CALL US: (973) 881-0540

Category: Training

The Importance of Entrepreneurship Training

It has always been the position of the Greater Paterson OIC that entrepreneurship education has a place in workforce development for youth and adults.

In this post, we share a panel conversation that discusses the importance of this education.

Certiport is the host of this conversation.

Certiport is the administrator of the Entrepreneurship and Small Business (ESB) certification offered at the Greater Paterson OIC.

For more information on the ESB training course, visit our contacts page and email Hollis Nelson, the Training Director at the Greater Paterson OIC.

Developing One of Our Most Important Skills.

Most of the people I know had a great sense of relief and renewed hope when 2020 ended. I am confident that I am not alone in saying it was one of the most challenging years of my life.

Of course, the elephant in the room was the COVID-19 pandemic, but there were other issues that made the year so challenging. Racial and social injustice, excessive force by police against unarmed citizens, economic downturns, and warring political ideologies brought to the surface the division that is present in the country.

The divisiveness that exists in America was on clear display in 2020 and increasingly exploited to a large extent by people in positions of leadership.

I firmly believe one of the primary contributors to the divisiveness that remains a part of American culture is a lack of critical thinking skills. The lack of critical thinking skills leads to being moved by our emotions instead of the facts, and to being manipulated to take actions we might not otherwise take.

Without critical thinking skills, we accept and act on beliefs that have no basis in fact, no evidence or proof, and sometimes, we can become so stubborn that we reach a point where we vehemently reject facts or evidence when presented.

The ability to gather, compare, examine sources, and test information before deciding on courses of action is an essential skill to develop.

Critical thinking skills are also essential in the workforce. This topic is important for educators and my colleagues in workforce development. In terms of the workforce, a recent report “Keys to the Future: Align Workforce Readiness Skills to Ensure Student Success” from the International Data Corporation (IDC) notes:

“The most required skills across all occupations include oral and written communication skills, detail orientation, marketing skills, integrity, and customer-service orientation.”

Critical thinking is an important part of all the skills mentioned.

In further discussing the sets of skills needed in the workforce, the report says:

“This set is more important than any specific technology skill, deep science or math, or even great business skills. This set represents skills that are both important and widely required across positions. And the vast majority of them are ‘soft’ skills that are applicable across a wide variety of occupations. Many of these skills aren’t foreign to most contemporary curricula. In fact, critical and creative thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and detail orientation are relevant across all knowledge and domains.” (underlines mine)

Restating an important point in the report; critical and creative thinking are relevant across all knowledge and domains. This includes both our personal and professional lives.

As a workforce development professional, I have committed to making sure we are including critical thinking skills in all our training programs. Not to tell people what to think, but how to think and make informed decisions. Both personally and professionally.

There will always be different points of view and disagreements on the issues and how to go about changing things; but we owe it to ourselves to seek facts, to find credible evidence for the positions we take, and remain open to changing if additional information becomes available. That is the essence of critical thinking.

Not only is this relevant in the workforce, but it will improve communication and relationships in our personal lives, our communities, and the country.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Greater Paterson OIC, its Board of Directors, or any other group or individual affiliated.

The Post: Developing One of Our Most Important Skills appeared first on

3 Keys to Building an Effective Team

“Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” –Vince Lombard


The importance of teamwork today is something that cannot be overstated. Teams exist in a broad spectrum of environments. You will find teams functioning in business whether working remotely or in an office setting, in community-based organizations, church groups, social groups, non-profits and more. The ability for individuals to work effectively in, and as, a team is an indispensable skill. The key word here is effective, because not every team is always effective.

What goes into building an effective team? In terms of this post, an effective team is defined as one that is able to deliver the desired results within the allocated amount of time. There are three things I consider essential to building an effective team. Of course, there are others, but these three I think are critical for building an effective team.

Commitment to a Common Purpose

It is important that everyone fully understands why the team exists. They must be passionate about and committed to the project being undertaken. They must be clear on what it is the team intends to accomplish, and by when they intend to accomplish it. There are no surprises and no hidden agendas. This is at the foundation of an effective team.

Shared Values

Something that is often overlooked in building effective teams is the personal values of the team members. It is very hard to commit to something that violates your personal values. Going through the process of determining your personal values is not something that everyone does, we all have them, but many times they are unconscious. Sometimes the reason why a team does not function effectively is because the personal values of one or more of the team members is being violated. A person who values freedom and creativity will have a hard time being part of a team where everything is structured and highly systematized. Determining if the members of the team have a value fit is important to the team’s effectiveness.

Complementary Skills

The third essential is ensuring the team has a complementary set of diverse skills. Each member understands why they are a part of the team, and what skills they bring to the project. The skill sets are complementary with each part contributing something of value. Ineffective teams happen because they often have one or two people carrying the load, which breeds stress, resentment, missed deliverables, and conflict in the team. Making sure that every member knows their role and has something of value to contribute makes for a more effective team.

