U.S. Entrepreneurship Certification Examination

Credentials for the Innovation & Gig Economy

The COABE Online Entrepreneurship Institute for Adult Educators & Service Providers is aligned with the U.S. Entrepreneurship Certification Examination, equipping adult educators and service providers with the content knowledge, instructional strategies, curriculum, and resources they need to successfully prepare adult learners to pass the U.S. Entrepreneurship Certification Examination.

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Put GED and workforce skills to work (literally) for your adult learners!

Entrepreneurship is an excellent multidisciplinary, real-world context for teaching literacy, basic skills, and HSE/GED academic subjects (English, math, social studies, science) while simultaneously developing workforce-based skills. Developing an entrepreneurial mindset (opportunity recognition, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, innovation, adaptability, initiative, collaboration, etc.) prepares individuals to also become better employees in any career field (intrapreneurship) and solve community problems (social entrepreneurship). Entrepreneurship also seamlessly integrates across workforce development programs and optimizes engagement by unleashing individual potential to pursue unique interests, hobbies, and passions in the new Innovation/Gig Economy. Self-employment is a real “game- changer” for disenfranchised individuals living in impoverished areas because it offers freedom, hope, and empowerment via more personally fulfilling career options while capitalizing on and affirming existing skills and talents. Important life skills are also developed (intrinsic motivation, growth mindset, resourcefulness, resiliency, calculated risk-taking, agency, etc.) by starting simple “side hustles” requiring minimal start-up costs to earn additional income that may lead to full-time careers.

Using experiential learning theory and a free field-tested curriculum, Institute participants simultaneously learn basic entrepreneurship content and instructional best-practices by reviewing classroom-ready resources (news articles, videos, podcasts, infographics, textbooks, lessons, PPT slides, test bank, etc.) and completing assignments that they can turnaround and use with their adult learners with little to no further preparation. The Institute content is extremely flexible and accessible to a variety of adult programs and easily customizable to organizational missions and target populations. Online modules are mostly self-paced and live Zoom classes feature introductions to supportive community resources, grassroots entrepreneurs who share “lessons learned,” and breakout groups for WIOA and cross-state/agency networking, collaboration, resource sharing, and planning. Practical module assignments result in a collection of co-created lessons and workforce-based activities (Part A) and a business plan first draft (Part B) to inspire creative strategies for high quality education and employment outcomes.

COABE Entrepreneurship Educator Certification, Certificate of Completion, and Digital Badge included. Participants may complete both Part A and Part B in any order for COABE Certification or just complete either Part for professional development hours.

The Institute is aligned with the U.S. Entrepreneurship Certification Examination, equipping educators with the content knowledge, instructional strategies, curriculum, and resources needed to prepare adult learners to pass the exam. Details and the free exam manual at www.pitsco.com/usece.

Congratulations to cohort #3 of the COABE Online Entrepreneurship Institute!
Name Program State
Marilyn Alexander Catholic Charities of Albuquerque New Mexico
Bernard Audette Massachusetts Department of Corrections Massachusetts
Yajayra Bedolla Santa Rosa Junior College California
Donna Ciesinski EASTCONN Connecticut
Shannon Fisher Wood County Department of Job and Family Services – OhioMeansJobs Ohio
Gabriel Godines San Ysidro Adult School California
Diane Howard Houston Community College – Harris County Sheriff’s Office Texas
Lance James Grays Harbor College Washington
Wendy Klatt Township High School District 113 – Adult Education Illinois
Sarina Lirette River Parishes Community College Louisiana
Robyn MacKillop Chemeketa Community College Oregon
Emily Mejia Greenville County Schools – Lifelong Learning South Carolina
Holly Miller Wood County Department of Job and Family Services – OhioMeansJobs Ohio
Mary Mullen Durango Adult Education Center Colorado
Nadia Myers College of Western Idaho Idaho
Kathy Patterson Kentucky Adult Education – Whitley County Kentucky
Sheryl Rud Queen Creek Adult Education Program Arizona
KaShala Smith Lorain County Community College – Aspire GED Ohio
Debra Tavaras Atlanta Public Schools – Adult Education Center Georgia
Katie Throckmorton Wood County Department of Job and Family Services – OhioMeansJobs Ohio

400+ Free, Online Resources

Real-world Instructional Context for HSE Academic Subjects
Workforce Readiness Skills Preparation
National Live Zoom Breakout Groups for WIOA & Peer Collaboration

PART A: Entrepreneurial Mindset

September 16 – November 22, 2024
5 Weeks ♦ 25 Hours
5 Zoom Classes on Tues 3-5 pm ET**
Sept 17, Oct 1, 15, 29, Nov 12

Types of Entrepreneurship
Workplace Intrapreneurship
Entrepreneurial Mindset
Entrepreneur Self-Assessment
Economic Way of Thinking
Problem Solving & Research
Entrepreneurial Pathways
Business Opportunity Recognition
Innovation & Design Thinking
Lean Canvas & Lean Startup

PART B: Business Plan

January 20 – March 28, 2025
5 Weeks ♦ 30 Hours
5 Zoom Classes on Tuesday 3-5 ET
Jan 21, Feb 4, 18, March 4, 18

Business Plan
Competitive Analysis
Marketing & Branding
Operations & Resources
Management & Networking
Start-up Costs & Funding Sources
Accounting & Financial Statements
Business Structures & Taxes
Risk Mitigation
Elevator Pitch

*Class recordings also available.

$550 for Parts A & B
55 Hours of Professional Development

Optional 3-hours of undergraduate or graduate credit for an additional $135

Registration & Payment Info

Dr. Cheryl Ayers ♦ cheryl42@vt.edu


“Dr. Cheryl Ayers is a great enthusiastic instructor who shows passion for her work. Her energy motivates you to follow your dreams while engaging others to follow theirs.”

“The course opened my eyes to seeing new ways to help the adult learners in our programs; by seeing them as potential entrepreneurs, there are many other career pathways we can help them explore.”

“The content is great! The assignments, along with the book is awesome, which is a very good resource. Having a facilitator with the passion for entrepreneurship and adult education motivate students to do their best.”

“The work that went into creating, researching, and organizing this institute on the part of Dr. Ayers is astounding. I think the dual pronged approach – determining how to create entrepreneurial training for adult learners while building one’s own knowledge around starting a business or social enterprise is a great way to learn the work and be in the work at the same time. Thanks for your support to all those participants.”

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Who Should Attend?

Any adult service provider who works in adult education, basic skills, HSE/GED programs, literacy, career coaching, workforce development, employment centers, social services, aging and vocational rehabilitation, benefits/work incentives, disability services, corrections, veterans affairs, American Job Centers, Goodwill Industries, United Way, immigrant services, disenfranchised youth programs (alternative education, juvenile justice, Job Corps, etc.), foster care, substance recovery programs, homelessness aide, community colleges, and other like-minded nonprofit and government organizations.