NACCE Press Releases,

SPRINGFIELD, MA - - September 5, 2019  - - The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) has been awarded a grant by the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation to support entrepreneurs in skilled trades. The grant will be used to host the Ratcliffe Foundation 2019 Pitch Competition for the Trades. Finalists from around the country will compete before a panel of judges at NACCE’s Annual Conference October 13-16 in Newport Beach, California. The judges, including Carlene Cassidy, incoming CEO of the Ratcliffe Foundation and current Professor and Chair of Entrepreneurial Studies at Anne Arundel Community College, will determine award winners following the live pitch. Competition parameters are open to all skilled trade areas, and colleges can win up to $25,000 each for a total of $75,000.

“The Ratcliffe Foundation is pleased to join with NACCE on this important endeavor to encourage entrepreneurship in skilled trades,” said Cassidy. “Encouraging and stimulating students through these kinds of creative events is the best way to keep job creation and entrepreneurship through skilled trades top of mind.”

In addition to individual awards for winning colleges, each school will receive a $1,250 stipend to pay for a representative from their institution to attend NACCE’s make/SHIFT 2.0 national conference June 3-5, 2020 at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. During this conference, winners will share their experiences with supporting job creation and entrepreneurship. NACCE and Ratcliffe Foundation officials will also evaluate the outcomes of the competition and determine if NACCE’s next Center for Community Practice should focus on the area of skilled trades.

In 2017, NACCE created a center of practice (COP) model, and community college leaders began working together to create resources for members. Establishing and participating in these groups gives NACCE members a conduit to knowledge across the organization and the ability to learn skills from others and share experiences. NACCE has provided seed funding and support to help many of these new and emerging COPs grow.

“NACCE’s member community and technical colleges have demonstrated a game-changing commitment to supporting entrepreneurial thinking and action across their campuses,” said Rebecca Corbin, Ed.D., president and CEO of NACCE. “From 2017 to 2019, NACCE re-granted over $2.5 million to our member colleges, serving as an incubator of innovation. In 2020, we hope to expand this work of creating opportunities for students and communities through entrepreneurship even further.”

For further details about the competition, visit:


NACCE is an organization of educators, administrators, presidents, and entrepreneurs focused on igniting entrepreneurship in their community and on their campuses. Since its inception, it has become one of the largest entrepreneurial ecosystems in the United States. NACCE has two main goals: to empower the college 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. The association represents 300+ community and technical colleges and 2,000 faculty, staff, administrators and presidents who serve more than 3.3 million students. Visit:

About the 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 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.