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VGCC vice president helps lead national entrepreneurship contest


Dr. Jerry Edmonds, III, Vice President of Workforce and Community Engagement at Vance-Granville Community College, recently participated as a judge for educators in a national competition.

Edmonds was one of five judges for the third annual National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) “Pitch for the Trades” competition, presented in partnership with the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation. The competition featured teams of community college faculty from across the country, who “pitched” their creative ideas for incorporating entrepreneurship into workforce training programs at their colleges. Winning colleges took home a portion of a total of $135,000 available to help fund these programs and put their ideas into action, thus expanding upon business opportunities for students in the skilled trades and apprenticeships. College teams made three-minute pitches and then fielded challenging questions from the judges, during the annual NACCE conference in Minnesota on October 5.

Each winner also receives the opportunity to be mentored by one of the judges. Edmonds will serve as a mentor for the teams from North Iowa Area Community College and Salt Lake Community College (Utah).

Carlene Cassidy, CEO of the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation said, “We are very impressed with the unique ideas that solved a local problem or filled a gap and involved collaboration with partners across campus and in the community. The level of preparation, enthusiasm, and institutional support was outstanding. We are looking forward to seeing these programs launched.”

Edmonds is not only involved with NACCE, but is also a leader on entrepreneurship at the state level, as a member of the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council, which was established by NC IDEA, a Durham-based private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic empowerment in North Carolina.

Edmonds added that he is excited to continue growing interest in entrepreneurship among VGCC students, faculty and staff. Recently, the college established a “Vanguard Entrepreneurship Club” for students. “Development of the entrepreneurial mindset in VGCC students places them at a competitive advantage in the work-place and in life,” he said. Edmonds also hopes someday that a VGCC group will be able to participate in a similar “Pitch for the Trades” competition.

A resident of Henderson, Edmonds has served at VGCC since 2019. He oversees training programs that respond to community needs and prepare students for workforce success, including apprenticeship programs, and economic development support for the region. In addition, Edmonds leads the development of partnerships with businesses and government agencies, and coordinates outreach and marketing for the entire college.

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