NEXT Steps Youth Entrepreneur Program

The NEXT Steps Youth Entrepreneur Program

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About Us

Who We Are

The NEXT Steps Youth Entrepreneur Program (NSYEP) is an award-winning, 501c3 private operating nonprofit foundation located in Atlanta, GA. It was founded in 2008 by Dana Jewel Harris, CEO of The NEXT Steps Small Business Incubator (NSSBI) and creator of the NEW! Community On Demand™ Learning Management System.

Our Mission Is Simple . . . Sort Of

As the official nonprofit partner of The NEXT Steps Small Business Incubator, we are tasked with implementing the Community On Demand™ LRNG Logic Model.  This means utilizing the Community On Demand™ Learning Management System with digital technologies, entertainment and entrepreneurship to create local learning ecosystems that provide effective business, curriculum, leadership and employability skills development.

NSYEP will be responsible for using the  Community On Demand™ Learning Management System to deliver basic skills training (employability skills development), meaningful work-based learning experiences, and empowering leadership development workshops.

NSYEP will also be responsible for creating career development opportunities that provide technical assistance, industry recognized micro-certifications, and the  work supports (i.e. wrap-around services) required to ensure measurable levels of personal and professional growth. 

Because our learning environments are designed to maximize engagement, strengthen financial literacy, create socio-economic awareness, and develop sustainable, purpose-built lives, businesses and communities, we are able to help learners: 

  • Define, measure, build and name up to 63 of their high-demand employability skills an
  • Transform their knowledge, capabilities, interests, STEAM skills and achievements into digital credentials, career-building opportunities, enhanced work-based learning experiences and social enterprises.

NEXT Steps creates custom Partnership Plans to help
business owners and community leaders
integrate employability skills development
into their existing curricula and training

The Community On Demand™ Learning Management System

Talent Pipeline Management

NSYEP is responsible for recruiting candidates into the Community On Demand™ Learning Management System.   The Community On Demand™ Learning Management System is a talent pipeline management system that uses the following six service lines to track and measure development of a learner’s high-demand employability skills.

Our Service Lines

Community On Demand™ Digital Media Network

The Community On Demand™ Digital Media Network is our media distribution company and serves as the central operation for our global marketing, sales, distribution and communication channels that promote the digital content, products, services, activities and events of the Community On Demand™ brand. The Community On Demand™ Digital Media Network integrates STEAM education, virtual currencies, cooperative marketing, e-commerce and flexible, blended-learning employment solutions throughout its operations and provides work-based learning experiences in emerging digital media, entertainment & broadcasting technologies for the JEM-TV News Channel.

Digital Badge & Skillcoin Rewards System

As learners use Community On Demand™ assessment tools to strengthen and track the growth of their employability skills, they develop an accumulation of skills cards that represent the skills they have, use and need in order to complete each project. This accumulation of skills become known as a learner’s digital badge collection (or STEAM skillset) and can be transferred from the assessment worksheet to a learner’s digital profile, task list or project plan. Digital badge collections are great for helping learners focus on a particular skill set that employers need. They are also great at helping learners organize their thoughts, actions and resources to create and implement impact solutions, develop STEAM resumes, fill out college or job applications, create and present business pitches/presentations and so much more. Because they are digital and use blockchain ledger technology, digital badges can be shared and tracked electronically through email, social media and other social sharing technology platforms..

NEXT Steps Online Training Academy

The NEXT Steps Online Training Academy (NSOTA) is our online learning management system that promotes, manages and supports the online courses, workshops, service-learning projects, crowdfunding campaigns, and the Digital Badge & Skillcoin Rewards Micro-Credentialing System™. NSOTA offers online and off-line instruction in self-paced and guided formats and support our key areas of impact which are delivered through meaningful work-based learning experiences and five achievement domains

NEXT Steps Small Business Incubator

The NEXT Steps Small Business Incubator (NSSBI) provides organizational development, operations and business support services (marketing, fundraising, and new business development) to help JEM Teams develop play dates, custom skills assessments, strategic development plans, partnership plans, integration strategies and custom Community Involvement Growth Strategy (CIGS) Models..

Pop Shop Studios Marketing Cooperative

The Pop Shop Studios Marketing Cooperative (Pop Shop) also serves as an e-commerce and loyalty rewards program for the students, volunteers, mentors, non-profit organizations and for profit local businesses that play Community On Demand™. The Pop Shop members work together to support the Impact Projects that address socio-economic conditions that may be negatively impacting the communities where they live, work, learn, play and travel. It helps us track and increase retention, purchase frequency, lifetime customer value and referrals among Pop Shop members. By earning ecommerce & loyalty rewards (i.e. trade points, Skillcoin Rewards, cash stipends, egift card sponsorships, and community shares), Pop Shop members receive free gifts, exclusive discounts, early product releases and other exciting opportunities for product redemption in the Pop Shop (our WooCommerce store). Our long-term goals are to:

STEM Direct Youth Chamber of Commerce

STEM Direct Youth Chamber of Commerce manages the membership program of the Community On Demand™ Digital Media Network. Membership in STEM Direct connects members to the internal banking and financial system that sustains the Community On Demand™ Digital Media Network and economic infrastructure.  

STEM Direct is comprised of the students, volunteers, mentors, non-profit organizations and for profit businesses that play Community On Demand™ to create impact solutions that benefit their communities.   All engagement activities of the STEM Direct Youth Chamber of Commerce are centered around financial literacy, digital technologies, entertainment and entrepreneurship.Therefore , STEM Direct's role is to create, manage and sponsor career fairs, meetups and special events that bridge the communication gaps between the education and business communities.

