American Student Assistance ® (ASA), a national nonprofit that is changing the way kids learn about careers and navigate a path to postsecondary education and career success, has recently announced a 10-year, $25 million affiliation agreement with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), the nation’s leading entrepreneurship education organization.
Through this strategic collaboration, NFTE and ASA will expand access to high-quality entrepreneurship education programmes, services, and opportunities for middle and high schoolers from rural, marginalized, and economically disadvantaged communities—both in-person and digitally—through school district partnerships, curriculum development and collaborative programming, and business plan competitions.
The partnership between ASA and NFTE includes a $5 million unrestricted grant immediately and annual matching grants of up to $2 million over the next ten years. With ASA’s assistance, NFTE will transition from a school-by-school approach to a more systemwide strategy of collaborating with states and school districts to more effectively and efficiently strengthen the number of schools, teachers, and students with whom the organization works each school year.
Speaking on the alliance, President & CEO of American Student Assistance ®, Jean Eddy, said:
Research shows that access to high-quality entrepreneurship education leads to better career and economic outcomes. ASA is honoured to enter into a new strategic alliance with NFTE. We aim to engage many more young people with their future planning through impactful entrepreneurial experiences. As a leader providing unique and engaging digital-first career readiness experiences to more than 15 million kids annually, this union underscores our commitment and intentional focus on the learners in historically underrepresented communities.
NFTE established the idea of the entrepreneurial mindset as a set of skills and attitudes that can be learned, practised, and refined through experience. It is the foundation of the nonprofit’s nearly four decades of work with youth from under-resourced communities. Its research-based, award-winning entrepreneurial programmes are designed to activate and cultivate the entrepreneurial mindset, enhancing college and career readiness and uniquely preparing learners for the future of work.
Curriculum development and programming includes NFTE’s new Exploring Careers course, which provides teens with exposure to a broad exploration of career opportunities. The cooperation will also help NFTE’s pitch competition programmes, including its high-profile business plan competition series, the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. Furthermore, the partnership will fund teacher professional development, research that articulates the benefits of career readiness programming through entrepreneurship education, and support statewide policies that encourage students to acquire entrepreneurship credentials and certifications.
NFTE, which began in 1987, provides high-quality entrepreneurship education to middle, high, and postsecondary students in 30 US states and 31 countries. The platform empowers students to be entrepreneurs regardless of family income, community resources, special needs, gender identity, race, or ethnicity. It has educated over 1.25 million students through programmes delivered in schools, out of schools, in person, online, and through hybrid models.
Chief Executive Officer of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Dr J.D. LaRock, stated:
This partnership enshrines NFTE’s longstanding relationship with ASA, a fellow supporter of the power of entrepreneurship education, and aligns our two organization’s missions to help young people discover who they are and what they love. I look forward to continuing our mutual efforts to foster creativity, success, and self-actualization among our nation’s youth.
Jean Eddy will join the NFTE’s Board of Directors as part of the agreement, and Dr. LaRock will be appointed to ASA’s Board of Directors.
American Student Assistance ® believes that all students, beginning in middle school, should have equitable access to career readiness learning to make informed, confident decisions about their futures. The platform achieves its mission by providing free digital-first experiences to millions of students, including Futurescape® Next Voice™ and EvolveMe™, directly to millions of students and through impact investing and philanthropic support for educators, intermediaries, and others.