Building Blocks of Success: UNCW’s YEP Program Provides Skills for the Future

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

UNCW’s Youth Entrepreneurship Summer Program is helping young entrepreneurs build skills for a future career in construction. 

This year’s theme, “Construction: Beyond Brick and Mortar,” is designed to show participants the physical and technological aspects of the construction industry and its importance to the community. 

The week-long program, which begins July 8, nurtures the interests of local students who have the potential to be leaders both in business and within the community. Projects, field trips and guest speakers are all centered around a theme, so students are shown what it means to be an entrepreneur in a particular field. 

“We have formed a fabulous partnership with Wilmington-Cape Fear Home Builders Association,” said Program Director Cheryl Sutton. “They are very eager to have a youth component and are working very closely with us to introduce youth into their industry.” 

Participants will visit Kids Making It, a nonprofit organization focused on woodworking mentoring programs, and the Cape Fear Vocational Center, where they will see the high-tech side of construction. Students will be given the chance to work with a 3D rendering of a building under construction.

Students will come up with their own innovative idea and create a project based on the program’s construction theme and present their projects to a panel of judges at the end of the week.

“Students will walk through an empty space and their job is to construct something that would benefit the community,” said Sutton. “Whatever the students can imagine and virtually create will be their project. Each child will receive an award for their creativity and work.”

YEP is not just beneficial for the students in attendance, but also for Wilmington. The program introduces students to fields and trades that are important to the local community and its growth. Community engagement and building partnerships to increase community and regional impact are key components of UNCW’s Strategic Plan.

“UNCW is a nucleus of education for our community,” said Sutton. “It is our job is to take every opportunity to reach out to the community, especially the youth. The YEP program introduces students not only to entrepreneurship and UNCW, but also to their own potential.”

YEP is sponsored by the Cameron School of Business and BB&T.

-- Sarah Ann Craven