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For some of America's unemployed workers, entrepreneurship is the path to reemployment.   In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, ETA is posting entrepreneurship-related content in this space all week.  Today’s feature is an ETA demonstration project called Project GATE.  Community Colleges are a growing resource for entrepreneurship education. Below is more information, prepared by the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE).

Community colleges view entrepreneurship from a broad, regionally-focused perspective. Depending on the economy, demand from the community, funding assistance available and of course, executive leadership, it can begin and flourish in a number of ways. Below are the three main areas where our members are actively involved in creating new models and improving current ones.


ACADEMIC: Traditional and cross campus curriculum
AA & AS degree programs are the norm. These include traditional business degrees as well as the newer entrepreneurship specific degrees.  They can also include 1 or 2-year programs that combine a program specific element with a heavy percentage (25-50%) of credit hours focused on business/entrepreneurship.
The approach often called ‘cross campus curriculum’ or ‘entrepreneurship across the campus’ is being applied to every field of study suitable for startup, from Auto Repair, Bookkeeping and Culinary to HVAC, Hospitality and Welding and dozens more.

Here’s an article from a paper in the greater Chicago region that preceded NACCE's 7th conference focused on cross-campus curriculum

Can entrepreneurism be taught?

Here’s an article based on a presentation done by NACCE members at Cayuga Community College, (NY) on cross campus curriculum and its connection with experiential learning. It was given at the League of Innovation along with NACCE’s Matt Montoya.

Learning by Doing  March 29, 2010

NON-CREDIT: Stand-alone classes, workshops, seminar series and accelerated courses
Isolated single course, seminars, workshops and accelerated programs such as FastTrac, NxLeveL and CoreFour dominate. In some cases schools have also allowed students taking such courses to later be credited for them.   Non-Credit is most often strongest where the economy has been hit the hardest by sudden shifts such as large layoffs.  It’s also tightly connected with the workforce development arm of the college and also fills a supportive role in educating current business owners with gap-filling education (Learning QuickBooks, social media etc.). Some schools that have good, close-by relationship with their SBDCs rely on them for much of their non-credit offerings.

COMMUNITY COLLABORATION: Partnering with community business resources (public & private)
Besides the academic and non-credit areas, our colleges are actively partnering with their local economic development organizations, universities and private business community to provide the kind of infrastructure to support the growing early-stage microbusiness community that lead to strong second-stages (“Gazelles”).

Being heavily invested in community business incubators and other broad economic development that support microbusiness development efforts is quite common.

Entrepreneurship Education Drives Economic Development and lorain

IRS Ruling Allows Lorain County CC Foundation to Assist Entrepreneurs Through Unique Innovation Fund and lorain

For some of America's unemployed workers, entrepreneurship is the path to reemployment.   In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, ETA is posting entrepreneurship-related content in this space all week.  Today’s feature highlights a partnership between the workforce system and the Maine Small Buisiness Development Centers, who together provide UI claimants with self-employment services.


The Maine Enterprise Option (MEO) is the self-employment focus of the Maine Department of Labor. The Maine Enterprise Option is managed by the state’s 21 One-Stop Career Centers to help those who have a specific business idea and are profiled to exhaust their unemployment benefits. Wagner-Peyser Act funds provide for counseling staff who first meet with the unemployed. Funding through Maine‘s supplemental budget provided funding for capacity building for the Maine Employment Opportunity initiative through various organizations involved in making the training possible. Career Center staff members have found the initiative to be very case intensive.


The Small Business Development Centers network based at the Southern University of Maine operates out of 31 different offices throughout Maine to provide business counseling, training, and information. They are a key partner for delivering training, counseling and mentoring services as a partner to the One-Stop Career Centers across the state. Their web site MaineWorks allows individuals to see training available and registration on line with the entity offering the training. This has been a great service to the state.


MEO services include an eligibility assessment, orientation, application process, training, technical assistance, and business plan development.


Summary of Key Benefits and Results: In the state of Maine the State Department of Labor, the Small Business Development Center, and the Maine Centers for Women, Work and Community have been partnering for several years to ensure that the Maine Enterprise Option (MEO) continues. They developed an Entrepreneurial Working Group to break down the barriers between groups who were all focused on enhancing the economy of Maine. These three groups have partnered to put in place an effective program that the twenty-one One-Stop Career Centers can use to connect those interested in self employment (over 3,000 since its inception) with the appropriate agency. The Small Business Development Centers work from twenty-five locations across the state to counsel and mentor those desiring their assistance. They also offer on line courses, as well as various courses at the universities and in their centers. The Women‘s Centers in 16 locations across the state allow for development of assets through personal savings or family development accounts that are matched to help women start businesses. Trainers are provided as needed.


