A New Model Education: Turning Startups into Classrooms

Enstitute is an apprenticeship-based, low-cost model of higher education.  Their apprenticeship “Learn by Doing” approach pairs students with their interests.  Enstitute turns small businesses and startups into classrooms.  Enstitute works with the best entrepreneurs and innovators to educate tomorrow’s workforce, revitalize economies, and to transform lives through entrepreneurship focused education.

The goals are to:

Refine higher education with a nationally based apprenticeship program

Scale a sustainable model across multiple industries and geographies

Create a valuable, passionate global workforce which addresses the market’s current needs

By working in a two-year apprenticeship program which provides a supplemental or alternative path to traditional post secondary education, Enstitute fellow receive real world experience while learning valuable skills.  Skills needed to successfully compete in a 21st century economy.

The entire program is based on the “learn by doing” philosophy.  Fellows work 40 hours a week under entrepreneurs learning skills and developing competencies which make them valuable to the workforce.  Year one provides a high level overview of business (consisting of sales, business development, operations, hr, and/or business administration, and marketing), technology (consisting of front and back end development, quality assurance, IT, UI, and UX) and design.  In year two, fellows ‘pick a major’ in a specific functional area for developing competencies, skills, and networks which increase their value to future employers.

The areas of study are in three main areas:

1.)   Technology Startups – Both consumer facing and business facing technology startups currently accepting applications are in the following areas: big data, e-commerce, social networking, financial services, video, and advertising platforms and tools.  Fellows will have opportunities to learn business, technology, and design.

2.)   Digital Media and Advertising – Fellows will be placed in digital media companies focused on content creation, news, advertising, distribution, publishing, and marketing.  Varied across companies, fellows will learn creative, business, and technology.

3.)   Non-Profit/Social Good – Fellows will be placed in leading non-profit and social good organizations which work on a range of international and domestic issues: water purification, education, technology, poverty, health, and many more.  Varied across companies, fellows will have opportunities to learn program operations and management and development.

At the end of the two years, Fellows will have built and managed a digital portfolio which highlights what they’ve done while also demonstrating skills developed.  Each digital portfolio includes demonstrations of work completed during the apprenticeships as well as recommendations from bosses, colleagues, peers, and the Enstitute community and administration.

To apply for an Enstitute fellowship: http://enstituteu.com/apply/become-a-fellow/

About the Author

I am a soccer mom, musician, Beatles fanatic,dreamer, chocolate chip cookie maker, and passionate advocate and evangelist for cleantech and cleanweb causes, organizations, and companies that make the planet better in all ways.
  • David Cameron

    I am disturbed that the description of this edu-initiative is couched in terms so redolent of the failing capitalist paradigm. “Skills needed to successfully compete in a 21st century economy.”, for example-we need to be leaving competition for scarce jobs behind in favour of embracing collaboration, inclusivity, abundance of opportunity. Similarly the selection of opportunities ignores any hint of understanding what is needed for change rather than status quo business as usual.

    While the model looks at first glance like an interesting alternative, on closer inspection it smacks of internships providing value to business at low cost to the business owners.

    • Hello, David –

      I agree with you about the poor phrasing of “Skills needed to successfully compete in a 21st century economy” and the fact that this edu-initiative is kind of jumping on the capitalist bandwagon.

      One of the key skills very sorely missing from not just this program, but education and business as a whole is meaningful communications skills. There is a real lack of being able to listen to each other and communicate authentically that definitely needs to be addressed. Perhaps, the founders of this apprenticeship program will realize this gap and include skills on how to act like a decent human being and communicate, collaborate, and share well with others. I know I sound a little naïve, but I think communicating and collaborating in meaningful, authentic ways is part of successful 21st Century performance skills.