Jake Schwartz, Author at General Assembly Blog

About Jake Schwartz

Jake Schwartz is the co-founder and chief executive officer of General Assembly. As a specialized educational institution for 21st century skills in data, design, business and technology, General Assembly (GA) is empowering a global community to pursue work they love through best-in-class instruction and access to opportunities. GA works with students online and in person across 25 campuses around the world and hundreds of companies as partners in course development and graduate placement as well as through GA’s corporate training and development business. General Assembly was named as the number one most innovative company in education by Fast Company in 2015. Schwartz was named E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014, and was recently named one of Crain’s “40 under 40." He earned a B.A. in American Studies from Yale in 2000 and a M.B.A. in Entrepreneurial Management from Wharton in 2008.

General Assembly Joins the Adecco Group in Transforming the World of Work

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GA was founded on the principle of empowering people to pursue the work they love. In the eight years since we opened our first campus, we have had the privilege of working with students, governments, and the world’s largest companies to create opportunities to radically transform careers and economic prospects.

Today I’m excited to announce that we have reached an agreement to be acquired by the Adecco Group. This is a milestone, a reflection of the world waking up to the skills gap we face, and the opportunity to reshape the relationship and connection between education and the world of work. It’s the result of the passion, commitment, and hard work of thousands of individuals. It’s also the output of the incredible focus and determination of our students, our instructors, and the tireless GA team. For all of those reasons, I’m thrilled to get to share the news.

The Adecco Group is a Swiss-based, truly global company operating in 60 countries that offers 360° HR solutions from flexible to permanent employment, career transitions, and talent development services through its network of independent brands. On my first trip to Switzerland to meet CEO Alain Dehaze, I was deeply impressed by the Adecco Group’s commitment to its people, values, and mission, and struck by what a powerful platform it could be for General Assembly’s vision. We were exuberant at the idea of joining forces, and shaping the future of work, talent, and education. The possibilities to expand the scope of what we can do, and the impact we can make, are almost limitless.

Because of the unique structure of the Adecco Group, we were able to craft a structure where General Assembly will run as a fully independent company underneath its large umbrella. We will, however, be able to leverage the knowledge and network of the world’s largest human capital company. Our mission and vision won’t change, but our ability to provide opportunities to our alumni, students, instructors, and clients will massively increase. In all the important ways we will still be GA, only better.

When my co-founders Matt Brimer, Brad Hargreaves, and Adam Pritzker and I started GA, we wanted to build a community focused on “learning by doing” in New York City. Today, that idea has evolved into a global school that helps amazing individuals and Fortune 500 teams. We have 20 campuses on four continents, more than 50,000 full- and part-time alumni, and over 500 team members who work incredibly hard on behalf of our worldwide community.

I am excited about the power of our partnership with the Adecco Group and what we can do together. The future of work has never been more important and I look forward to helping shape it for many years to come.

General Assembly’s Global Community

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General Assembly is an international community, made up of over 1 million technologists, entrepreneurs, business leaders, educators, and creators from all over the world. GA was was founded on a global vision of the world that represents how people today work and live — and it’s clear that the future of tech, innovation, and entrepreneurship will only reach its full potential through a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Our community gathers at many of the most diverse and multicultural cities in the world, like Atlanta, London, Los Angeles, New York, Singapore, Sydney, and Toronto. We strive to ensure that the GA community is not just a reflection of the world today, but of the world we want to see in the future.

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Measuring What Matters: General Assembly’s First Student Outcomes Report

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Since founding General Assembly in 2011, I’ve heard some incredible stories from our students and graduates. One of my favorites is about Jerome Hardaway. Jerome came to GA after five years in the United States Air Force. He dreamed of tackling persistent diversity gaps in the technology sector by breaking down barriers for other veterans and people of color.

In 2014, with the help of General Assembly’s Opportunity Fund scholarship, Jerome began one of our full-time Web Development Immersive courses. After graduation, he had the opportunity to pitch President Obama at the first-ever White House Demo Day and has launched a nonprofit in Nashville, Vets Who Code, which helps veterans navigate the transition to civilian life through technology skills training.

Exceptional stories like Jerome’s embody GA’s mission of “empowering people to pursue the work they love.” It’s a mission that motivates our instructional designers, faculty, mentors, and career coaches. It also inspired the development of an open source reporting framework which defined GA’s approach to measuring student outcomes and now, our first report with verified student outcomes metrics.

