EnventU: Cultivating the Next Generation of Event Professionals
By Latoya Lewis, Founder & Executive Director, EnventU
How did you land your first job in the events industry? If you’re like me and many of my colleagues, you may have “fallen” into the profession. But how different might your career have been if you had access to a purposeful pathway to help you discover, explore and pursue your interests in events earlier — perhaps even in high school? EnventU, a non-profit workforce development initiative that I launched nearly four years ago, serves exactly that purpose.
Through EnventU, public high school students from underserved communities get an up close and hands-on look at the events industry. Business leaders and event professionals guide students as they produce a real event. Students learn about and make decisions regarding catering and decor, audio and visual needs, lighting, graphic design and more. Since the inaugural session in 2015, over 125 participating high school students have created and/or staffed corporate holiday events, trade shows and expos, professional conferences, and even a 3,500-attendee rock concert.
It has been said that the best way to cultivate leadership is to expose learners to great leaders. EnventU makes it easy for industry veterans to inspire the next generation of event professionals as guest speakers and mentors or as guides through the inner-workings of their businesses during vendor field trips. Some of the initiative’s partners have even created unique opportunities for learning for some of the most promising participants.
Last spring, EnventU partnered with audio/visual association, AVIXA ®, (formerly InfoComm) to provide students from Boys & Girls Club in SE, Washington, D.C. with hands-on in-classroom presentations, a virtual audiovisual learning opportunity and the chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas, NV to attend the 2018 InfoComm Annual Convention June 5-8, 2018.
Fifteen students received a crash course on the A/V industry, its businesses, career opportunities, and innovative technologies. Two students who participated in the classroom presentations, completed the 10-hour, self-paced virtual course and wrote an essay to demonstrate their understanding of A/V’s critical role in creating a successful event were chosen to receive the all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas.
As we gear up for EnventU’s fourth spring season, we invite more event and meeting professionals, producers, site managers, and industry vendors to Let Your Event Do More™ and join us in providing enriching learning experiences for students who might not otherwise receive such opportunities.