Monday, August 17, 2009

Growing America Through Entrepreneurship (GATE) ...

Growing America Through Entrepreneurship (GATE) is a new program initiated by the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Small Business Administration to help emerging entrepreneurs in rural and urban communities achieve the American dream of owning their own business. Economic freedom is the foundation for individual success and prosperity. Project GATE supports economic freedom through promoting individual entrepreneurship. Project GATE seeks to energize local small business creation and help diverse urban and rural populations create, support and expand small businesses.

In North Carolina there are limited areas where GATE is being implemented as shown on the map. The map above shows the GATE service area in red and blue. Click here to download a printable site map.

If you live in one of the red counties on the map above, you are in a GATE Site area and will be able to work with a local GATE counselor in person. You should visit your local JobLink Career Center to learn more about the GATE program. At the JobLink, you can attend an orientation session and the staff can help you apply for the GATE scholarship. The GATE Sites are housed at your local Community College Small Business Center. If you live in one of the blue counties on the map above, you are eligible to be served by the GATE Virtual Site and will be able to work with a remote GATE counselor over the telephone. You will still have access to local training and programs, but will be expected to communicate by phone and internet as well.

If you live in an urban area, shown in gray, you must meet two additional criteria to qualify for the GATE program:
1. You must have been laid off from a job in a rural county, and;
2. You must plan to start your business in a rural county.

A very nice video regarding the Randolph County program is available at Digtriad. I talked with Jim Judge who is one 9 GATE counselors managing the program accross North Carolina, he indicates it started in April 2009 and is going strong.

This program appears to focus on areas that have been a concern of the author for several years, that of how to plant and cultivate Innovative Engines that produce value added to the 21st century economy. Several of my blog entries discuss this in more detail; specifically Entrepreneur Hats ... addresses the idea of planting seeds for Innovative Engines in k-12 through making hats for the key functions of a successful venture: Scientist (Research), Engineer (Development), Technologist (Production/Service), Customer (Marketplace), Business (Entrepreneur) and Logistics (Global Supply Chain).

It is hoped this blog will help to trigger new ways of thinking inside and outside the box that will add value to the 21st century economy.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Make Schools Stronger ...

This article was published in the Greensboro News & Record COUNTERPOINT on March 24, 2007

Ways we can make our schools stronger BY LONNIE H. BAXLEY JR.

Quality comes from ownership with integrity and appropriate resources in a healthy paradigm.

It was interesting to reflect upon this in light of the Teacher Working Conditions Community Forum held at GTCC Jamestown on March 18, 2007. Guilford Education Alliance ( sponsored this forum, which included participation from teachers, parents, community members and the Guilford County school board. [Report published April 2009]

Two things bubbled up in my mind from the discussion that appear to be essential ingredients for improved quality in our schools. First is time for teacher planning; time is an important resource and lack of it results in reduced quality and teachers becoming frustrated and unable to be adequately pre­pared to teach the students.

Second, "school improvement teams," when appropriately implemented, can address improving the health of the paradigm. Where can the public help in improving teacher working conditions? Among the ideas suggested at the forum were volunteers in schools, relieving teachers from menial tasks such as copying, etc.

Also, school improvement teams that help identify and resolve issues in a cooperative spirit make for a healthier paradigm for teachers and, therefore, a healthier learning environment for students.

These factors would support improving the rigor, relevance and relationships that are cited by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as important to education.

The public can get involved by getting to know its schools and teachers, volunteering in a way that frees teachers to better plan, and understanding issues that affect the learning environment and holding those responsible accountable for improvement.

We are blessed to have Dr. Margaret Arbuckle and her staff as advocates for our schools in Guilford County. The best investment is in the next generation!

The writer lives in Greensboro.