These are the guidelines I use to decide if I am a good fit for a team or not. As noted, there is more to building an effective team than just the three elements mentioned here but remove any one of these and the effectiveness of the team can be severely hindered. Teamwork is here to stay, but not every team is a good fit. Make your choices wisely and be a part of something great.


The post 3 Keys to Building an Effective Team first appeared on

 The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Greater Paterson OIC, its Board of Directors, or any other group or individual affiliated.

Why Entrepreneurship Training Should be Included in Workforce Development

One of the most overlooked categories in Workforce Development, especially as it relates to low-income and underserved populations, is teaching the general principles of entrepreneurship. In this sector most services tend to lean towards employment training, adult basic education, English as a Second Language (ESL), along with standard job searching and resume development assistance.

These offerings are all needed and provide tremendous value. However, I believe in our current environment, and in light of the way the world of work is changing, entrepreneurship training should be added to the mix.

Many people, including those in these income brackets, have dreams of running their own business. This is not to say that after receiving training everyone is going to run out and start their own business.

Yes, it is entirely possible that it could happen for some, however, that is not the main reason for offering this training. Entrepreneurship training offers so much more in terms of the intangible “soft skills” that are integrated into the training. Having these skills would make those who may never start their own business much more attractive as employment candidates.

A good entrepreneurship training program would help participants develop essential skills – including but not limited to:

  • Decision-Making Skills
  • Increased Self-Awareness
  • Critical Thinking Skills
  • Time Management Skills
  • Leadership Skills
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Innovation and Creativity Skills
  • Teamwork or Collaboration Skills
  • Financial Skills

These tools are critical for both the entrepreneur and the employee. If an individual is not interested in starting a business, possessing these skills along with an understanding of business in general makes them a far more attractive candidate for employment, and opens up a wider range of options for seeking employment.

Those who do desire to someday do their own thing will have a better understanding of business, and a firmer foundation on which to launch out and begin their endeavor.

We are in a new time. How work is being done has changed and these changes are here to stay. The “Gig” economy is growing, and an increasing number of people are seeking ways to generate additional revenue. Providing entrepreneurship to low-income and underserved populations will give them a fighting chance to participate in this new economy and this new world of work.

I am hoping that Workforce Investment Boards and County One-Stops will recognize the value for this type of training and add it to the mix of those services already being provided.

One can only hope.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Greater Paterson OIC, its Board of Directors or any other group or individual affiliated.

Preparing for the Post-Pandemic World of Work

There are few people who would deny that the COVID19 pandemic has changed our lives in dramatic and profound ways. One of those changes in particular is in the employment sector. I am deeply saddened by the millions of people who have been forced to file for unemployment as a direct result of this pandemic.

As one who works in workforce development, this area is of great concern to me. One thing I feel very strongly about is that the post-pandemic world of work is going to change in dramatic ways, primarily in the telecommute space. The ways in which many businesses have had to adapt and change the way they do business along with the work from home explosion that this pandemic caused will have enduring effects on business and the workforce.

Remote collaboration services like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Slack to name a few already existed, however, their growth exploded exponentially after the pandemic hit, and they have now become regular tools in a wide variety of industries. The benefits of working from home are now being experienced by a wider number of employees and employers alike, and things will never be the same. Just a few of these benefits include but are not limited to:

  • Flexibility for employees leading to better employee satisfaction
  • Increased productivity
  • Cost savings in building expenses
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Reduced use of gas and commuting fees
  • Benefits to the environment

I am convinced that after experiencing these benefits, more employees will request (and more companies will adapt) telecommuting aka, working from home as a standard way of operating. I seems the 3:2 (3 days home, 2 days on site) ratio is the sweet spot. Individuals entering the workforce will have to be prepared for this.

Low-income and underserved populations who often lack the tools and skills required for these changes need to be prepared for this. At the Greater Paterson OIC, we are adapting our workforce training programs to better prepare our students for this new world of work.

In addition to learning how to use the technology tools required for this new world, we are developing ways to build the “soft skills” that employers will be looking for. Some of the skills we think are important include:

  • Problem Solving
  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Critical Thinking
  • Business Literacy and Entrepreneurship
  • Technology Literacy
  • Time Management and Task Prioritization
  • Verbal and Written Communication Skills
  • Teamwork and Collaboration

We are excited about the challenges that lie before us in empowering our students to be ready to succeed in this new world in both their personal and professional lives. We all have to prepare ourselves for the new experiences and new ways of doing things. This is just one of the steps we are taking. I am certain that this is just the start. Adapt a growth mindset and get ready to roll.

  • 1
  • 2


OIC of Greater Paterson is a non-profit community- based organization that has been meeting the needs of the economically disadvantaged individuals throughout the community. 


© . Greater Paterson OIC. Website by LoveArts.