Since 1995 MDOL identified over 93,500 eligible UI claimants.  A total of 4,026 have applied for the program, and 2,350 were accepted.


Lessons Learned: A state leadership team in the DOL, in the Small Business Development Centers, and through the Maine Centers for Women, Work and Community that provided leadership, advocacy and consistency for the Maine Employment Option (MEO) self employment initiative. State level leadership over a period of 15 years has generated enthusiasm among the program deliverers for continuing the work and empowering individuals to create businesses.


Personal relationships between the intake staff at the career centers and the small business counseling staff seemed essential for effective connection of the unemployed workers to the self-employment options. They have taken an approach within the MEO partnerships that no one can do it all but if partners do what they do best; the client‘s need‘s can be met successfully.  One-Stop Career Centers work to not replicate the role of the certified business counselors and the SBDC. They work to provide clients information so that there if No Wrong Door for clients by being informed of services available by partner organizations.

Through the MEO initiative, the state trained One-Stop Career Center staff to think entrepreneurially, and encouraged each center to designate one person as the entrepreneurship program leader to counsel with individuals, sign them up for the initiative and to send them to the small business counselors as needed. The MEO is just another tool the One Stop counselor uses to meet the needs of the clients. Continuing communication allowed staff to learn from one another and allowed the state leadership to understand the staff training needs that should be addressed as the initiative evolved.


The One-Stop Career Center, SBDCs, and other organizations work together to schedule training sessions for technical training and entrepreneurial preparation training so that there were some complete weeks allowed for individuals to focus on developing their business plan. Clients indicate that this scheduling was very helpful to them.


This post is excerpted from ETA Occasional Paper 2009-22, “Think Entrepreneurs: A Call to Action.” 


Learn more about the Maine MEO program here  

Learn more about SBDCs here

Learn more about the Unemployment Insurance Self Employment Assistance program here

For some of America's unemployed workers, entrepreneurship is the path to reemployment.   In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, ETA is posting entrepreneurship-related content in this space all week.  Today’s feature is an ETA demonstration project called Project GATE.


Many workforce system customers have the motivation and skills to develop a small business on their own, but they may lack business experience or more importantly the access to financing.  Project GATE (Growing America Through Entrepreneurship) was devised to help connect such customers to training and financial support to help them realize their entrepreneurial dreams. 


Project GATE was initiated in 2003 to help emerging entrepreneurs create, sustain, and/or expand their existing small business.  To help emerging entrepreneurs, Project GATE teamed Employment and Training Administration (ETA) training and assistance programs with economic development entities such as local small business development centers, women’s business development centers, local chambers of commerce, and entrepreneurial service providers, and small business loan providers.   To learn more about round one of Project GATE, see the final report here.

Because of the success of the original Project GATE, ETA awarded in June 2008 four new Project GATE II grants for the extension of the Project GATE model to dislocated workers.  Minnesota and Virginia received grants to provide Project GATE services to dislocated workers over the age of 45.  North Carolina and Alabama received grants to provide Project GATE services to dislocated workers in rural areas.   At this time, the grantees have begun implementation of their new GATE II projects and are enrolling participants.


These projects provide participants with information, classroom training, technical assistance, and counseling so they can establish and sustain a new business.  They work in close partnership with partners such as Small Business Development Centers, community colleges, and other service delivery organizations to connect customers to the entrepreneurship support services they need.


Would you like to learn more about how Project GATE states are helping workforce system customers realize their entrepreneurship dreams?  Check out some of these resources below.


North Carolina Project GATE website


Presentation on Virginia’s Project GATE (November, 2009)  


Presentation on Minnesota’s Project GATE (September, 2010)


We want to hear from you!  What are you doing to support budding entrepreneurs in your community?

Strategies for ReEmployment

December 14-15, 2010  Washington, D.C.

The Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration is pleased to invite you to join us for two days of engaging workshops, lively discussions, informative action clinics and collegial networking events focused on getting America back to work.

Our nation's reemployment system is more important than ever. Whether we are serving workers facing a lay-off, the recently unemployed, the long-term unemployed, or employers ready to hire, our workforce system services are in high demand. The challenges we face are significant, but together we can help workers find good jobs today, and prepare for
the jobs of the future.

Representatives from:
  • Rapid Response
  • Unemployment Insurance Programs
  • Trade Adjustment Assistance Program
  • National Emergency Grants
  • State Workforce Agencies
  • Workforce Investment Boards
  • One Stop Career Centers
  • Registered Apprenticeship Programs
  • Employers
  • Organized Labor & Labor Management Organizations
  • Education And Training Institutions
  • Economic Development Organizations
  • Social Service Agencies and Community Partners
  • National And Community Philanthropic Organizations
  • Federal Departments and Agencies
  • Reemployment And Job Creation Thought Leaders
  • And Many More!