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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

2021 Pitch Competition for the Trades

Who is eligible to apply?

All NACCE member organizations are encouraged to apply. 


What is the maximum award per college?

Please ask for what you truly need to help get your project off the ground and to keep it going. The maximum award will not exceed $50,000. We encourage you to leverage the NACCE-Ratcliffe award with other monies to fully fund your project.


Who may pitch?

Faculty, staff and administrators from NACCE member colleges. At least one "pitcher" on the project must be registered for the NACCE Annual Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 3– 6, 2021, and be available to participate in-person or virtually in the final round of the virtual pitch competition on Tuesday, October 5. Either in-person or virtual registration is acceptable, however we anticipate that the competition will be held primarily in-person.


What level of commitment does a project need from its institution?

The project must have the support of your community college president.


Who else at my college should know about this project?

In addition to your typical procedures, be sure to confirm that your college’s grants management and/or foundation departments are aware of the project and agree to a maximum of 10% or less administrative management fee.


May an institution submit more than one application for a demonstration project that promotes the skilled trades?

Yes, multiple applications will be considered, however, only one team per college may be selected for a cash award. NACCE looks forward to hearing about the vast and diverse work you are proposing at your institutions.


What is considered a skilled trade?

The definition of skilled trade is fairly broad, and includes but is not limited to: industrial millwright, marine technology, welding, HVAC, carpentry & construction, aerospace & aviation, collision repair, automotive technology, diesel technology, truck driving, and advanced manufacturing. Strongest consideration will be given to skilled trades in high-demand areas.


What are the requirements of the pitch?

In the semi-final round, you have two-minutes to tell us your story; make it compelling and unique to your situation. Pitches in the final round are held to three-minutes. Pitches are to be conducted “in-person” (live or virtually) by a single pitcher or as a team effort. Videos may not be incorporated into your pitch. We are looking to see that your proposal is fiscally sound. We are not looking for a fully vetted business plan at this point. The scoring rubric that is being used for this competition is posted on the Pitch for the Trades page for your review.


Does the project need to have a fully vetted business plan behind it at this point?

We are looking to see that your proposal is fiscally sound. We will not be looking for a fully-vetted business plan at this point.


What are the criteria being used in the initial, semi-final and final rounds?

The scoring rubric that is being used for this competition is posted on the Pitch for the Trades page for your review. Competitive projects are those that demonstrate “greatest” economic impact on the local level with respect to jobs created, employment obtained, income earned and businesses launched.


Is outreach to students in the K-12 system to encourage interest in the skilled trades a project that could be considered in this pitch event?

Unfortunately, addressing the needs in the K-12 system is outside of the mission of the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation and the 2021 NACCE Pitch for the Trades competition and cannot be considered in the 2021 Pitch for the Trades competition.  Such a project sounds like a great long-range endeavor and we’re all about encouraging K-12 students to consider the question, “What does college look like and am I college bound?,” just not within the context of the Pitch for the Trades competition.

Does my project need to launch student businesses to participate?

A benefit of your project may be the creation of one or more businesses, but it is not necessary to participate in Pitch for the Trades. Our primary goal is to expand opportunities in the skilled trades and apprenticeships.


Please send your additional questions to Project Manager, Theresa MacLennan.