Guardian Industries

Educators renew their passion for teaching while transforming the lives of their students

Youth Entrepreneurs expands in Michigan from 10 schools to 29

DETROIT, MICH. January 7, 2020 – Educators in 29 schools across Michigan are now teaching students how to use entrepreneurial thinking to solve problems. Youth Entrepreneurs® (YE), a national nonprofit organization, provides educators with resources at no cost to them or their schools to teach students entrepreneurial and economic principles. The educators then tailor a curriculum around their students, providing them with fun, engaging and experiential learning throughout the semester or year. The activities are hands-on and character-building, providing students an opportunity to discover their innate gifts and talents and how to apply them beyond the classroom.

“The students aren’t just learning how to start a business; we are providing them with hands-on learning opportunities that will help transform how they approach a problem and turn it into an opportunity,” said Stacey Brown-Smith, a teacher at River Rouge High School. “The skills our students learn through YE will help them make decisions in any situation, no matter where they go in life. I can see how they are engaged in what I am teaching, and I know they are learning.”

The program, provided through, uses an interactive curriculum and eight Foundational Values to teach core entrepreneurial and economic concepts, while also instilling key principles and character traits such as integrity and responsibility. YE students leave equipped with critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, a sense of self-awareness, and a principled mentality that allow them to be successful, whether it be through the pursuit of higher education, starting their own business, or as an employee in the career of their choice.

Established in 1991 in Wichita, Kansas, YE has expanded to include both middle and high school students in 26 states and today has more than 27,000 alumni. In Michigan, it expanded from 10 schools in the 2018-2019 school year to 29 schools in the 2019-2020 school year, highlighting the value YE brings to educators and students. YE’s expansion in Michigan demonstrates the importance of the program, the vast interest in experiential curriculum and how educators, through hands-on activities that teach real-world skills, are making an impact on thousands of students in Michigan and nationwide. The program is supported through national donor contributions and local corporate investments. Guardian Industries pioneered Youth Entrepreneurs in the Michigan in 2016 with several other area corporations following their lead as YE continues to scale.

“YE helps students learn core entrepreneurial and economic concepts, but we believe it does so much more,” says Ron Vaupel, president and CEO of Guardian Industries. “We think of it as a mindset: helping students to discover their own strengths and passions, to become life-long learners and to understand how to apply these lessons in all facets of life. They learn to leverage all of this in a way that benefits society by benefiting themselves -- whatever path they take.”

YE educators recognize the strengths of their students and empower them to succeed with real-world experience. And while some students go on to start their own business, the impact from YE is much greater. Many go on to college or become valuable employees, for example, 86% of YE alumni report career satisfaction and the unemployment rate for YE alumni is 1.5%.

“With the support of Youth Entrepreneurs and the tools and resources they provide me through, I have rediscovered my passion for teaching as I see the excitement my students have as they discover their talents and abilities,” said Randy Scott, a teacher at Alice M. Birney K-8 School in Southfield. “We are not only creating a curriculum to help students reach their full potential, we are also helping our students understand the impact they can have in their communities.”

For those interested in bringing Youth Entrepreneurs into their school, visit to learn more.

About Youth Entrepreneurs

Youth Entrepreneurs® (YE) began in a single classroom in 1991 and has since grown to inspire more than 30,000 young people to achieve far more than they ever thought possible. YE educators receive extensive online resources, training, and the freedom to customize a real-world, hands-on curriculum that benefits their students most. Rooted in entrepreneurial and economic principles, the YE curriculum reveals the innate passions and abilities within students so they believe in themselves and what they can accomplish. YE is a public 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is funded by private donations. For more information, visit


Jennifer Watkins


Daniel Cherrin