The Philip E. &
Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation

Pitch for the Trades + The Ratcliffe Center of Entrepreneurship & Innovation

NACCE’s establishment of the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation Center of Entrepreneurship & Innovation provides additional support for each year's cohort of Pitch for the Trades award recipients as well as the annual continuation of the Pitch for the Trades competition each year.

Among the first wave of winners, three schools are currently participating in the national EEVF initiative. NACCE is identifying mentor resources within its community to support each new cohort of participating community colleges. The Pitch for the Trades competition targets college programs and projects in the emerging trades and industries as determined annually by a nationwide survey of stakeholders.



2019 Pitch for the Trades 

In 2019, NACCE was awarded a $100,000 grant by the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation to support entrepreneurs in skilled trades.

The grant was used to host the 2019 Pitch for the Trades competition at NACCE’s annual conference. The overarching goal of this competition was to foster job creation for the trades and infuse entrepreneurship into apprenticeships and trades.

Sixteen teams competed in the first, annual Pitch for the Trades with 5 colleges awarded $8,000 to $22,000.

As of April 2020, these five colleges collectively:

  • Served 257+ students, preparing them for jobs in skilled trades, providing them with job readiness, providing internships, and supporting the creation of new ventures;
  • Leveraged additional funding of $46,500;
  • Supported populations at risk and provided positive social impact; and,
  • Increased visibility for community colleges, including a mention in Forbes Magazine

2020 Pitches for the Trades

Following the 2019 successes, in July 2020, the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation awarded NACCE a new partnership and $900,000 in grant funding to leverage a three-year commitment to collaborate with community colleges in building entrepreneurial mindset training and business opportunities in the trades and apprenticeships. NACCE, along with the Ratcliffe Foundation are expanding on our collective successes by growing training and opportunities in the skilled trades, promoting an entrepreneurial mindset and boosting job creation in the skilled trades. The annual NACCE Pitch for the Trades is just one way we are accomplishing this mission by providing real value to our members.

In 2020, Pitch for the Trades participants from across the nation vied for a portion of the $125,000 cash prize. While not all skilled trades project submissions could be monetarily rewarded, in the end, all applicants in the 2020 Pitch are winners; embodying the competitive spirit and innovation that NACCE members strive to achieve.

The 2020 NACCE Pitch for the Trades winning projects and colleges are:

  1. $32,000 awarded to the Entrepreneurship & Innovation for Skilled Trades Project – Lead: Arcadia Maximo, City College of San Francisco (California)
  2. $28,000 awarded to the Trade Technician Jump Start Project– Lead: Crystal Nasio, Barstow Community College (California)
  3. $25,000 awarded to the One-of-a-Kind Collaboration between Catawba Farms and CVCC– Lead: Gary Muller, Catawba Valley Community College (North Carolina)
  4. $23,000 awarded to the HVAC Partnership Pipeline Project – Lead: Kristin Gapske, Washtenaw Community College (Michigan)
  5. $17,000 awarded to the Beachside Bistro/NIC Venture + Trades Program– Lead: Ryan Arnold, North Idaho College (Idaho)

Carlene Cassidy, CEO of the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation said,

“We are very impressed with the proposals submitted this year. The entrepreneurial activity and training programs being created to support emerging opportunities in skilled trades is exciting. The pandemic has clearly not slowed these colleges as they continue to innovate and encourage entrepreneurial activity and job creation in their communities. We admire their leadership, persistence, and ability to adapt during a time of uncertainty.”

NACCE looks forward to expanding the impact of this program in partnership with the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation.