The EdVenture Group’s 20-year history is rooted in innovation. The past year has emphasized the importance of fostering student and educator capacity to innovate, ideate, and prepare for the future of work. The EdVenture Group’s STEM & Entrepreneurship projects facilitate entrepreneurial mindsets and aptitudes, build STEM awareness and knowledge, and support an emergent generation of innovative, creative Appalachian youth prepared to drive positive change in their communities.
Simulated workplace entrepreneurship education pathway
The Simulated Workplace Entrepreneurship Education Pathway (SWEEP) delivers an experiential entrepreneurship curriculum framework for West Virginia Career and Technical Education (CTE) students. This four-course sequence provides theoretical and practical instruction and experience in developing and enriching entrepreneurship skills. Partnerships with the West Virginia Department of Education, West Virginia University, and Marshall University enrich both the project’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and its goal of developing future generations of Appalachian entrepreneurs.
The project will pilot ESHIP 1: Introduction to Entrepreneurship, in four pilot locations during the fall semester: Mingo Central High School, Randolph County Technical Center, Spring Valley High School, and Wheeling Park High School. Students will study and develop entrepreneurial mindsets, problem identification and framing, and design thinking, all whilst cultivating avenues for fusing their passions to their careers. In addition to the high school pathway, The EdVenture Group and partners are working with James Rumsey Technical Center in Berkeley County, West Virginia to create a school thinktank/makerspace in the creation of the Eastern Panhandle Community Innovation Zone. The space will provide existing and prospective entrepreneurs within the local community with business development and entrepreneurial support infrastructure to ideate, launch, and scale their ventures. The SWEEP project is made possible through a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission and support from the West Virginia Department of Education.
The EdVenture Group and SWEEP partners, Marshall University iCenter and West Virginia Department of Education, introduce the Simulated Workplace Entrepreneurship Education Pathway and explore the importance of entrepreneurship in West Virginia. SWEEP is made possible through a POWER grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
fostering self esteam in appalachia's emerging workforce project
The Fostering Self ESTEAM in Appalachia’s Emerging Workforce project is a regional effort to infuse entrepreneurship education into middle- and high-schools throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Led by The National Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education (EntreEd), The EdVenture Group serves as a grant partner along with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) and the National Center for Resource Development. As a grant partner, EdVenture provides program management, professional development, and curricular design support for the project.
In Spring 2021, EdVenture supported EntreEd in hosting the ESTEAM Pitch Series, a total of six virtual pitch competitions across the project region. Middle- and high-school individuals and teams competed in two rounds:
Round 1: Business canvas submission and pre-recorded 90-second elevator pitch
Round 2: Up to 10 teams pitch live via Zoom webinar to a panel of local judges
In total, 156 students participated in the ESTEAM Pitch Series, with 42 individuals/teams moving forward to Round 2. Across the project region, 19 Appalachian counties and 28 middle- and high-schools participated. The initiative awarded $13,000 in cash prizes to Appalachian youth and $9,500 to Appalachian educators to support classroom innovation projects. For more information on the effort, read EntreEd’s blog post. The ESTEAM project is made possible through the generosity of the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.
eqt stem days
The EQT STEM Days project provides immersive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programming for rural Pennsylvania students. Originally designed for in-school delivery, the project pivoted to a virtual delivery for Jefferson Morgan and Carmichaels Area school districts during the 20-21 academic year. The EdVenture Group developed a series of family-facing videos and learning activities that encouraged family engagement and STEM knowledge-building. Four modules focused on: 1) Coding & Robotics, 2) Design Thinking & Creativity, 3) STEM Careers, and 4) Augmented & Virtual Reality.
To accompany the lessons, The EdVenture Group provided 575 students in Grades 3-6 EQT STEM Days kits, which includes learning materials, STEM advocacy items, and a low-cost virtual reality headset. Over 150 families participated with and engaged with the online curriculum and resources over the duration of the program. EQT STEM Days development and delivery in Pennsylvania is made possible through generous funding from the EQT Foundation.
In Spring 2021, The EdVenture Group expanded the STEM Days program to Roane County, West Virginia, through generous support from First Energy Foundation. The program will continue to grow in West Virginia in Fall 2021 via implementation in Summers County through support from American Water.
[The program] was a fantastic opportunity for families to participate in engaging, authentic, real-world educational activities in the realm of STEM education.” Marc Berry, Carmichaels Elementary Center Principal