The need for high school entrepreneurship programs finds voice in many popular surveys. A recent Young Entrepreneur Foundation survey disclosed that 90 percent of teachers and guidance counselors find their students interested in becoming entrepreneurs, but 75 percent of them say their students have no idea where to turn. Sixty-four percent of surveyed teachers and guidance counselors favored high school classes in entrepreneurship, as it would provide students with the basic knowledge of running a business. Another recent Gallup Poll shows that 69 percent of high school students want to start a business, but 84 percent of those surveyed report as having no preparation to do so.
Entrepreneur education at high school level traditionally constituted a part of vocational education, which always catered to the employment needs of the local businesses. Over time, the focus of vocational training changed from preparing people for supervisory positions in nonprofessional occupations, to training people to serve agro and rural industries. Then to training people for jobs in industries and, more recently, preparing people for jobs in the information and service economy.
At a local level, vocational centers would focus on providing competence to suit the workforce demands of any major industry that moved in to the area. By the 1980s, when the scope for employment in big factories started diminishing, and the potential of small businesses started to become apparent, vocational educators began to look at entrepreneurship education as a medium of human capital development. The state decided specific programs to offer.
The exposure to entrepreneurship at the vocational curriculum level however, does not match demand, for a US Department of Commerce study shows that only 27 percent of students were able to take a class that taught this subject, when 85 percent of students surveyed wanted schools to teach more.