Business and Entrepreneurship Statewide Director Chuck Eason recently joined Dr. Rebecca Corbin, President and CEO of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), for a conversation about the sector’s internship initiatives with Nasdaq, Citibank, the U.S. Department of Defense, and other partners.
The event was part of the Innovation in the Energy Workforce series organized by the Community and Technical College Consortium, an organization that is coordinating multi-state higher education advocacy and collaboration. The webinar series covered energy workforce employment trends, clean energy, cybersecurity, and more.
Eason and Corbin discussed the role of community colleges, makerspaces, and entrepreneurs in the energy workforce. One of the main points both the B&E sector and NACCE highlight is that someone does not need to be a business owner or startup founder to have an entrepreneurial mindset; anyone can bring those skills to their employer.
“A lot of what we’ve been doing is around infusing the entrepreneurial mindset into all kinds of CTE programs, Eason said. “Students need not only technical skills but also business and entrepreneurship skills so they can be future leaders.”
Eason also emphasized how the B&E sector collaborates with many other sectors and industries, including energy and advanced manufacturing. Makerspaces offer a way to bring together groups of people who might not otherwise interact to focus on solving common challenges and creating new ideas.
Another goal of Eason’s is to increase faculty involvement in student internships. The sector has already started doing this through its partnerships with Nasdaq and the Department of Defense. Faculty mentored students throughout the internship and even completed externships themselves.
“Faculty externships allow instructors to bring real-world experience back to the classroom and understand the needs of business so they can pass that down to their students,” Eason said. “it’s a benefit for both students and faculty, as well as business. They will have the talent pool they need to grow and thrive here in California.”
Finally, Eason and Corbin discussed NACCE’s Make/Shift conference, which will be held virtually May 3-7 and include sessions on maker curriculum resources, virtual makerspaces, diversity in the maker community, and more.
“Makerspaces can go across any discipline, and it’s amazing all the things they can do,” Eason said. “We see the intersection between entrepreneurship and making, which allows students to really unleash their creativity.”