Inside ACT Generation- a Wilmington business and trade school [video]

 (Andrea Gibbs/WHYY)

(Andrea Gibbs/WHYY)

There’s more than meets the eye when you step inside ACT Generation. At first glance, it might look like an art gallery, but it’s actually a business and trade school for adults in downtown Wilmington.

The school is the vision of founder and CEO Travis Smith, Sr. He acknowledges he wasn’t quite the traditional student but found that professional courses, certificate programs and self-teaching worked best for him. It’s that kind of teaching model Smith brings to ACT Generation. “I’ve been an experiential learner for most of my life,” Smith said.

Smith, a former IT expert, draws from his experiences from professional training courses and teaching students as a contractor and employee at AstraZeneca. Participating in those types of educational environments exposed him to the importance of understanding the student in order to teach them at a level comfortable to them. “Every class that we do doesn’t start with technology. We start with generational work because if you understand how to talk to each other, you understand your contribution,” Smith said.

The goal was to create a cross-generational hub where adults of all ages could take professional career courses, learn the latest in social media and technology and feel comfortable, especially older students.

“Technology is not designed for a generation. It’s designed for generations,” said Smith, who believes technology is the way to bring generations together. “I understand the boomer. I can see where the millennial is going, so my hope is that I can help create a bridge.”

ACT Generation specializes in teaching adult students the latest in audio, communications, and technology. Hence, the name ACT. In addition to those three core concentrations, there are several professional programs.

Sharronda Boston, director of education, said the school offers everything from an introduction to Microsoft Word, to the basics of computers and the Internet. “We have nine certificate courses and the courses range from digital media to business support and e-commerce drone operation,” Boston said.

The business and trade school is just one part of Smith’s vision. Community involvement is another.

For those who have difficulties using the latest social media platforms, there’s a class for you. It’s called Let’s Get Social. The free class is offered on the first Saturday of the month.

“Some people have a Facebook page, but they don’t know how to maneuver it and how to really utilize it. So we take you step by step through Facebook,” Boston said, adding that it’s a good class for parents and grandparents to take to learn what they’re children and grandchildren are doing.

Also under the ACT Generation umbrella is ACT Boom, an online digital platform where contributors can upload and stream their original content, which can be viewed through a streaming device. And, there’s e-Discipleship, a platform for churches and organizations to stay connected.

All this and much more are happening within the walls of the ACT Global Center at 715 N. Orange Street. It’s clear from his current enterprises that there’s more to come under the ACT Global banner.

Smith grew up in an entrepreneurial family, his parents opened Sepia Cleaners in Southbridge back in the 70s. He said his efforts all started with them. So it’s no wonder that people call him a serial entrepreneur.

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