Workforce Readiness and At-Risk Youth

At-risk youth often lack critical workforce readiness skills. Entrepreneurship education advocates claim youth entrepreneurship programs increase skills and improve academic performance, but little research exists to support those outcomes. An RCE program examines the effects of entrepreneurial education curricula for at-risk youth on entrepreneurial attitudes, work readiness skills and academic performance.

It is expected that as participants gain skills, competencies, and positive self-worth, they will engage less frequently in negative adolescent behaviors. The long-term impact of developing the above competencies will be to improve adolescent outcomes and increase the likelihood that youth will become economically self-sufficient adults. Community impacts will include providing local employers with youth who have the skills, abilities, and attitudes required to engage successfully in paid work, as well as providing support to the agriculture and food systems industries. As participants gain skills, competencies, and positive self-worth, they will engage less frequently in negative adolescent behaviors that adversely affect communities. Community, state, and federal policymakers, program planners, and youth work professionals will use information gleaned from this study to develop, implement, and evaluate youth workforce preparation alternatives for at-risk audiences.


  1. Rutgers
  2. Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  3. School of Environmental and Biological Sciences