“It’s on and poppin’ right here in little old Delaware!” said Travis Smith, founder and President of Wilmington-based tech school ACT Generation. It’s Smith’s mission to spread the word.
A true Wilmingtonian himself, having grown up in the Southbridge neighborhood of Wilmington, he was first engaged in entrepreneurship by watching his family operate their dry cleaner. His dad also worked for DuPont and Smith says he was known throughout the city as a hardworking businessman.
When asked about his views on how he sees technology moving the city forward, he described how we need to “showcase to the world what goes on here.” He spoke about how there are so many great things happening right now around the city, but what’s portrayed in the mainstream media is an entirely different picture (we ran a guest post about this issue in 2014). He’s still very passionate when he speaks about the hope that he has for the next generation growing up here.
“We’ve got to use what we’ve been given to help younger folks flourish,” he said. He wants to help high schoolers and college students learn how to develop partnerships and explore different career paths in order to thrive as emerging technologists and entrepreneurs. ACT did this most recently with an event geared toward getting students into the field of mass communications. He credits his commitment to influencing the next generation to the fact that he’s a father himself.
“Launching ACT took an understanding of adult education, technology, and entertainment,” he said, and he wants everyone to have opportunities to learn an array of skills as well. He noted that at ACT, “we’ve got the opportunity to help people grasp knowledge.”
“We’re a for-profit that helps nonprofits learn, no matter what their budget is,” Smith said.
The school offers certification classes ranging from 12 hours to 16 weeks, and pricing can be anywhere from $100 to $7,000. It also recently launched a TV channel called ACT Boom.
Before securing a brick and mortar location, Smith’s first project was the creation of an “ACT Team,” which assisted a local church with audiovisual and technology. He’s also partnered with the Wilmington District of United Methodists, a group of seven churches, to host their signature “Let’s Get Social” events where they teach the ins and outs of smartphones and social media. Last year, the school was approved by the Department of Education as the first private business and trade school of its kind. It’s half-tech school, half-tech firm.
Like everyone else working towards building a better Wilmington, Smith says that they’ve got to “keep on pressing.”