The EdVenture Group: Celebrating 20 Years of Service in West Virginia and Beyond

For 20 years, The EdVenture Group has driven change in education environments through creative solutions and nationally-recognized programming.  They’ve also provided more than $25 million in competitive grant funding over the last two decades.

ARC has proudly partnered with EdVenture for nearly as long as they’ve been serving communities. In honor of their 20th anniversary, here are a just a few ways they’ve used ARC support to affect incredible change in Appalachia:

Technology Opportunity Center (TOC) Expansion (2003) – In 1996, West Virginia launched a project to offer TOC, or computer labs, in middle and high schools across the state. During the school day, students and teachers use TOCs for research, career exploration, computer lab sessions to support coursework and teacher professional development. In the evenings, community members and businesses use the TOCs for hands-on training. Basic and intermediate TOC courses were also offered to the public free of charge and include 30 hours of hands-on instruction. EdVenture used ARC support to expand this offering into even more communities. In just the project’s first year, 364 learning certificates were awarded to local participants.

Simulated Workplace Entrepreneurship Education Pathway (SWEEP) (2019) – Using ARC POWER support, EdVenture partnered with West Virginia Department of Education, Marshall University, and West Virginia University, EdVenture developed SWEEP. This program provides entrepreneurial training, venture development, and career and technical education students across six economically distressed counties in West Virginia. By providing students with in-depth entrepreneurial training in a simulated workplace environment, SWEEP helps equip them with skills needed to find success within their own communities. Read our full story on this project.

Fostering Self ESTEAM in Appalachia’s Emerging Workforce (2019) EdVenture became a key partner in another ARC POWER project led by the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education (Entre-Ed). Fostering Self ESTEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) launched programming to create a culture of innovation in Appalachia. The two-year project reaches seven Appalachian states, 52 counties, and 75 rural school districts. ESTEAM expands best practices from EntreEd’s previously awarded ARC grant, America’s Entrepreneurial Schools and Colleges (AESC), to strengthen entrepreneurship education initiatives in the region.

In April, ESTEAM launched a three-round pitch series for 156 middle and high school students representing 28 middle and high schools across 19 Appalachian counties. A total of $13,000 in cash prizes were awarded to the innovate ideas presented by Appalachian students, as well as $9,500 in classroom stipends were awarded to Appalachian educators.

ESTEAM “has provided skills that will help us to thrive and become more productive leaders in the future. The process has developed our inner entrepreneurial skills to a level that allows us to be creative, innovative, and unique problem solvers,” said contest winners and Tennessee students Macey Miesel and Eden Reese. Learn more about their first-prize pitch, Made-N-Memories, here.

ARC is thrilled join The EdVenture Group in celebration of their 20 years of service to Appalachia. We look forward to the innovation, education, and entrepreneurial skill development they’ll continue to provide for communities across the Region.