This fall, students in College of The Albemarle’s Basic and Transitional Studies program will learn more than just the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic required to earn their high school credentials. In August, students enrolled in the college’s GED or Adult High School programs, will also get a glimpse into entrepreneurship, learning the ins and outs of what it would take to run their own businesses.
“We want our students to see small business owners in reference to the certificate program they are earning, whether it be NA1 & Medicine Aide, Welding, HVAC, Culinary, Computer Engineering, Electrical Technology, Aviation Sheet Metal and Early Childhood,” said Wendy Pollard-Boyle, coordinator of COA’s Career Pathway Development program.
In June, Pollard-Boyle and Robert Monfort, an adult education instructor at COA, completed a week-long state-funded program to help students think, plan and act as an entrepreneurs. This fall, COA will integrate the new entrepreneurship education training into its Basic and Transitional Studies program. The training was funded through the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center and is focused on developing entrepreneurial talent in rural communities.
Pollard-Boyle said the new curriculum will teach students in COA’s GED and Adult High School programs how to build entrepreneurial skills into their everyday lives.
“Activities will be integrated into basic skill instruction targeting creative, critical thinking and problem-solving skills through analyzing economic development, researching demographic information, understanding the interdependent economic infrastructure through community partnerships, learning how to communicate clearly by writing a business plan, utilizing math skills such as projecting a cash flow statement and analyzing costs,” Pollard-Boyle said.
Most of the students in COA’s Basic and Transitional Studies program are adult learners, Monfort said. Teaching them what it takes to be successful, he added, will help them make more informed life decisions.
“This is just going to be another useful tool to show the students the possibilities that exist to them,” Monfort said. “This helps them find that confidence to help them get from an idea, to the reality of it.”
Pollard-Boyle said the goal of the new curriculum is to infuse entrepreneurship into a range of COA’s Basic and Transitional Studies programs and hopefully light the entrepreneurial fire in some of its students.
“We want our basic skills and career pathway students to learn about economic development, learn about writing a business plan, so as to be better informed citizens within the rural communities we live in,” Pollard-Boyle said. “We don't want any one of our students walking away from COA saying at some point in their lives, ‘I wish someone would have given me an opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship. I wish someone had informed me about the potential of becoming a business owner.’”
Photo: COA instructors, Wendy Pollard-Boyle and Robert Monfort.