Community Colleges Are Innovating and Incubating New Ideas And Companies

As the world changes, education moves to change with it. A new book on the power of community colleges to serve as new business incubators and innovation centers is about to hit the marketplace. Community Colleges as Incubators of Innovation: Unleashing Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Communities and Students by editors Rebecca Corbin, Ed.D. and Ron Thomas, Ph.D. offer a collection of expert contributors’ thoughts.

With the support of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), they “start from the premise that community colleges are uniquely positioned to lead entrepreneurial initiatives through both internally-generated curriculum design and through collaboration with the local entrepreneurial community to build bridges between the classroom to the community which in turn can offer models of implementation and constitute a network or support system for students. Community colleges can become incubators of innovation, a magnet for talent, and provide the impetus for development strategies that their communities have not begun to realize.”

At AM News, we hear about a lot of projects helping students to complete their degrees or certificates and get into the workforce. Colleges within the Technician Education in Additive Manufacturing & Materials (TEAMM) project actively work to advance technician education, particularly in materials science (and the adaption of ASTM skills standards).

TEAMM Network member schools are actively building makerspaces, innovation hubs, and entrepreneur research experiences, just to name a few of the concepts. In fact, we have profiled a number of them from Tennessee Technological University (TTU), University of Louisville (its Rapid Prototyping Center), and The Facility makerspace at Edmonds Community College.

TTU is consistently active in developing unique projects to engage students in an entrepreneurial way. Dr. Ismail Fidan is the Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on numerous NSF Grant awards to keep these college-age innovators on their toes. Check out two of the TTU entrepreneurial initiatives coming out of the College of Engineering:

Community colleges continue to adapt to the ever-changing job market. These entrepreneurial incubators and related coursework, as well as micro-credentials in the form of certificates, are providing students with more new startup ideas (and mentoring for those ventures) as well as work opportunities. If you wonder if today’s college programs are preparing students for the future of work and business, the answer appears to be a resounding yes.

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NOTE: The new book from NACCE is available on February 28, 2019. *Receive 20% off your preorder by using the code NACCE8 at checkout. Offer expires February 28, 2019.

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