Entrepreneurship and Workforce Development
Entrepreneurship at NCC is defined as a process by which an individual or team recognizes an opportunity, develops an idea around that opportunity, and applies initiative, creativity and innovation to transform that idea into something that creates value.
Our vision is to create a diverse entrepreneurial community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni that encourages creative and innovative ways of viewing and improving the world. Our mission is to infuse entrepreneurship throughout the NCC community and across all academic disciplines by fostering a culture and specific strategies to integrate and support entrepreneurship at all levels.
Our campus-wide position recognizes that while not every student wants to be an entrepreneur in the traditional sense of starting their own business, all students can benefit from learning to think and act like one. Encouraging the development of an entrepreneurial mindset will broaden a student’s frame of reference, complement their technical or disciplinary degree, and enhance their future marketplace potential.
Through a combination of activities— faculty collaboration, direct student involvement in the classroom, the development of online resources and tools, and creating events and competitions outside the classroom— the program seeks to infuse the traits and skills associated with being an entrepreneur.
The NCC Foundation provided funding for an entrepreneur-in-residence, Rob Chernow, for the past academic year, which resulted in two firsts for the College:
- • All 500+ public speaking students (a required course at NCC) learned an important entrepreneurial skill this Spring: how to create an elevator pitch to promote an idea. Through multiple elimination rounds, eight students ultimately competed for cash awards in the Foundation- sponsored “Got Ideas” competition during the April Academic Festival.
- • NCC hosted a Summer Entrepreneurship Institute. Twelve NCC students and alumni participated in an intensive 30 hour Kauffman FastTrac New Venture program over 10 weeks with the goal of creating a business plan that would be ready to present to Foundation investors.
Workforce Development at NCC touches the lives of corporations and small businesses throughout Fairfield County. Two-thirds of NCC’s degree seeking students attend the College on a part-time basis because they are simultaneously employed in our community. The majority of working students are employed 20+ hours a week.
NCC Career services are focused on finding paid internships and long-term employment for both current students and alumni; NCC’s professional career counselors conduct resume and interview preparation workshops along with an annual Career Expo. NCC College Central is an online job database accessible to both students and local employers interested in taking advantage of our educated workforce.
NCC is a strategic partner in two new initiatives which promise to change the face of local workforce development for decades to come. Rather than considering high school (9-12) and community college (13-14) as two distinct steps, the goal is to create a seamless transition by creating “9-14” schools.
Norwalk Early College Academy
The Norwalk Early College Academy’s (NECA) mission is to provide a practical, no-cost, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)-focused education that enables 100% of its participants to graduate with a high school diploma and an accredited associate degree in six years or less. It is a partnership between Norwalk High School, Norwalk Community College and IBM. NECA is part of IBM’s Pathways in Technology strategy (P-TECH); all students are matched with IBM mentors and all students who earn their Associate Degree from NCC are guaranteed an interview with IBM.
This 9-14 school is collaboration between J.M. Wright Technical High School in Stamford and Norwalk Community College. In addition to promoting academic success and career technical education mastery, this partnership allows students to have a head start in achieving their associate degree. Potential career paths include automotive, carpentry, culinary arts, digital media, electrical, facilities management, health technology, information systems, plumbing and heating, and tourism, hospitality and guest services management.
Both NECA and Wright Tech welcomed their freshman classes in Fall 2014.
NCC also has an Extended Studies and Workforce Education Division offering an array of non-credit courses ranging from health care and public safety to real estate, English as a second language, and college for kids. Students of all ages and levels of experience are exposed to new fields of interest or can enhance their skills across a variety of disciplines.
Networking and community outreach by the Foundation Board Directors has been instrumental in connecting NCC students with paid internships and NCC alumni with new employment opportunities. The Foundation also funds critical student support services for career interest assessment and coaching.
To experience the excitement of entrepreneurship and workforce development at NCC on a first-hand basis, please enjoy our “Elevator Pitch Competition” and “Alumni Career Panel” videos available here.