skip to main content
Return to Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy home page

« back to eShowcase

Practices with Promise Workforce Outcomes eShowcase

Learn how »

Practices with Promise Success Story

Submitted By: Lorinda Forrest, Small Business DSN, Central Valley & Mother Lode

Growing an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

  • Type of Practice: Student Engagement and Career Awareness
  • Type(s) of Users Served: Apprenticeship, Associate Degree Students, Counselors/Supporting Staff to Student, Faculty/Teachers, First-time Students, Higher Unit Certificate Students, Lifelong Learning Students, Pre-Apprenticeship
  • Sector(s): Small Business
  • Momentum Point(s) & Leading Indicators : MP 34, LI 1, LI 6, LI 7 (click here for description)
  • Regions Involved: Central Valley, Mother Lode
  • Colleges Involved:

The Challenge

As is the case in regions nationwide, the Central Valley / Mother Lode region experiences two seemingly separate, but intricately woven issues:
1. Students are not engaged in learning.
2. Employers cite a lack of soft skills high in their struggles for find qualified workers.

The Solution

An entrepreneurial mindset, with its focus on celebrating and encouraging self-generated ideas and light-bulb ingenuity, empowers both students and workers.

Students learning entrepreneurship are engaged and participation is an active, integral component of the process. It changes how they think about their place in the community.

Soft skills from an entrepreneurial mindset + technical skills + work-based learning = 21st Century Worker.

Workers with an entrepreneurial mindset are much more valuable to employers. Entrepreneurism teaches the soft skills employers say is inordinately lacking in today’s pool of available workers and a deterrent to hiring. Teaching entrepreneurship creates an “intrapreneuer”, a worker within an organization who thinks outside the box to make systems better.

The Small Business Sector of the Central Valley / Mother Lode Region of Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy, under the direction of Lorinda Forrest, is engaging in a host of activities to promote an “entrepreneurial ecosystem.” This is a community focused on entrepreneurial success with entities including (but not limited to) entrepreneurs, government, schools, students, private sector, private foundations, Chambers of Commerce, SBDCs, family businesses, investors, banks, social leaders, research centers, military, labor representatives, lawyers, cooperatives, and international aid agencies.

Tactics include:

1. Central Valley Grows Business, a resource website for students, educators and the business community for all things entrepreneurship
2. Eship Educator, a free curriculum-sharing website community designed specifically for entrepreneur educators
3. Collaboration with California State University at Fresno’s Lyles Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship to grow the Community College Entrepreneur Pathway (CCEP) professional development program for college faculty. Students of CCEP faculty receive expedited articulation to Fresno State’s entrepreneur degree program.
4. Social media presence, with a Facebook Page and a Twitter handle, both under “Central Valley Grows Business.”
5. Student pitch competitions that flowed into a statewide “Get a Taste of Success” Business Plan Pitch Competition.
6. Educators Cultivating Entrepreneurship Summit. This Summit was the impetus for a statewide Small Business Educators Symposium planned for Feb 18 & 19, 2016.
7. Recruiting college presidents to sign the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship President's Pledge for Entrepreneurship, which calls on colleges to create or expand internal & external teams dedicated to entrepreneurship, increase entrepreneurs' engagement in community colleges, engage in industry cluster development, leverage both community college and community assets to spur innovation and job creation, create buzz and broad exposure of the college's commitment to entrepreneurship.


As part of the strategic vision, the outcomes anticipated as a result of the above projects include:

• Improved access to best-practice curriculum by faculty
• More and better faculty interaction statewide related to infusing entrepreneurship and the entrepreneur mindset
• Higher engagement outcomes with students through learning the entrepreneur mindset (soft skills) and via business pitch competitions
• Higher levels of employer satisfaction related to improved soft skills and work readiness by students

The Data

Many of the strategies are recently launched or in the beta stage, so data is still being collected. However, below are some early results from the outcomes to date:
• In the first month after launching eShip Educator, it has more than 100 active users
• More than 125 students participated in the first year’s business pitch competitions in the region
• 34 faculty across the state participated in the Community College Entrepreneurship Pathway training

