech

Entrepreneur and vocational programs are important in building workforce readiness skills in youth (Fields, Brown, Piechocinski, & Wells, 2012). Recent surveys have found that certain skills, including communications, critical thinking, as well as leadership development are lacking among young people (Pace, 2012). Ninety percent of respondents in a survey by the Center for Creative Leadership indicated that education in leadership should begin before age 18, while 50% noted a need to start in elementary school or before (Pace, 2012). Through already existing program settings that involve youth development professionals, youth have the potential to improve upon certain life skills that will aid them in achieving employment or starting a business of their own. Dedicated professionals in support of these endeavors can positively affect young people in their attempts to simultaneously balance jobs and maintain grades at school. In this report, the role of entrepreneurship within a 4-H youth development program was examined. Several young entrepreneurial workshops took place in an after school setting to provide youth with tools needed to run their own booth at a local farmers market. Participation in 4-H programs was positively related to youth life skill development. Building communication skills, teamwork skills, and a sense of responsibility in youth are just a few of the ways that Virginia Cooperative Extension programs influence young people on their way to adulthood. Findings in this report support the claim that youth gained important life skills as a result of their participation in the educational workshops combined with the hands-on experiences during the farmers market. Through entrepreneur activities in positive youth development programs such as 4-H, FFA and Boys and Girls Clubs, young people will be better equipped for life, in general, after high school.

4-H, youth development, vocational education, workforce development, entrepreneurship, experiential learning