Founding Story

Leon Tazel, created The Tazel Institute after a visit to the Minneapolis Juvenile Center in 2013. His daughter, Maya was subpoenaed as a witness to a fight between two classmates. What Mr. Tazel saw in that juvenile center forever changed him and put him on a path that led to the creation of this organization. 

To educate and expose diverse students, specifically young African American men to the inner workings of professional business in the many industries that make up our economy, Leon launched The Tazel Institute in 2015. 


The Tazel Institute launched with a short pilot program of four companies and two High Schools in 2015. The program consisted of about 20 students between Rosemount and Park high school. 

The students heard from a black prosecutor and judge, the honorable George Stephenson at The Washington County Attorney’s Office, H2bid Owner Glen Oliver, who was TCF Bank’s guest speaker, who talked about writing code and nerds always winning! The AVPD hosted students and the topic of police activity in the news was broached. Lastly in May 2015 we visited Bolander Construction and heard from the Director of the then MN Sports Facilities Association, and got to ride backhoes on the construction grounds.


The feedback was so positive that District 196 asked to add Apple Valley in
September 2016. The Tazel Institute grew from 20 to 85 students during 2015-16 school year. 


The feedback continued to be positive and we added two schools in District 196 and two schools in District 833. The Tazel Institute grew from 85 to 158 students during the 2016-17 school year. The future is bright and the institute is poised its' growth.