Supporting Information

Central Valley Grows Business Website

Eship Educator

Central Valley Grows Business Facebook Page

Get a Taste of Success Business Plan Pitch Competition

Small Business Educators Symposium

« back to eShowcase


Common Metrics

Leading Indicators

LI 1 Alignment of skillsets within a program (or set of courses) to a particular occupation and the needs of the labor market
LI 2 Regionalization of stackable certificates aligned with a particular occupation ladder
LI 3 Alignment of a certificate with state-, industry-, nationally-, and/or employer- recognized certification
LI 4 Creation of a credit certificate from non-credit certificate
LI 5 Curriculum articulation along a career or multi-career educational pathway
LI 6 Updating the skills of faculty, teachers, counselors, and/or “supporting staff to student” to reflect labor market needs
LI 7 Integration of small business creation and/or exporting modules into for-credit curriculum in other disciplines

Momentum Points

Middle School Cluster
MP 1Completed an individual career and skills awareness workshop in middle school that included a normed assessment process and was in a Doing What Matters priority or emerging sector
Transition from Middle School to High School
MP 2Completed a bridge program between middle school and high school and revised student career/education plan
MP 3Completed a student orientation and assessment program while in middle school or high school
High School Cluster
MP 4Completed one course in high school within a CTE pathway
MP 5Completed two or more courses in high school within a CTE pathway
MP 6Completed a CTE articulated course
MP 6aSuccessfully completed a CTE dual enrollment course or credit by exam, with receipt of transcripted credits
MP 7Completed a program in high school within a CTE pathway
Transition from High School to College Cluster
MP 8Completed a bridge program between high school and college in a CTE pathway
MP 9Completed college orientation and assessment as a first-time community college student who entered a community college CTE pathway
MP 10Transitioned from a high school CTE pathway to a similar community college CTE pathway
MP 11Transferred from a high school CTE pathway to a similar CSU, UC or private/independent university CTE pathway
MP 12Completed a counselor-approved college education plan, for first-time community college students who enter a CTE pathway
MP 13During high school, participated in an internship, work-based learning, mentoring, or job shadowing program in a CTE pathway
MP 14Percentage of community college students, who participated in a high school CTE pathway, whose first math or English course was below transfer-level
Community College Cluster
MP 15Completed two courses in the same CTE pathway
MP 16Retention rate between Fall and Spring within a CTE pathway
MP 17Completed a non-CCCCO-approved certificate within a CTE pathway
MP 18Completed a CCCCO-approved certificate within a CTE pathway
General Education and Transfer Progress Cluster
MP 19Completed a work readiness soft skills training program (either stand-alone or embedded) within a CTE pathway
MP 20Completed college level English and/or math, for students in a CTE pathway
MP 21Completed the CSU-GE or IGETC transfer track/certificate for students in a CTE pathway
MP 22Completed requirements in a CTE pathway, but did not receive a certificate or a degree
MP 23Completed an associate degree in a CTE major
MP 24Completed an associate degree in a major different from student’s college CTE pathway
MP 25Transferred from community college to a four-year university in the same CTE pathway
MP 26Transferred from community college to a four-year university in a major different from their CTE pathway
Community College Transition To Workforce Cluster
MP 27Participated in a college internship or workplace learning program within a CTE pathway
MP 28Attained a job placement in the same or similar field of study as CTE pathway
MP 29Acquired an industry-recognized, third-party credential
Workforce Progress Cluster
MP 30Attained a wage gain in a career in the same or similar CTE pathway
MP 31Attained wages equal to or greater than the median regional wage for that CTE pathway
MP 32Attained wages greater than the regional standard-of-living wage
MP 33Participated in incumbent worker training or contract education in a CTE pathway (for example training for layoff aversion, meeting heightened occupational credentialing requirement, transitioning employees whose occupations are being eliminated, or up-skilling existing employees)
MP 34Exception


Close Window

Understand why regional collaboration is more important than ever.