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Professional Development for Educators and Immersive Experiences for Students Yield High Dividends

Given the demands required of current students to succeed in the future workplace, the 21st century skills of critical thinking, collaboration, communication and social skills in particular have become vital to career success. With this shift in focus, educators are now expected to equip their students with these capabilities in addition to state-mandated competencies. In order to properly prepare educators to instruct students, an increasing number of schools have been turning to the professional development of educators to meet this need.  

A study conducted by The Learning Policy Institute found design trends in high-value professional development opportunities. They tend to be “content focused, incorporate active learning strategies, engage teachers in collaboration, […] and are of sustained duration.” In light of these market demands and study findings, Youth Entrepreneurs offers an annual five-day immersive experience to its educators, YEedu. The 2019 YEedu event was held in Detroit, Michigan. Nearly 260 educators attended.  

Findings from research conducted throughout YEedu via three unique surveys indicate the leave-to-learn activities and collaborative sessions transformed 100% of the mindsets of the 115 survey respondents and challenged them to think differently. Additionally, YEedu served as a source of inspiration for 98% these educators as they prepared to begin the 2019-2020 school year, as shown in Figure 1 below. Educator Sebrina Horns noted that YEedu “allows me an opportunity to sharpen my tools, and also to take back innovative information to my students.”  

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In addition to the necessity of educator professional development, students require opportunities to practice and build upon their 21st century skills. To meet this need, Youth Entrepreneurs hosted nearly 240 students simultaneously with YEedu at the Youth Entrepreneurs Summit in Detroit. As with YEedu, research conducted during Summit indicate students gained value from interacting and networking with other students that led to a better understanding of their innate talents and abilities in 84% of the 55 respondents, as Figure 2 displays.  Summit attendee Sierra Brown noted the event helped her “really understand the whole power of transformation, knowledge sharing and community building,” just one example of the transformational impact the event had on the attendees.  

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As seen in the survey results, YEedu and the Youth Entrepreneurs Summit served as conduits by which to inspire and transform the minds of educators and alumni. With these positive results in mind, Youth Entrepreneurs intends to continue offering transformational experiences such as these in the upcoming year. 

To learn more about YEedu and Summit, download the in-depth research report.