On Friday, September 17th, The EdVenture Group, Inc., along with partners from the West Virginia Department of Education, Marshall University, and West Virginia University that form the West Virginia Entrepreneurship Education Collaborative (WVEEC), co-hosted the inaugural Classroom2Career Summit. This hybrid event was held virtually and on location in Huntington and Morgantown to showcase emerging projects in entrepreneurship education and work-based learning being implemented across the state.
Following opening remarks, Dr. Taylor highlighted the work of the WVEEC and its origins. “We are very appreciative of both institutions and the partnership,” said Taylor. “This is a collaborative team that is working to design the future of entrepreneurship education.”
The A New Direction for Entrepreneurship Education session highlighted the development of the state’s first entrepreneurship pathway, introduced by EdVenture’s Manager of Innovation, Amber Ravenscroft. This four-course program enables students to go from ideation to actualization and launch real businesses during their high school experience.
The pathway focuses on building entrepreneurial mindsets, tools and strategies, and experiences for students. The pilot schools for this initiative include James Rumsey Technical Institute, Mingo Central High School, Randolph Technical Center, Spring Valley High School, and Wheeling Park High School. WVEEC partners, Tricia Ball of Marshall University and Tara St. Clair of West Virginia University, highlighted available resources and ecosystem supports, including advanced credentialing, immersive events and activities, and statewide competitions.
Building on immersive experiences for students, WVDE’s Alyssa Keedy-White introduced the state’s new Classroom2Career Initiative. Through the development of a new, user-friendly platform, the state is prioritizing work-based learning and providing students and educators a “one stop shop” for all things work-based learning. The Classroom2Career Navigator platform helps students explore, engage, and track their career learning, career preparation, and career experiences. “We want to be able to expand partnerships and experiences for our students,” said Keedy-White.
Throughout the event, the importance of partnership remained a common theme. To engage the audience, the Summit concluded with facilitated breakout sessions to ideate around a thought-provoking question:
Led by members of the WVEEC, breakout sessions developed a repository of ideas to build upon, including:
Intrapreneurial experiences for students through partnerships with local businesses/entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurship “rotations” or micro-learning opportunities
Expansion of internship, apprenticeship, and mentorship opportunities across all industries
Upskilling teachers through entrepreneurial experiences
Clarification and common language around work-based learning
Flexibility and choice in educational pathways
Expansion of remote education opportunities
These ideas and continued collaboration with partners across the state will guide programmatic decisions and future opportunities for West Virginia youth. In addition to brainstormed opportunity, the WVFEEC presented tangible ways to engage with the effort moving forward, including: 1) register as a guest speaker for a classroom, 2) serve as a mentor for students, 3) connect schools to stakeholders in a local community, and 4) offer internship or apprenticeship opportunities.
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On November 11-12, The EdVenture Group participated in the 2021 National Forum to Advance Rural Education hosted by National Rural Education Association in partnership with the Rural Schools Collaborative.