NFTE gave me bigger goals in life. It also opened up different doors for me and for my father, too.

—Clifton Jackson
  • While still in high school and working as an apprentice, Clifton invented a tool for professional electricians.
  • This was the business he took to NFTE business plan pitch competitions, winning at the local, regional and national levels before being named a runner up in the final round of the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.
  • Clifton has also used the skills he learned from NFTE to help his father start a business of his own.

Working as an electrician’s apprentice while in high school, Clifton discovered how hazardous it can be to change tools while on a ladder.

This led him to invent CWC Pliers, a lightweight 3-in-1 tool developed especially for professional electricians. This innovative multi-tool reduces the number of times an electrician must remove a point of balance by reaching for a tool in a tool belt, thus increasing workplace safety while also decreasing job-completion time.

Clifton’s creative problem-solving took him all the way to NFTE’s National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, where he was a runner-up. He was soon approached by industry players interested in his invention.

Clifton believes entrepreneurship helped him become “something more” than what everyone thought he would turn out to be. “Having an entrepreneurial mindset,” he says, “means being able to think critically, learn as you go, and think outside the box.”

In addition to running CWC Pliers and pursuing his own career as an electrician, in the years since high school Clifton has helped his mom with her small business and his father to branch out and start a business of his own. The skills that Clifton learned in his NFTE course have resulted in two generations of Jacksons owning their futures.