In 1996, Blanc was one of six New York City educators who traveled to Austria to observe an educational model called “practice enterprises,” in which students learn workplace skills in school. Upon her return, Blanc was tapped to launch a “practice enterprises” program in New York City. Nearly a year later, she piloted the program in six of the City’s high schools, where classrooms were transformed into business spaces equipped with workstations, telephone lines and computers and students were transformed into entrepreneurs and business professionals.
Over the past 25 years, Blanc’s visionary leadership has also transformed VE into a 21st-century model for career and technical education whose instructional programs have empowered students—many from under-resourced communities—to develop the academic, business, technology and professional skills that not only prime them for success in post-secondary education and the workforce, but enable them to build bright and financially secure futures. Since its founding, VE has touched the lives of nearly 175,000 young people from Long Beach, NY to Long Beach, CA, and Iris Blanc has been there every step of the way doing what she does best—educating, envisioning, inspiring and innovating.