Under the leadership of faculty member Dr. Andrew Kobylanski, San Joaquin Delta College is the latest college to find success with the Gig Economy and Pop Up Business pilot programs.
Students take two courses in entrepreneurship and e-commerce that are designed to introduce them to the gig economy and the future of work, while at the same time helping them learn the skills they need to enter the freelance marketplace. The students also have access to local industry mentors.
“There are lots of platforms online where students can find gigs,” Kobylanski said. “We want them to figure out ideas for freelancing while developing their own websites and portfolios along the way.”
The first cohort of 24 students began taking courses last fall, and the program now has 45 students, Kobylanski said. Students range from web designers and photographers to contractors looking to take on handyman gigs.
The Gig Economy and Pop Up Business pilot programs tie into the strong culture of entrepreneurship at San Joaquin Delta College and Fresno City College, where faculty like Kobylanski and Amber Balakian are working to build an entrepreneurial mindset among their students and prepare them to be successful in the 21st-century workforce.
Students put their skills into action April 23 at Delta College, when they hosted a pop-up market in conjunction with the culinary department’s Food Truck Wars event. They set up tables on the campus quad selling services, artwork and other products they’d made.
"I would like to say big Thank You to all who came out today to be part of the Pop Up Market – Student Entrepreneur Expo,” Kobylanski said. “It was a result of long planning and hard work by students in the BUS 29 class.”
The event was a success, and Kobylanski said he is already thinking about doing it again next year.
The Gig Economy and Pop Up Business pilot programs are championed by Alese Campbell, Business and Entrepreneurship Deputy Sector Navigator in the Central Valley and Mother Lode Region. Kobylanski said Campbell’s support has been essential to exposing students to opportunities in the region.
“Alese is always supportive of taking students to conferences and looking for opportunities to connect them with businesses in the Bay Area,” Kobylanski said.
Based on the success of the pilot programs this year, Kobylanski expects them to continue growing next year.