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Area Teachers Learn Ways to Incorporate Entrepreneurship into Their Classrooms

C.M. Eppes Middle School teachers Kristen Coleman, Barksdale Matkins and Sarah Lanier, left to right, team up with Ayden Middle School teacher Elizabeth Lane on a group exercise on entrepreneurship.

WINTERVILLE—A year after the Golden LEAF Foundation awarded Pitt County a $1.25 million-grant to address the region’s growing need for advanced manufacturing workers and entrepreneurs, 32 middle school teachers from Pitt and surrounding counties received entrepreneurship training at Pitt Community College.

The grant, which is administered through the Office of Innovation and Economic Development at East Carolina University (ECU), funded a collaboration between PCC, Pitt County Schools, STEMEAST and ECU to spur the interest of middle school students in e-STEAM (Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) careers.

“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,” said Charles Griffin, chair of the PCC Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Economics Department.

Griffin said PCC received $70,000 through the Golden LEAF grant to train and certify area middle school teachers during the summers of 2015 and 2016. The first round of training, he said, took place July 6-10 and provided teachers with REAL (Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning) certification and direction on embedding entrepreneurship principles into classroom instruction.

“The energy level of the teachers we hosted from Beaufort, Edgecombe and Pitt counties this month was impressive,” Griffin said. “They left the training with a virtual toolbox of activities designed to nurture innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial skills in their classrooms.”

In the months ahead, Griffin says PCC faculty will visit area middle schools to observe implementation of entrepreneurial concepts in the classroom.

Griffin noted that the PCC Business Division offers an associate degree in entrepreneurship. He added that Pitt County high school students have the option of dually enrolling in the program and encouraged individuals seeking more details on the curriculum to contact him at cgriffin@email.pittcc.edu.