Together with DCF, OPP developed the Youth Business model in 1999, and it’s since been nationally replicated and recognized for excellence. Research indicates that afterschool activities like a Youth Business increase school attendance, parental involvement, academic performance, social skills, and self-confidence, as well as reduction in drug/alcohol use and future job absenteeism.
Students, ages 14-17, participate in classroom-based programs that allow their creativity alongside the development of new skills, including job-readiness skills. Youth design and create projects, working together with their fellow Youth Business classmates, and identify ways to market and sell their items. They also create resumes, participate in mock interviews, and learn key job skills like decision-making, teamwork, and more.
OPP operates its youth businesses in both Hartford and Eastern Connecticut youth centers. Below are the two Youth Businesses offered.
Each Youth Business incorporates life skills, (e.g. attendance, communication, and peer-to-peer learning); pre-career training (e.g. marketing, entrepreneurship and creation of a tangible product); and academic enrichment (e.g. math, critical thinking and problem-solving); providing youth with a hands-on experience of the correlation between the classroom and the world of work.
YBs are offered in 10-week cycles (meeting twice per week), and youth earn stipends for attendance and participation.