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Megan Ballard will share the latest on federal, state, and private resources to help you support local small businesses, provide grant tips, and share best practices in entrepreneurship education.


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Posted By Megan Ballard, Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Tick, tock, my friends….the TAACCCT countdown is on! Only two weeks until single organization proposals are due, and a month + a day for consortium proposals. Last week, we had a great webinar with the Massachusetts Community Colleges & Workforce Development Transformation Agenda folks. This consortium of all 15 MA community colleges was a Round 1 recipient of TAACCCT, and they’re doing great things. Right now, they’re working with NACCE to integrate entrepreneurship into their program offerings. We also had a great teleconference with Christian Lagarde from Nunez Community College, a Round 2 awardee with a strong focus on entrepreneurship.

So how should you integrate entrepreneurship into your Round 3 proposal? Well, after digging around through the solicitation and the information provided by the DOL, here are my recommendations:

  • CONTEXTUALIZE IT: Tie entrepreneurship to whatever industry sectors you’re focusing on (see page 6 of solicitation)
  • KEEP IT EXPERIENTIAL: Identify accelerators or incubators in your region, and engage them in your project; remember, the DOL isn’t looking for classroom instruction, they want project to "focus on the actual experience of entrepreneurship”
  • BE CREATIVE: The solicitation recommends that applicants "develop creative and outcomes-based approaches” that boost students’ entrepreneurship skills

What about a stand-along entrepreneurship program? Sorry, no can do. If you look at page 3 of the TAACCCT Round 3 SGA Frequently Asked Questions, it says, "Programs that are designed to lead solely to self-employment or employment as an independent contractor, for example, are not approvable. However, program participants are not prohibited from starting a new company provided that the credentials and certifications obtained could also lead to employment with an employer.”

They hammer it home on page 4 of the FAQs: "Entrepreneurship as a strategy is broader in scope than a particular program resulting in a ‘Certificate of Entrepreneurship,’ or similar credential, or a particular employment outcome such as a start-up business, which would not be suitable for participants in the TAA for Workers program. The development of an entrepreneurship program should be done in consideration of a broader spectrum of possible career pathways.”

If you’d like to find out more about how Christian successfully proposed this at Nunez last year, he welcomes you to contact him at:

If you are interested in incorporating entrepreneurship, I also encourage you to take advantage of some of NACCE’s resources, including:

Quick Start Guide #4: Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed: Services and Support Systems: This week, I’ll be posting a sneak peek at a chapter from our latest Quick Start Guide. The full guide is available for purchase on the NACCE website at:

HowToDoIt Online Training: NACCE developed this six-week online training for entrepreneurship champions at community colleges to develop a comprehensive plan for sustainable entrepreneurship initiatives and outreach programs. The next session starts July 8th. You can learn more at:

NACCE Annual Conference: Join us in Charlotte, North Carolina, October 13-16 for our 11th Annual Conference. This is a fabulous professional development opportunity for TAACCCT project teams. You can find detailed information at:

Virtual Incubation Toolkit: In 2011, NACCE partnered with the American Association of Community Colleges and the U.S. Small Business Administration to establish a Virtual Incubation Network and to design a toolkit to disseminate information on how to establish a virtual incubator to community colleges across the country. You can access the complete toolkit free of charge at:

Our contacts at the DOL also sent me this basket of TAACCCT goodies to share with you as you prepare your proposal:

· Prospective Applicants: Institutions or consortiums that are interested in applying for the newly available funding should visit

  • Webcast on TAACCCT 3 Goals and Aspirations: This event provided an overview of the goals and examples from current grantees of partnership engagement; capacity building; and innovations in online learning and overall program design of classroom and online curriculum.

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – These build off of the FAQs that we have published for the two prior rounds and have been vetted by our legal and grants office colleagues. These will be added to as we receive questions from prospective applicants.

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The Resourceful Educator #2

Posted By Megan Ballard, Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hello again, NACCE Nation! I hope you had an enjoyable and restful long holiday weekend. Like many of you, I spent a lot of time in my garden, tilling and fertilizing the soil, preparing it for all the wonderful vegetables that will take root there this year. As I planted each small seedling, I couldn't help but think of all the wonderful dishes that will come from garden to table this summer. There's something wonderful about the anticipation that occurs between planting and that first summer harvest.

At the risk of leaning too hard on an over-used metaphor, the work we do in community colleges is much like our work in our gardens, isn't it? We prepare fertile learning opportunities that give future entrepreneurs a place to take root; we spend countless hours nurturing their growth; and then, when they are ready, we bring them from the garden to the community, where they become part of the local entrepreneurship ecosystem, helping sustain the communities we serve.

