With our workforce on track to becoming 50% freelancers by 2020, current community college programs without embedded entrepreneurship are setting students up for failure. So what can passionate teachers and administrators do differently right now to help when their hands are tied by institutional red tape?
1. Inspire Entrepreneurship: “If you can see it, you can be it.” Bring entrepreneurship mentors from related industries into class or outside events to meet students and provide updates on industry trends for new types of work opportunities.
If a student interested in working in media enrolls in three classes that don’t lead them towards the correct degree program for their discipline, and is disappointed when they find out that the job in broadcast television that they are training for no longer exists after graduation, that’s a problem for the student and the school.
What if that same student were given the proper opportunity to assess their interests as it related to new types of jobs: drone videographer or online video marketing by meeting someone in the field – and they had the opportunity to study those areas along with the entrepreneurial experience to succeed on their own?
2. Create a Culture of Entrepreneurship: Hold entrepreneurship competitions on campus every year or semester, or encourage students to participate in StartUp Weekend.
Get students involved in the act of making a business come to life. Not only are students excited about the opportunity to turn their idea into a reality and show it off to the community, they are getting valuable experience on campus where teachers can mentor them and their peers can provide feedback, support, or even join their team.
Giving students the chance to do this while they are surrounded by a culture of entrepreneurship is critical to engaging them while they still have access to these types of human capital resources that will likely disappear once they leave the community college network, and they will have to scramble to rebuild or find on their own. This could be the difference between a successful business launching from an idea or the student just quitting after they finish their degree program.
3. Create Entrepreneurship Connections: Build informal bridges between departments with simple collaborations.
Entrepreneurs from any field can collaborate with media entrepreneurs to make pitch videos. This is a great opportunity for the students of all backgrounds to work together on an entrepreneurial project that gives both groups the chance to have some hands on experience in working “like an entrepreneur” which puts all of the entrepreneurial theory into practice on the spot.
4. Share Resources: Point to relevant resources and toolkits that students can use on their own time, and at their own pace, to help them educate themselves about entrepreneurship and the skills they will need to succeed.
Students have no time. We know this. They are working, or they are studying. But on the way to work, they could be listening to podcasts like “GrowthHackerTV” or “StartUp” to give them a sense of the stories and people and experience of other entrepreneurs. It’s important that they see the positive and the negative side so they can make the best decisions for themselves about where they feel most comfortable investing their time and energy at school.
And point them to websites like CreatorUp that offer on demand access to experts who can teach them important skills that they can plug right into their business – like creating their pitch video, crowdfunding, social media marketing, or even freelancing 101. Teachers can get started today by exploring our course library by signing up for our Digital Media Club.
I enjoyed NACCE tremendously as I do every year – and one thing I learned was that every community college is like an entrepreneur. Everyone is trying new things – and it’s critical that we share our successes and our failures with each other so that we can serve new students in a way that is sustainable for the future.
Tags: community colleges, edtech, education, entrepreneurship, learning, school, schools