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NWFSC Launches Youth Entrepreneurship, Leadership, and Mentorship (ELM) Youth Program

Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) is excited to announce the launch of a new secondary education initiative, the Entrepreneurship, Leadership, and Mentorship (ELM) Youth Program. Facilitated through NWFSC’s Workforce Development department, the 10-month program is designed to prepare high school juniors and seniors in Okaloosa and Walton counties for careers in fields that may be pursued through non-traditional academic pathways. Although the curriculum is geared towards students with an interest in entrepreneurship or careers in trade or business, it is not a requirement; all eligible students are encouraged to apply.

Participants will meet one weekday each month from August 2024 to May 2025, starting with an Orientation/Meet & Greet on August 29, 2024, and concluding with a Graduation & Awards Ceremony in May. The program is free to apply to, and there is no charge to participate in its inaugural year.

Meeting days will include workshop topics such as:

  • Small business and nonprofits
  • Local government/civics
  • Personal finance and business fundraising
  • Environmentalism, conservation, and restoration
  • Networking and teamwork
  • Communication (e.g.: Written & verbal skills, interviews, and business pitches, emotional intelligence)
  • Introduction to the health sciences and medical trades; public safety and public service; and the building, mechanical, and industrial trades
  • Physical and mental wellness
  • Local arts and culture
  • Future planning for education or careers
Throughout the program year, students will learn how to create a business plan from start to finish, meet and learn from community leaders and skilled experts, and have opportunities to earn community service hours through philanthropic events.
"At Northwest Florida State College, we believe in nurturing the next generation of leaders and innovators. The ELM Youth Program represents a commitment to our youth,” said NWFSC President Dr. Devin Stephenson. “Our aim is to equip the next generation with the skills, knowledge, and experiences necessary to build successful futures for themselves and, in turn, enrich the counties of Okaloosa and Walton.”
The mission of NWFSC’s Entrepreneurship, Leadership, and Mentorship (ELM) Youth Program is to create opportunities for secondary education students to engage in and experience various vocational paths, develop an entrepreneurial mindset, advance leadership and service skills, cultivate a lifelong dedication to community involvement, and equip the youth of Okaloosa and Walton counties with the tools to create successful futures for themselves, their local areas, and beyond.

To be considered for participation, students must attend a public or private school in Okaloosa or Walton County or be enrolled in a home education program. Eligible applicants must be rising juniors or seniors for the 2024-2025 school year and have a current GPA of 2.0 or higher. Participation requires guardian and high school approval.

The application is now open and can be found here. Submissions are due on May 15, 2024.

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