So this week, here are some "gardening” tips for your programs:

The National Urban League's "Jobs Rebuild America” Campaign: This is a $100 million, five-year effort that includes job training,  entrepreneurship support, and small business financing and resources launching in 50 communities across the country through the Urban League affiliate network. If you're not already involved in Jobs Rebuild America in your community, you need to be!

To find out if your local area is part of the initiative, visit today.

For colleges in communities impacted by Superstorm Sandy: The Small Business Administration's Office of Entrepreneurial Development (OED) announced a funding opportunity for applicants to "develop collaborative Sandy Recovery counseling and training programs to support the recovery and start-up of small business concerns in communities that were physically and economically impacted by Superstorm Sandy
in October 2012 resulting in the loss of jobs or small business instability.” For more details, visit;jsessionid=1hnBRn0K5ydybcy7LX1MjtQ9Kvk3TW0pKG1529y54lTBkpsVn5Lj!1703100315?oppId=230913&mode=VIEW. The application deadline has been extended to June 19th.

And NACCE's good friend Kevin Thompson from the Department of Labor passed along this interesting article as food for thought:

Persistent Skills Gap Hindering Economic Recovery in Cities; Promising Models Found in Norfolk, VA, Charlotte, NC:   
Amid a national economic recovery, city officials report a recent and persistent skills gap that may signal structural challenges and present serious barriers to sustained growth for metros. Nearly nine in 10 city officials (88 percent) note that workforce alignment has not improved over the past year, according to a recent survey on city fiscal conditions from the National League of Cities (NLC). Meanwhile, new business growth, as represented by indicators of entrepreneurial activity and new business permits, is showing signs of improvement.

Unlike most other economic indicators, city officials report that workforce skills are not keeping pace with employer demand and more than half of city officials (53 percent) say that current local workforce skills are posing a problem for the economic health of their communities. Moreover, 82 percent of city officials responded that the percentage of the population with a post-secondary degree has not increased over the past year.

Replicating Promising Models to Diminish the Skills Gap
A skills gap often suggests a much more complex set of trends relating to a host of labor-related factors, including a shrinking labor force, long term unemployment, underemployment and divergent hiring patterns, as noted in a recent NLC blog post. A number of cities are actively and successfully aligning their policies to address these issues. Examples include Norfolk, VA, and Charlotte, NC, In Norfolk, Bomberg pointed to a training program for highly skilled welders, which was identified by local leaders as a profession with
high-growth opportunity and a short supply of workers. In this case, business leaders and academia worked together to cultivate a pipeline of qualified workers for the area's naval shipyard.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors last October highlighted a public-private partnership between the city of Charlotte, Siemens Industry, Piedmont Community College and Charlotte Works as a best practice for workforce development. A planned expansion at Siemens required an additional 750 workers in just two years. In response, a European-style apprenticeship program was implemented for high
school juniors and seniors, which includes a four-year training program, associate's degree and certification.

Bomberg identified several other cities with promising models including in St. Paul, MN, Louisville, KY, Eugene and Portland, OR, and Seattle, WA.

Read the NLC 2013 Local Economic Conditions Survey.

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Welcome to NACCE's Newest Blog!

Posted By Megan Ballard, Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hello, NACCE Nation! Welcome to the first installment of The Resourceful Educator, a new blog by yours truly. Each week, I'll be sharing tips, leads, and insider info that will give you – the entrepreneurship educator – access to resources to support your efforts to train and sustain current and future small business owners.

Most of the time, I'll recommend resources that support one or more of the five action steps of NACCE's Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge (PFEP). What's PFEP, you say? Well, it's a framework – based on years of research – for community college leaders to implement in order to create a culture of entrepreneurship on their campuses. Intrigued? Visit the PFEP webpage to get the 411. [Does anyone still say that? And does anyone still use 411 – not the colloquialism, but actually dialing that number for information???]

Action Step #1: Create or Expand Internal & External Teams Dedicated to Entrepreneurship

Recommended Resource: NACCE's How To Do It Online Training

Check out NACCE's brand-spankin'-new How To Do It Online Training, which launched just a few weeks ago. As the name suggests, this six-week
course covers everything that community college educators need to know to launch and grow entrepreneurial programming and shows you step-by-step…wait for it…How To Do It.  The spring session is already underway, but there's still time to reserve a spot for the summer session, which starts July 8th.

Action Step #3: Engage in Industry Cluster Development

Recommended Resource:   U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration's Cluster Mapping Tool

This nifty tool gives you all the data and tools your heart desires for "assessing regional cluster strengths, business environment characteristics, and innovation assets” – talk about a great resource for that TAACCCT proposal you're up to your eyeballs in! And you are involved in your college's or consortium's proposal, right??? If not, read page six of the solicitation, and make sure you're involved in any upcoming TAACCCT meetings. If you're not at the table, you're on the menu!

Stop by next week, and we'll dive into the National Urban League's new Jobs Rebuild America initiative. Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

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