2022 NACCE Pitch for the Trades Winners

Presented in Partnership with the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation


March 16, 2022: Informational Webinar - View the recording below!

April 22, 2022: Application period opens. A link to the application will be live on this site.

September 9, 2022, 5:00 PM, PT: Application deadline. Applications submitted should include a 1-page detailed budget, college name and mailing address, lead contact, project title, 3-line project description, and the amount of funding needed to launch your project. To be eligible, your college must be a NACCE member and at least one-person from the pitch/project team must be registered to attend NACCE 2022, October 2-5, either in-person or virtually. 

September 12, 2022, 5:00 PM, ET: Semi-finalists announced. Semi-final teams will pitch virtually on September 15 before a judging panel that includes peer reviewers from previous Pitch for the Trades award recipients. Virtual meeting details will be sent to semi-finalists after announcement.

September 15, 2022: Semi-final virtual competition. Each team will have 5-minutes to pitch, and 3-minutes for Q & A. This is your team’s opportunity to expand your story and give details about the challenge your project is working to solve and its economic impact: How many students will be served? What are the anticipated numbers of jobs created? What type of employment is obtained? What is the income earned and is it a living-wage? How many businesses will be launched? Tell us why this project matters to your community. Remember, this is your time to use your public speaking, communications and entrepreneurial thinking skills to pitch your story. Make it compelling and engaging!

September 16, 2022, 5:00 PM, ETFinal team selection announced. Top 5-6 teams selected will advance to the final Pitch for the Trades competition. We are hopeful you are able to join us in-person in Boston, however, if that is not an option, we will ensure you are able to pitch virtually.

October 3, 2022: The finalists’ 3-minute pitches will be presented to a panel of in-person judges and NACCE conference attendees on MONDAY, October 3rd at the NACCE 20th Annual Conference (Boston, Massachusetts, and streamed to virtual attendees). All finalists must be available for this live round that includes a 5-minute Q & A session and for the award announcements, which will take place in a subsequent main-stage session. Virtual accommodations will be made for presenters who are unable to participate in-person. Time of sessions TBA.

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 Boston, MA, October 2-5, 2022, and be available to participate in-person or virtually in the final round of the virtual pitch competition. 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.

We want you to be as prepared as possible when you complete and submit your application! Here is an overview of the questions to answer:

  • Contact information for the application & institution

  • Pitch Project Title

  • Pitch Project Description (short overview)

  • What problem or challenge is this project working to solve for the institution and/or community?

  • How might your project provide a solution to the problem or challenge?

  • How much funding is required to execute your project?

  • What is the anticipated timeline?

  • How will the project be sustained in the future?

  • How many students will be served?

  • How many jobs will be created?

  • Will any businesses be launched and if so, how many?

  • What skills will students gain to help become financially independent?



Explore Winning Projects from Previous Competitions

2019 2020 2021


View 2022's Pitch for the Trades Ask-Me-Anything Webinar.
View the 2021 Pitch for the Trades Competition
at #NACCE2021. Awards were announced the
same day, in the afternoon session


For more information about Pitch for the Skilled Trades, contact the NACCE team.