DATE:                  October 28, 2015
CONTACT:         Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE:              434-972-4049
 
Albemarle County Public Schools Director Appointed to Governor’s Council on Youth Entrepreneurship
 
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – Chad Ratliff, the Director of Instructional Programs for Albemarle County Public Schools, has been appointed to the Governor’s Council on Youth Entrepreneurship. Ratliff adds the K-12 perspective to a council that includes university and community college presidents, chief executive officers from private industry, as well as trade organization and higher education officials.
 
The Council was established by Governor McAuliffe this past August and is co-chaired by Maurice Jones, the Commonwealth’s Secretary of Commerce and Trade. It has five priorities: the expansion of student intellectual property rights; the creation of more opportunities for entrepreneurs and students to interact; the introduction of more courses in entrepreneurship; recommendations on how colleges and universities can award academic credit to students who start a business; and the elimination of unnecessary costs for students who start a business in Virginia.
 
“The Council is a very innovative and powerful step forward in creating a great many success stories for students,” said Ratliff. “We need look no further than our own school division, where one of our middle school students won the Startup Weekend EDU competition in 2015 and is pursuing a highly promising business opportunity as a result,” he added.
 
That student is Nick Anglin, who developed a system of laser-powered sensors that can be used as a training tool for baseball pitchers. Earlier this year, Nick’s prototype was featured at a White House conference on student entrepreneurship.
 
Startup Weekend EDU is a local three-day event at which budding inventors discuss and develop ideas for new education-related products or services with instructional, technical, financial, management and marketing experts. This year’s event will be from Friday, November 13, to Sunday, November 15. More information, including how to register, is available at: http://www.up.co/communities/usa/charlottesville/startup-weekend/7430
 
“This year’s Startup Weekend EDU will be at Western Albemarle High School,” Ratliff said, and it is important not just to our school division, but to our entire community. Research has shown, for example, that ventures less than a year old are responsible for nearly all net new job creation—an average of 1.5 million jobs per year—over the past three decades. Startup activity, however, is now on the decline in our country and we need to reverse that,” Ratliff added. In addition to his responsibilities for Albemarle County Public Schools, Ratliff also is an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship for Piedmont Virginia Community College.
 
Ratliff said that many of the skills students gain from courses and other opportunities in entrepreneurship will serve them well throughout their professional lives, regardless of career path. “That’s why this council is so important. Students can learn, at a young age, the value of being creative, how to overcome obstacles, how to work well with others, and how to think and plan analytically, how to strategize for success,” he said.
 
Albemarle County currently offers classes in entrepreneurship at several middle and high schools, and all secondary schools in the division will be offering entrepreneurship classes within two years.
 
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Pictured: Chad Ratliff