Would you help me think this through?

I don’t want to give all the backstory of WHY we want to do this thing (yet), but for now, let’s just say that we have an opportunity to teach late teens/young adults workplace skills like website design and coding (whatever broad generalization that is!) instead of food service. I think it’s a better path out of poverty and I know, because I’ve been there.

So we’re looking for conversation about what this could look like. It feels to us like a six-month, to two year after school training program by which students learn the skills that will support them either working for themselves or working for an agency after “graduation.” I don’t think it’s unrealistic at all to say that someone completing curriculums like CodeAcademy, the Skool, WebDesign.com and others can attain a well-paying job in under two years. And (or?), graduating into an agency that is a part of the program itself. Learn with us, work with us. And, ideally, they’d be able to take on some of the agency work even as they’re going through the program, almost as the program’s own interns.

We don’t want it to be a non-profit (or I should say we  at least don’t want it to be a poor non-profit). We want everyone involved to know that this work (both the learning and the producing) is worth lots’o money when done well and professionally, and that we’re going to give them their first step into that possibility (more than the $6-8 they’d make working at Mc’Ds).

Also, this is not a virtual thing – this exists in a brick and mortar location in Columbus, near Weinland Park.

Totally loose conversation. GO!

JUST ADDING NOTES AS WE GO:

There is a space at 5th and 4th that we’ve pined for since we moved to Weinland Park. It’s directly across from what will soon be CEDCO’s Food District (a food startup incubator), and a few blocks off High Street, and at the corner of new developments in Italian Village. We found out today that it’s for rent for just $600/month. It would make a GREAT space for this because it’s walking distance to Weinland Park, but still approachable to businesses in the area.

Bob and I talked last night about business models that would make this sustainable to start, each revolving around teaching and hosting classes to local businesses in the same space.

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6 thoughts on “Would you help me think this through?

  1. Hi Angie,

    As you mentioned above “ideally, they’d be able to take on some of the agency work even as they’re going through the program, almost as the program’s own interns.” I think this is a very good way to go. It is always better to learn a skill with an end in mind rather than just learning it for learning’s sake. It will also be good f you can get some local businesses involved i.e. giving the students the opportunity to apply what they learn to their own websites and web stuffs and hopefully they then offer employment opportunity down the track.

    1. Phillip – that’s what we’re thinking, though we’re not sure yet how it will work. As they students go through the program, they in fact take on projects for the local business community, supervised by our own in house agency. After graduation, they would have the skills necessary to either join the agency itself, or look for work elsewhere.

  2. Fascinating.

    Might I suggest finding clients instead of agencies to work with?

    Agencies – in my limited experience – aren’t going to pass off their “high end” work to someone who is admittedly learning. I’d let someone learn on a $500 website instead of a $10,000 website.

    Love the idea, but think you’d find it much easier to get small businesses signed up than agencies.

    Once someone has enough programming under their belt, the path to a job at an agency is going to open up for them (especially with a little bit of guidance). (There is ALWAYS new agency jobs available as the turnover in those places is ULTRA-high.)

    Another idea…

    What if the final 6 months of their 2 years was also focused on specific training in either freelancing, agency job acquisition or specific skill development (Think senior capstone project).

    Great idea. Love it.

    Adam

    1. Adam – We wouldn’t expect that an agency (or a business) would hire the students themselves as they’re going through the program… but rather that they would hire our agency staffed with professionals already in the industry. The students in the program could have the opportunity to interact with those projects on a supervised basis, in a way that somehow corresponds with what they’re learning in their classes.

      Actually the idea of the capstone is very much aligned with what I’m trying to articulate with them graduating into the agency. I like that they would have a portfolio to show us (or prospective employers or clients) when they finish – no matter where they go afterwards.

      And LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of integrating business-development. Great!

  3. Commenting to follow here… Email me to get in contact with another person I’ve spoken with who has a similar idea and is starting similar trainings. An experienced trainer and programmer. Also, a network of support. Totally agreed about the superior viability of skills over food industry.

    Lets talk. I’m out of town at the moment, back soon.

  4. Angie this is a great idea. I would like to talk with you since I absolutely agree this is a must and there are much more than the people you are considering that will be joining as clients that need this and are looking for new fresh air. If you are interested let´s talk! I work 35 years at all levels of education! This is what people need today!!!!

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