Member Spotlight

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Joseph Cassidy

Organization: College of DuPage

Residence: Clarendon Hills, IL

Occupation: Assistant Vice President for Economic Development; Dean, Continuing Education and Public Services

First job: Busboy at Giordano’s Pizzeria

Philosophy: Life is short. Do something that matters to you and benefits others. Work hard, have fun, and enjoy as much of it as you can.

Favorite music: Downtempo electronica

Favorite TV Show or Movie: The Lighthouse

Most Recent Book (Favorite book): One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

What got me interested in my work: Neither of my parents had the opportunity to attend college. They made it very clear to me that education was a gateway to increased opportunity and personal growth. As I advanced in my studies, I began to experience a gap or disconnect between the classroom and the “real world.” I developed a strong desire to bridge this gap to ensure that education is accessible, affordable, inspiring, and impactful.

Success is... Iterative in nature. Some things can take years to achieve, and they seldom turn out exactly like you imagined. Celebrate the small successes along the way, recognize success across the total team, and connect success measures to serving your students, clients, and community members through continuous improvement and innovative programs and services.   

Pet Peeve: Inauthenticity

Favorite Quote:Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” - Edgar Allen Poe, or perhaps, better still, “The dude abides.”

Current Project: We are expanding services to regional startups and small businesses through the business incubator/accelerator known as Innovation DuPage (ID). Launched in 2019, ID to date has served 130 member companies through incubation workshops, mentorship, and events as well as through its three-month business acceleration cohort program. It has 40 partner organizations from academia, industry, government, chambers of commerce, and two national laboratories, and has provided over 30 student internships, cohosted numerous student pitch contests for both high school and college students, and recently reopened its coworking space in downtown Glen Ellyn. ID is a public/private partnership focused on leveraging partner resources to support regional small businesses.

Innovation DuPage and College of DuPage received the 2021 American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) top award for corporate/college partnerships.

What impact has NACCE had on your college's entrepreneurship efforts? NACCE continues to lead the effort to help community colleges understand their unique position to impact entrepreneurial education. NACCE helped our leadership understand the importance of entrepreneurial education, which in turn helped us build the case for prioritizing both innovation and economic development as institutional strategic pillars and critical areas to demonstrate our total ROI to the majority of stakeholders that are not traditional degree-seeking students.