The National Youth Development Council, a twenty five  year old advocacy group for youth services, is moving into the educational arena with a new program designed to give Boston area high school students work experience in the entertainment and high technology job markets.

Richard Smith, the president of NYDC, recently announced that collaborations have been established with East Boston and Madison Park High Schools to bring his organization’s Entertainment and High Technology Job Readiness Initiative for Youth (EnterTech) into those schools, with more schools coming on line next year.

In a nutshell, the EnterTech program provides high school students with hands-on training in sound recording and video production, using state of the art facilities and industry professionals as instructors to create a realistic work environment. The year-long program enables students to be exposed to advanced technical learning and provides the certifications they need for internships and entry level job opportunities in the recording and video production industries.

Rather than working on school assignments, the students will be working on real-life projects for actual clients, adding to the realism of the experience, and enabling them – with perfect accuracy – to list a number of professional projects on their resumes.

According to educational experts, this is the kind of education that has been eviscerated by generations of budget cuts, and the shifting of the educator’s emphasis from vocational education to college preparation, despite numerous studies indicating that many college educated young adults are not doing as well as young people who have gone directly into the manual trades.

A number of studies have recently challenged the long-held assumption that a college education is an automatic promotion to middle class status. According to a study published on the Slate website, the National Clearinghouse that only 56 percent of the students who enrolled in a four year college program completed their course of study in four years, while up to 40 percent of those enrollments had still not graduated six years later….leaving them without degrees, but struggling under heavy student debt payments.

The EnterTech program has an answer for that: delivering college level class work to high school students, giving those students who go on to college an advantage. Studies also indicate that younger students have a high completion rate than older students, so a high school student entering college with advanced placement credits is far more likely to complete their college students more quickly, which equates to a lower student debt.

While NYDC’s Smith is adamant that the NYDC program is not a substitute for a college education, the program was designed from scratch to enable the students who complete the program to move directly into internships and entry level job opportunities in the recording and video production industries.

In addition to the programs at Madison Park and East Boston High School, NYDC is planning to open a centralized facility in Cambridge either late this year or early next year that will expand the agency’s geographic reach while further diversifying their course offerings, to include other high tech job opportunities.

NYDC is adding the EnterTech program to an array of ongoing initiatives, including the agency’s long-running Arts and Entertainment program (pictured above) that provides instruction in music, dance, drama and art, along with the agency’s  Policy and Leadership Institute, which trains young adults to work within the system to change the system.