Have a vision. Be demanding. – Colin Powell

Economic development

Partnerships In Equity Program

YMI Cultural Center’s Partnerships In Equity Program is designed to bring racial awareness and intentional cultural change into the work environment. YMICC is committed to partnering with organizations that desire a more inclusive work environment, with retention of African American citizens as viable and contributing members of their agencies.

Business Incubation


YMICC is committed to economic development and entrepreneurship for Black individuals and communities. Through this program entrepreneurs will receive six (6) months to one (1) year of business incubation support that will include business development training, startup and capacity building funding, as well as, mentorship opportunities. We are interested in you and your business ideas.

Workforce Development Program

The “HMMM” (Hospitality, Medical, Manufacturing, Municipality) workforce training initiative and business development program is designed to support participants with training to build technical and workforce skills. The expansion of this program is “Operation Gateway” which provides a “circle of support” that addresses barriers to successful employment.  In this program participants will receive wraparound services along their pathway to the workplace. This circle of services includes childcare, transportation, financial support, guidance, and re-entry skill development (e.g., resume-building and interviewing). 

REAP (Real Estate Apprenticeship Program)

The purpose of the "Real Estate Apprenticeship Program" (REAP) is to remove perceived and real barriers to careers in real estate for historically marginalized populations in the Asheville area through efforts promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The REAP scholarship program includes the cost of the prelicensing class, NCREA application, and testing fee (twice if needed), study guides, tutoring, Board dues, MLS dues, as well as joining fees for both. In the spirit of equity, we also conquer individual barriers on a case-by-case basis, such as transportation, childcare, technology, and study space.

Graduates of the program agree to "pay it forward" by mentoring new scholarship recipients as well as serving on the REAP steering committee.

Ladies in Shape 

Ladies in shape is a woman-led program that promotes healthy living through exercise and yoga. This exercise program helps participants at all levels fitness become more active, energized, and empowered to sustain independent lives. Ladies in Shape focuses on stretching, flexibility, balance, low impact aerobics, and strength training exercises.


Successful Transitions

Successful Transitions helps participants develop financial management skills and attributes linked to employability, personal and career development and the motivation to continue to learn throughout professional and personal lives.  Topics covered include wealth building, credit, and pathways to homeownership.


For the Youth

Youth programs at the YMICC will provide educational opportunities, community engagement activities, internships, mentorships, and leadership development for aspiring entrepreneurs. With these groups, adults will listen to students and help advocate and see their solutions through. Youth engagement at the YMI will consist of programming 

My Sister’s Keeper: Coming 2021.

For youth girls ages 12-19. This program provides educational opportunities to help young girls reach their full potential. Designed to help economically disadvantaged teen girls the space and opportunity to learn and grow in confidence and knowledge.

Positive Steps


Positive Changes is a program that provides enrichment opportunities for youth between the ages of 11 to 18 to improve their professional development skills through utilization of financial awareness, goal setting, and mentorship. Quality mentorship and community engagement has powerful positive effects on youth in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations. The youth are able to increase their professional development and team-building skills, which will help them enhance their entrepreneurial mindset and college readiness. Topics covered within this program include money management, career preparation, and team-building exercises. 

Cultural Preservation

The YMI Cultural Preservation section of programs are to engage, educate, and promote economic justice to attendees. Partnerships will consist of community members, schools, universities, businesses, and organizations as well as experts in specific topics. 

The Black Experience Book Club

The YMI Cultural Center and Buncombe County Public Libraries are partnering to create a book club focusing on modern Black authors and readers. will meet twice per month 2nd & 4th Thursday at 6:30 pm via Zoom and limited in-person gatherings at the YMI Cultural Center Suite A.