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The Warehouse opens RISE Innovation Center

Quinn Kirkpatrick
Delaware Public Media

A teen community center on Wilmington’s East Side gains a new tool to bolster its workforce development efforts.

The new RISE Innovation Center at The Warehouse is the latest addition to the 12-week RISE program for ages 14 through 24.

The space dedicated to creation. It allows students to apply the business tactics learned in the RISE program to creative and entrepreneurial ventures.

The Warehouse’s Director of Operations Wenona Sutton says the Innovation Space is currently dedicated to clothing design.

“With our apparel academy, youth are learning entrepreneurial skills,” she explained. “They’re learning how to create their own brands, clothing brands, where they're able to learn not just how to open a brand and set up a business- but resilience, as well. They’re learning how to complete a goal. They’re learning how to create.”

She adds in many cases it’s not the lack of tenacity that stops a teen from achieving their goals, but a lack of resources.

The new space will also be used as an incubator to allow RISE students to continue utilizing The Warehouse’s resources to help them successfully launch businesses.

Aliyah Patterson is the Vice President of The Warehouse’s Teen Executive Committee and a graduate of the RISE program.

“I really want all of the teens to get the same experience that I’ve gotten out of The Warehouse,” said Patterson. “I want them to be able to place their words better. I want them to be able to market themselves, broadcast themselves in any way possible. And just be confident in themselves. Because that’s one thing that’s really lacked in this area, as well.”

Over 300 students have been employed through the RISE program since its 2021 launch.

Funding for the RISE Innovation Center came from the state, the City of Wilmington and various private and corporate donors such as the J.P. Morgan & Chase Foundation, the Kullman Family Foundation, and M&T Bank.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021.