HUGE Announcement! $135,000 in Pitch Prize Funds for the Skilled Trades Available this Fall!

Posted By: Theresa MacLennan NACCE Blog,

During the 2021 make/SHIFT Virtual 2.0 conference Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation CEO Carlene Cassidy announced that this years' Pitch For The Trades competition will have $135,000 available for winning recipients. Following the announcement during the conference, past Pitch for the Trades winners shared about their schools projects, current status and encouraged others to apply for the 2021 competition.

“Find a project that sparks passion on your campus and in your community. The rest will come easily,” said Arcadia Máximo, Instructor of Construction and Fashion Design at City College of San Francisco (CCSF) and 2020 Pitch for the Trades award recipient.

The intent of this competition is to meet the economic, educational and environmental needs of communities by fostering job creation in the skilled trades and apprenticeships space. NACCE’s goal is to award as many teams as possible with an amount that will make creative and innovative programs successful. We welcome our long-term partnership with the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation. Together, we are building on our collective success by expanding training and opportunities in the skilled trades, which results in the creation of jobs across the nation.

Arcadia Máximo and the team at CCSF are pursuing their passion for providing programs, space and equipment for students in the construction and automotive trades, MakerSPHERE, entrepreneurship and innovation programs. The CCSF new NextGen Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program launched in Spring 2021. Winning the 2020 Pitch for the Trades competition lit a spark for Entrepreneurship in the Trades at CCSF. “We now have a new space and equipment and are being recognized as a ‘real’ program, just like nursing and other programs,” said Máximo.

Designing and building “tiny homes” using recycled materials and the footprint of shipping containers, Kaua`i Community College’s Dirk Soma, Assistant Professor and Business Program Coordinator and his team won the 2019 Pitch for the Trades competition for their visionary and sustainable Building Construction Technology Program. Professor Soma shared that by leveraging funds from the Pitch competition, Kaua`i Community College secured an additional $16,000 from donor Dr. Marjorie Fitting Gifford who loved the concept of sustainable building and mitigating the housing shortage for faculty, staff and students on the island.

Another 2020 Pitch from the Trades winner, Gary Muller, Dean of the School of Workforce Development and the Arts at Catawba Valley Community College, shared that funding for the one-of-a-kind partnership between CVCC and Catawba Farms is transforming the farm into a destination attraction. Students in ten skilled trades programs are gaining hands-on, practical experience in such areas as designing and planting lush grounds grown by the turf and horticulture programs, creating wine and beer tasting rooms that feature hand crafted tables, chairs and furniture, and custom branding campaigns for six new beers by students in the digital arts program.

When asked about the Pitch for the Trades, Cassidy stated that “Philip & Carole Ratcliffe, founders of the Ratcliffe Foundation, believed that inherent in everyone is the capacity to provide value in their communities. They would be thrilled to be supporting this skilled trades competition.” She went on to say that the “Ratcliffe Foundation has historically supported a lot of entrepreneurial programs at community colleges and universities, primarily on the East Coast, as far west as Ohio. We are delighted that the NACCE Pitch for the Trades competition gives us a much broader reach in supporting NACCE and NACCE members in bringing skilled trades training and entrepreneurship opportunities to your communities.”

We invite you to join us in July for an informational and “ask us anything” virtual meeting. Applications for the 2021 Pitch for the Trades competition are being accepted August 2 through September 8, 2021. Winners will be announced at NACCE’s Annual Conference in October. It’s not too early to start gathering your team, develop your project plan and craft your pitch! Complete information regarding the application process, the project timeline, and contest proceedings are listed at

For more information and to learn more about this partnership at visit the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation Center of Entrepreneurship & Innovation named center of practice at