The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, the nation’s leading organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship through community colleges, and the Appalachian Regional Commission will co-sponsor a regional symposium for community college leaders and educators in Appalachia who are interested in enhancing economic growth in their areas.
The summit, “Leveraging Assets in Your Local Community to Promote Economic Development,” will be held March 30-31 at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville.
The keynote speaker for the event is Randy Boyd, former Tennessee Commissioner of Economic and Community Development.
Chris Whaley, president of Roane State Community College, and Anthony Wise, president of Pellissippi State Community College, are among those scheduled to present at the symposium.
“This summit, which is open to all regional educators, serves as a springboard for infusing entrepreneurship as an engagement strategy among faculty and administrators,” said Rebecca Corbin, president and chief executive officer of National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, or NACCE. “It also offers many actionable and creative ways for attendees to leverage community assets to generate funding for projects, more effectively access federal grant dollars for programs, and advance K-12 partnerships with community colleges that advance local economic development goals.”
“For Tennessee to accomplish the ‘Drive to 55,’ our state’s mission to get 55 percent of Tennesseans equipped with a college degree or certificate, innovation and entrepreneurship are essential,” Boyd said. “All states have bold post-secondary attainment objectives, and like Tennessee, they also must have a strong entrepreneurial culture to succeed.”
The first 100 participants to register for the symposium will receive scholarships to cover the cost of the two-day conference. The summit includes tours of local businesses and innovation hot spots, keynote presentations from college presidents using entrepreneurship as a leadership strategy, success stories from local entrepreneurs, and networking with peers, funders, and industry leaders. All attendees will receive free entrepreneurship educator resources, including curricula, syllabi, and rubrics that can be implemented immediately in the classroom.
“We’re honored to lead the discussion of innovations in workforce and economic development in East Tennessee,” Wise said. “Pellissippi State has a long history of partnerships with local industry that creates educated graduates who bring relevant training and critical thinking skills to their careers and thus positively shape our community.”
Besides Whaley and Wise, other presenters at the symposium will be:
- Gene Coulson, executive director of the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education, West Virginia
- Angeline Godwin, president, Patrick Henry Community College, Virginia
- Ron Thomas, retired president of Dakota County Technical College and presidential liaison for NACCE ARC outreach
- Michael Torrence, assistant vice president of academic affairs, Volunteer State Community College, Tennessee
- Charles Eason, small business sector navigator, California Community Colleges Economic and Workforce Development Program, California
- Lorinda Forrest Meyer, program grant manager, basic skills and student transformation, College of the Siskiyous, California
ARC is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation, a press release said.
The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, or NACCE, is an organization of educators, administrators, presidents, and entrepreneurs focused on inciting entrepreneurship in their community and on their campus. 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. NACCE has more than 300 member colleges, representing nearly 2,000 members and approximately 3.3 million students.