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Series D and Looking Forward

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General Assembly started as a small project in the heart of NYC—we set out to build a community of entrepreneurs and creators in our city’s burgeoning ecosystem. I’m in awe of the evolution we’ve seen take place—in 5 years we’ve become a global organization, now equipping tens of thousands of students with the skills they need to succeed in the new economy.

At this time of great debate around the future of higher education and workforce development, our worldwide team has succeeded in creating and scaling a model solely focused on bridging education to employment. But we are even more ambitious about our future goals: To make a visible dent in the skills gap, clearly connecting education and employment to show an ROI positive model of higher education, and build our alumni community into one of the most powerful professional networks in the world.

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General Assembly Announces Expansion of Opportunity Fund

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As General Assembly continues to grow, one of the initiatives that I’m most excited about is Opportunity Fund, which offers scholarships to underrepresented groups in the tech industry to participate in GA’s Web Development Immersive. GA is a global community of individuals empowered to pursue the work they love, and I am passionate about finding new ways to open our doors to diverse individuals around the world.

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Announcing: Opportunity Fund

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Today we are announcing the pilot of a very exciting new program, which we are calling the Opportunity Fund. Our initial partners, Microsoft, Google, Hirepurpose and Nas (yes, the rapper), have all offered up generous scholarship funds to help veterans, women, and minorities become less underrepresented in the tech industry.

Ever since we founded General Assembly, we have held our community as the central element of our identity and values. As we’ve grown, our definition of community has expanded from NYC to other cities, and even to other continents. We have relentlessly pursued our mission to “create a global community of individuals empowered to pursue work they love,” but we know there’s a ton of work to do along the way.

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General Assembly Raises $35 Million in Series C Round

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Since our launch in 2011, General Assembly has made tremendous progress towards our long-term vision: Creating a global community of individuals empowered to pursue the work they love. General Assembly has already touched hundreds of thousands of lives, with a community of more than 100,000 students, including an alumni network of more than 6,000 graduates of our courses across eight campuses.

While our progress has been tremendous, our work has barely begun. Our mandate, our deepest organizational responsibility, is to support these alumni not just now, but for many, many years to come. It is this obligation that led to our new round of funding for General Assembly, designed to ensure that we will be able to educate students and help decades of alumni yet to come. Led by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), this round represents over $35 million of investment, with participation from other investors including GSV Capital, Rethink Education, Maveron, and Western Technology Investment. IVP is an incredible firm, with an awe-inspiring portfolio including Twitter, Omniture, Netflix, Akamai, Soundcloud, and Snapchat. Todd Chaffee, general partner at IVP, is joining our board, and we’re proud to partner with the firm as we continue to expand our audience and scope of offerings.

While we look toward the future, I also want to recognize General Assembly’s team today. We have 250 amazing, talented people, working tirelessly from outposts across the globe. Working at a startup is a constant challenge and I’m proud of what our team has accomplished. Our ability to continue to invest and grow is due to their commitment to General Assembly and to our students; they are the most crucial element of our collective success to date.

While a financing round is a milestone, it is hardly an endpoint. We want to build General Assembly to still be thriving 75 years from now, and have mountains of work to do to continue to serve our students, alumni, and the countless individuals we have yet to reach. There will be new courses, new campuses, and new audiences to come. We look forward to sharing them with our growing global community.

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Coworking and Community at GA

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When we founded General Assembly, our idea was simple: we wanted to build a new place to support the growing NYC startup community.

Nearly three years later, when I look back at our early goal, I am astonished – we have overshot that goal by a considerable margin.  In a very short time, General Assembly has grown from a collaborative space that a small group within the NYC startup community could call home into a global educational institution that has helped empower nearly 70,000 individuals to pursue work they love.

Throughout this period of intense growth, the original idea has remained constant, even while the scope and scale have changed.

Over the past two and a half years, our community has grown much larger than our amazing co-working members.  It now encompasses the tens of thousands of students who’ve come through our doors and the more than 3,000 alumni of our long-form courses, not to mention the hundreds of instructors and the 2,000 hiring partners who come to GA in search of top talent.  Similarly, support once meant desks and space, but has come to also mean instruction, opportunity and talent for our students and hiring partners.

It is in this context that we have made the decision to stop offering our coworking services in 2014.  It is not a decision we took lightly – but it is a necessary one as we work to expand our global network of students and alumni.

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