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Metro Newsroom

Mayor Announces Ice House Entrepreneurship Program Part of SummerWorks

Monday May 7, 2012

Young adults hired for summer jobs through the KentuckianaWorks: SummerWorks2012 program will participate in the nationally recognized entrepreneurship training program, Ice House Entrepreneurship Program, Mayor Greg Fischer announced today during a news conference at the Louisville Free Public Library, 301 York St. Joining the Mayor for the event were JCPS Superintendent Donna M. Hargens, Thom Ruhe, Kauffman Foundation vice president of Entrepreneurship, and Clifton Taulbert and Gary Schoeniger, coauthors of the “Who Owns the Ice House?”, for which the training program was named.

Developed through collaboration between The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative, Clifton Taulbert’s Building Community Institute an the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program is built on a rigor and relevance framework and is an interactive program that enables students to learn directly from the first-hand experiences of successful real-world entrepreneurs.

“I am very excited that Louisville is the first city in the nation to offer the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program at this level. As an entrepreneur, I can see the value of giving youth the opportunity to further expand their workplace knowledge and skills, to begin understanding the business model and finding their niche in the workplace of the future,” Fischer said. “SummerWorks2012 will benefit our youth as well as our community because we are providing 400 young adults with work experience that will help them gain job skills and offer them information about the world of work that they can use throughout their lives.”

The youth will attend the training one day a week during the seven-week summer jobs program to learn more about the fundamental aspects of an entrepreneurial mindset and the unlimited opportunities it can provide.

JCPS Superintendent Donna M. Hargens said the enhanced SummerWorks2012 is an excellent learning tool for the district’s youth. The Ice House Entrepreneurship Program is designed to underscore many of the values and skills young people are taught in the classroom and challenge them to use what they learn to shape their futures.

“Seeing the importance of critical-thinking skills in the workplace and understanding how business leaders think, establish goals and identify steps and resources for attaining goals are fantastic lessons for these young people to experience,” Dr. Hargens said. “Learning about the entrepreneurial side of business will help these young people gain an entirely different perspective on the world of work.”

Thom Ruhe, vice president of Entrepreneurship for the Kauffman Foundation, which sponsors the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program, said, “We are excited to see Louisville embrace this learning initiative and use this training to start improving the quality of its future workforce.”

This is the second year community leaders, businesses and foundations have funded the SummerWorks program for Louisville-area young adults. Last year, 33 employers hired 221 young adults for the seven-week program. The program hopes to double the number of youth hired this summer. Previous Greater Louisville summer jobs programs relied primarily on money from federal and state agencies, which has now dried up.

Another new educational component of the summer jobs program is the work-readiness training, which is better preparing youth to meet and work with employers. Training consists of youth completing a mock interview, developing a resume, and learning workplace skills and expectations, ensuring a better work experience for both the employer and the hired youth.

“These educational components through SummerWorks2012 are planned to open new doors and provide opportunities for our youth as we work together to increase the number of students who are prepared for and enroll in college or other postsecondary training after high school,” said KentuckianaWorks Executive Director Michael Gritton. “These better-educated, better-trained youth will become our future workforce.”

The SummerWorks2012 program is led by KentuckianaWorks, Greater Louisville’s Workforce Investment Board, in partnership with Jefferson County Public Schools Adult and Continuing Education through the KentuckianaWorks Youth Career Center.

To learn more about the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program, visit