Help Us Build The Community On Demand™ Creative Economy

Join a group of people who care about the future and want to advance our groundbreaking advocacy, service and development to revolutionze STEAM education.

Do Better. Think BIGGER!

Knowledge Is Power

Those who know how, will always have a job.

Those who know why, will always be their boss.

Those who know what to do, determine the outcome.

Why Employability Skills?

The Crucial Component for College & Career Readiness

Successful careers are built on solid personal and interpersonal skills. Defining, measuring, and building these skills— even naming them— can be challenging. The U.S. Department of Labor created The Employability Skills Framework which breaks down employability skills into three major categories:

  1. Applied Knowledge – critical thinking skills and applied academic skills
  2. Workplace Skills – communication skills, systems thinking, resource management, information use, and technology use
  3. Effective Relationships – interpersonal skills and personal qualities

The Employability Skills Framework

The Employability Skills Framework was developed as part of the Support for States Employability Standards in Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Adult Education project, an initiative of the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education. Framework development was guided by CTE, adult education, workforce development and business organizations, and twelve federal agencies.

The Employability Skills Framework advances a unifying set of skills that cuts across the workforce development and education sectors based on an inventory of existing employability skills standards and assessments. As a result, learners, educators, trainers and businesses are able to measure nine (9) key areas of growth:

  1. Applied Academic Skills – reading, writing, math and scientific principles.
  2. Critical Thinking Skills – creativity, decision making, problem solving, reasoning, planning and organization
  3. Interpersonal Skills – teamwork, customer service, leadership, negotiations, and cultural awareness
  4. Personal Qualities – growth through responsibility, self discipline, flexibility, adaptability, a willingness to learn, integrity, professionalism, taking initiative and having a positive attitude
  5. Resource Management – management of time, money, resource and personnel
  6. Information Use – effectiveness in locating, organizing , using, analyzing and communicating information
  7. Communication – verbal, listening, comprehension, writing and observation skills
  8. Systems Thinking – understanding, monitoring, improving and uses of systems
  9. Technology – understanding and using technology

Why CTE Works

As a supplement for Career & Technical Education (CTE) Curricula, Community On Demand creates fun learning environments and meaningful work-based learning experiences to increase the technical and soft (employability) skills of K-12 youth, young adults, STEAM educators and lifelong learners.

CTE Course Standard #1

Employability Skills Development

Another gauge we used to determine the effectiveness of our Community On Demand™ Learning Management System is CTE Course Standard #1. This standard simply states that learners should be able to demonstrate employability skills required by business and industry.

Course Standard #1 is included in all courses for Career & Technical Education nationwide. Teachers incorporate elements of this standard into their lesson plans during their courses b using differentiated instruction to match the content of each course. Elements of this standard can be addressed with specific lessons from a variety of resources like Community On Demand™ and is advised not to be treated as a unit or separate body of knowledge but rather integrated into class activities as applications of the concept.

Produced under U.S. Department of Education

The Community On Demand™ Enhanced Work-Based Learning Experience​

Growth Through The Real World

Work-Based Learning is a school-coordinated, coherent sequence of workplace experiences that are related to students’ career goals and/or interests, are integrated with instruction, and are performed in partnership with local businesses, industries, or other organizations in the community. Work-Based Learning enables students to apply classroom instruction in a real-world business or service-oriented work environment.

Each Work-Based Learning experience is comprised of school-coordinated workplace experiences that are related to students’ career goals and/or interests, are integrated with Community On Demand™ and CTE instruction from the Workforce Ready career Pathway.  They are performed in partnership with local businesses and organizations that become society members of The Community On Demand™ Creative Economy. 

Work-Based Learning experiences created through Community On Demand™ will reinforce what the Virginia Department of Education refers to as  its 5 C’s — critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creative thinking, and citizenship — thereby allowing students to apply these skills in a real-world business or service-oriented work environment.

Listed below are the five work-based learning experiences we offer through a combined initiative called The Pop Shop.

An Enhanced
Work-Based Learning Experience

Job Shadowing

Job shadowing places students in workplaces to interact with and observe one or more employees. A job shadowing experience can help the student learn more about the nature of the job and the work environment as well as the education and training required to succeed. Job shadowing experiences are sometimes the first opportunities for students to observe the workplace and to interact with employees for more in-depth exposure to both careers and workplaces.


Mentorships consist of a long-term relationship focused on supporting the growth and development of students as they learn about a particular industry and workplace. The student is paired with a community professional who has a recognized record of achievement and first-hand experience in the occupational field or career cluster of the student’s choice. The mentor becomes a source of guidance, motivation, wisdom, teaching, role modeling, and support.

Service Learning

Service learning experiences enable students to learn and apply academic, social, and personal skills to improve the community, continue individual growth, and develop a lifelong ethic of service. Students are able to identify an interest and a community need while developing and completing a service project addressing the community need. Students complete structured activities before, during, and after the experience and then reflect and self-assess their achievements.

School-Based Enterprise

School-based enterprises are ongoing, student-managed, entrepreneurial operations within the school setting. They provide goods or services that meet the needs of the school’s target markets (i.e., students, teachers, administrators, parents/guardians, community members, community organizations/businesses). School-based enterprises replicate the workplace to provide career insights and relevant experiences for the student.


Students will exercise workplace readiness skills and maintain ongoing communication with others involved with the entrepreneurship experience. Students will complete feedback and reflection assignments that celebrate involvement in the entrepreneurship experience through certificates, assemblies, and media coverage. Students who operate their own businesses will learn how to comply with all local, state, and federal regulations, including acquiring all necessary licenses and permits.

Do Better. Think BIGGER!

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