Prior to this project, youth entrepreneurship was an undervalued possibility. Thanks to the work of the kids, the message went out loud and clear: kids want legitimate work, they want to be valued as contributors and they want to succeed.
We opened in 1989 to immediate success. Two shifts of six ran Jersey Mike's, with everyone alternating roles to become familiar with every aspect of the restaurant. It was the first legal job for each young person.
The goal of NFTE was better performance in school, and ultimately in life. After several years of running a class-based program with our partner, NFTE wanted to move the lessons outside the classroom, into a sustainable model in the real world.