The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), the nation’s leading organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship through community colleges, has named Hagerstown Community College as its 2017 Heather Van Sickle Entrepreneurial College of the Year, at its 15th annual conference, in Tampa, Florida.
“It is a pleasure to recognize this outstanding college, which was selected by an independent judging panel, as the winner of the Heather Van Sickle Entrepreneurial College Award,” said Rebecca Corbin, president and CEO of NACCE. “Hagerstown Community College has done an exceptional job of infusing entrepreneurship in its culture and community and paving the way for students to think and act entrepreneurially.”
HCC’s being selected NACCE’s 2017 Entrepreneurial College of the Year is a testament to the leadership of President Guy Altieri. As president of HCC for 16 years, he credits the award to the college’s ability to respond entrepreneurially to change.
“Today, we are data-driven. While data can drive institutional direction, you have to test the assumptions that the data presents,” he said. “Changes in students’ needs and funding, economic fluctuations in the community, and employer requirements all are areas where community colleges need to be entrepreneurial.”
Over the past 15 years, HCC has responded to changes in the local economy to address the declining manufacturing jobs and build an educated workforce in emerging STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields, such as biotechnology, alternative energy, cybersecurity, and advanced manufacturing.
A new entrepreneurship program has more than 40 students who are learning problem solving, marketing, management, and finance, and engaging in internships that are giving them the opportunity to put their newly learned skills to the test. As a result of program growth, HCC is actively involved as an entrepreneurial partner aimed at community development.
Also at the NACCE conference, Ben Dillard, president of Florence-Darlington Technical College in Florence, South Carolina, was named NACCE’s 2017 Entrepreneurial President of the Year.
NACCE is an organization of educators, administrators, presidents, and entrepreneurs focused on inciting entrepreneurship in their community and on their campus. NACCE has two main goals: to empower the college to approach the business of running a community college with an entrepreneurial mindset; and to grow the community college’s role in supporting job creation and entrepreneurs in their local ecosystem. NACCE has over 330 member colleges, representing nearly 2,000 members and approximately 3.3 million students. To learn more, visit www.nacce.com.