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! (no background knowledge or experience in business required)

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.

The overarching goal of this field-tested Institute is to streamline adult educators and service providers’ learning of basic entrepreneurship content and peda/andragogy by reviewing real-world instructional resources (400+ free, online resources including news articles, videos, podcasts, infographics, textbooks, lessons, PPT slides, test bank, etc.). 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 collaboration, resource sharing, and planning. Practical module assignments result in a collection of 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.

Congratulations to cohort #2 of the COABE Online Entrepreneurship Institute!
Name Program State
Eva Alexander Northshore Technical Community College Louisiana
Tracie Ann Altabet Reading Connections North Carolina
Darian Beard ECHO Collective Nebraska
Debra Bruce Northshore Technical Community College Louisiana
Amy Burke Pamlico Community College North Carolina
Dana Coleman Santa Fe College Florida
Paul Crosby Project Learn of Summit County Ohio
Ann Eads Illinois Central College Illinois
Victoria Farrington Keene Community Education New Hampshire
Monica Haralson Northshore Technical Community College Louisiana
Sandy Hoffmann Heartland Community College Illinois
Lia Olson Hubbs Center Minnesota
Anselmo Ramon Tohono O’odham Community College Arizona
Appajosula Rao Harris County Department of Education-Adult Ed Texas
Rachel Rébert Tri-County OIC Pennsylvania
Candace Rhodman Metropolitan Action Commission Tennessee
Kelly Ross ECHO Collective Nebraska
Maureen Rudy Metropolitan State University of Denver Colorado
Teresa Sharpe Northshore Technical Community College Louisiana
Anitra Smith Northshore Technical Community College Louisiana
Kirti Venkatasawmy Campbell Adult and Community Education (CUHSD) California
Linda Winton Bonny Eagle Adult Education Maine

400+ Free, Online Resources

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

PART A: Entrepreneurial Mindset

September 25 – November 10, 2023
5 Weeks ♦ 25 Hours
5 Zoom Classes on Tues 3-5 pm ET**
Sept 26, Oct 10, 17, 31, Nov 7 – No Class on Oct 3, 24

Types of Entrepreneurship
Workplace Intrapreneurship
Entrepreneurial Mindset
Economic Way of Thinking
Entrepreneur Personal Finance
Entrepreneur Self-Assessment
Opportunity Recognition
Innovation & Design Thinking
Lean Canvas

PART B: Business Plan

January 22 – March 22, 2024
6 Weeks ♦ 30 Hours
5 Zoom Classes on Tuesday 3-5 ET
Jan 23, Feb 6, 13, 27, March 5, 19 – No Class Jan 30, Feb 20, Mar 12

Business Plan
Start-up Costs
Funding Sources
Financial Statements
Business Structures
Elevator Pitch

*Optional work-ahead reading list and assignment due date extensions available to accommodate participants’ busy schedules.
**Class recordings also available.

$550 for Parts A & B
$275 for Part A or $275 for Part B

$135 to add on optional 3 hours of undergraduate or graduate university credit ($685 total)

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.