WINTERVILLE — For the second straight summer, Pitt County middle school teachers received training at Pitt Community College on how to embed entrepreneurship principles into their classroom instruction.
The course, which took place last week, is part of an overall effort to develop an education-to-workforce pipeline in eastern North Carolina that will help address the region’s need for advanced manufacturing workers and entrepreneurs.
Funding for the training comes through PCC’s portion of a $1.25 million-grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation. The college, which collaborated with Pitt County Schools, STEMEAST and East Carolina University to spur interest among middle school students in e-STEAM (Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) careers, received $70,000 to provide the entrepreneurship training in the summers of 2015 and 2016.
Charles Griffin, chair of the PCC Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Economics Department, said research has shown that learning about entrepreneurship at the middle school level may have life-long benefits including self-sufficiency, resiliency and creative problem-solving.
“It is essential that we expose today’s young people to the role that entrepreneurship plays in the economic success of both their families and communities,” he said.
According to Griffin, the 39 teachers who trained at PCC this month earned REAL (Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning) certification and left campus with a printed curriculum guide and REAL flash drive containing all core and supplemental activities and materials related to planning, facilitating and supporting the REAL program.
“The REAL Entrepreneurship curriculum is the result of years of innovation, adaptation, experimentation and refinement on the part of countless creative and dedicated educators and entrepreneurs,” Griffin said. “REAL has created a dynamic curriculum that combines best educational practices with detailed technical and business concepts.”
In all, 71 teachers completed the training at Pitt over the course of two summers. Griffin says PCC faculty are planning to visit area middle schools to observe implementation of entrepreneurial concepts in the classroom.
Griffin noted that PCC offers an associate degree in entrepreneurship and added that Pitt County high school students can dually enroll in the program. He encouraged individuals wanting more curriculum information to contact him by e-mail.