Five Colleges Win NACCE’s 2021 Pitch for the Trades Competition in Minneapolis

NACCE Press Releases,

What do compost, virtual reality job training and career discovery, horses, truck driving and employability skills all have in common? Each concept was a winner at the 3rd Annual NACCE Pitch for the Trades competition hosted in partnership with the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation. Each college battled for a portion of $135,000 to target their college’s skilled trades initiative at the Annual NACCE conference in Minnesota on October 5.

"The 2021 Ratcliffe Pitch for the Trades competition was hands down one of the most exciting engagements in this year’s annual conference. The judges and the audience were wowed and intrigued by the creative approaches that competing faculty took with infusing entrepreneurship into a diverse number of skilled trades that spanned from agriculture to more traditional trades.

The five distinguished judges asked excellent questions and all the winners received the opportunity to be mentored by one of the judges, in addition to a cash prize. Hats-off to Ratcliffe Foundation’s CEO Carlene Cassidy for her vision for this project and her generous board for making this possible,” said Rebecca Corbin, president and CEO of NACCE.

Congratulations to the five winning colleges in the 2021 Pitch for the Trades competition:

$45,000 | Snow College (UT) Snow-ganics Compost / Lead: Russ Tanner
Mentor Dirk Soma, Kaua`i Community College

$40,000 | Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TN)
Skilled Trades Hero - Becoming an Entrepreneurial Rock Star / Lead: Becky Russell
Mentors: Carlene Cassidy, CEO Ratcliffe Foundation & Erica Lock, VP Blackstone Charitable Foundation

$25,000 | Hocking College (OH) Entrepreneurship in Farrier Science
Lead: Dan Kelley. Mentor, Bryon Mattimore, author and co-founder of The Growth Engine Innovation Agency

$17,500 | Salt Lake Community College (UT) Truck Driving Entrepreneurship / Lead: Jon Beutler
Mentor: Jerry Edmonds, VP Vance-Granville Community College

$7,500 | North Iowa Area Community College (IA) Clean Slate Employability / Lead: Melinda McGregor
Mentor: Jerry Edmonds, VP Vance-Granville Community College

During the Pitch, online and virtual attendees voted for their favorite presenters. Congratulations to TCAT for winning a BONUS $1,000 and the title of 2021 Fan Favorite! 

Carlene Cassidy, CEO of the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation said, “We are very impressed with the unique ideas that solved a local problem or filled a gap and involved collaboration with partners across campus and in the community. The level of preparation, enthusiasm, and institutional support was outstanding. We are looking forward to seeing these programs launched.” 

The winners of the 2021 Pitch for the Trades competition exemplify the Pitch initiative’s goal of fostering job creation in the skilled trades by expanding the entrepreneurial mindset and business opportunities in the trades and apprenticeships. Teams created a buzz at the conference and across the virtual world for the skilled trades and the impactful work community and technical colleges are doing in creating hope, opportunity and in furthering equity and social programs.

NACCE is an organization of educators, administrators, presidents and entrepreneurs focused on igniting entrepreneurship in their communities and campuses. NACCE has two main goals: to empower college leaders to approach the business of running a community college with an entrepreneurial mindset and to grow the community college's role in supporting job creation and entrepreneurs in their local ecosystem. NACCE unites a dynamic network of community colleges. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter at @NACCE, like us on Facebook, and join our LinkedIn group.

About the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation
The Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation is a charitable organization designed to encourage and reward entrepreneurship, create jobs, and expand economic opportunity. Based in the Annapolis, Maryland, the foundation provides funds to institutions to encourage entrepreneurship in non-traditional business fields such as the arts, design, health care, environmental science, aquaculture and skilled trades. The Ratcliffe Foundation strives to integrate its programs with local communities through mentorships and business involvement. Visit: