GA News Category Archives - General Assembly Blog

Giving Tuesday: FREE On Demand Content for Laid-off Workers

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If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that the world changes— fast. Back then, we faced a global pandemic with no real sense of when things would get back to “normal”. Workers and employers brought new meaning to the word resiliency. Fast forward to today and we’re in the midst of a once-in-a-generation economic downturn that’s hard to ignore. 

If you’ve logged in to LinkedIn lately, you’ve probably noticed post after post from friends, family, and strangers announcing that they too have been impacted by a downsizing.  In the US alone more than 73,000 workers have been let go in mass job cuts so far in 2022, according to Crunchbase, with more predicted. While recent layoffs have happened en masse, one thing remains true— there is still a shortage of technical workers and skills. A recent Korn Ferry study found that by 2030, more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled because there aren’t enough skilled people to take them.

Starting today, Giving Tuesday, we want to help by offering our On Demand content for free to those who have been impacted by a recent layoff. Our hope is that this will give laid-off workers the opportunity to learn a digital skill or test a new career path and get a leg-up in their job hunt.

So, if your job has recently been lost, keep reading to learn how you can access our On Demand content—at no cost to you.

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We Think There’s Been a Glitch: Cyber Week Discount Activated…

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Waiting for a sign to get started on your career change? You’re in luck because this is it. If you caught our social media presence on Black Friday, you may have noticed a glitch. Thanks to that glitch, we’re excited to offer $1,000 off an immersive program* for residents in the United States and Canada. 

It can be tempting to wait until the new year to start thinking about actioning on a career change, but there’s no time like the present to get started on the next chapter of your career.

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Our New Reality: The Future of Work and Learning is Here

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It’s hard to believe that more than two years have passed since GA made the decision to close its campus doors and go fully remote in the wake of COVID-19. Despite all of the hurdles our students, faculty, and staff have faced, we are incredibly grateful that our community has remained as strong as it has – and that demand for GA’s programs, particularly outside of our urban hubs and in markets outside of the United States, has continued to grow rapidly.

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Just Launched: The Community Reskilling White Paper

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As a new year begins and the pandemic wears on, the country is grappling with the latest incarnation of an increasingly familiar paradox: millions of open positions but not enough talent to fill those roles. The many complex forces driving this new normal include the accelerating integration of technology into all facets of the enterprise; a wave of resignations and retirements; shifting policies and priorities around remote work; and a mass rejection of jobs that do not provide a living wage, health care benefits, and other quality of life supports core to the vision of the “new social contract.” 

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A Preview of Our Chapter in
“Workforce Realigned: How New Partnerships are Advancing Economic Mobility”

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Our work at the intersection of education and economic mobility gives us a unique perspective on the roles of education and workforce development when addressing challenges brought on by the pandemic. These challenges — accelerated technological change, deepened inequity, and systemic injustices — have renewed urgency as the world strives to move forward.  

In the spirit of collaboration and our commitment to positive change, we were honored to join Social Finance and the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and Philadelphia to contribute to “Workforce Realigned: How New Partnerships are Advancing Economic Mobility.” This new book, recently released in this summer of 2021, draws on the insights of federal and state policy leaders, researchers, and workforce development experts to highlight not just the aforementioned issues themselves but the ways that organizations are collaborating to create new solutions in this ever-shifting world.

Our chapter, “Access to Opportunity: The General Assembly Career Impact Bond,” offers a deep dive into a first-of-its-kind program we launched with Social Finance. To put it simply and clearly, the GA Career Impact Bond is rooted in our shared belief that individuals with fewer resources can, with the appropriate support, succeed at the same level as those with more. In addition to an income-share agreement (ISA) program in which students pay zero up-front tuition, our initiative also provides access to full-time social service professionals who directly support student needs and an emergency fund that offers ready financial assistance for students to cover unexpected costs.

The chapter also features insights and lessons learned from our work with the Career Impact Bond, including these testimonials from Career Impact Bond participants:

“I spent decades in prison and was able to learn about coding as a member of the Last Mile Program. After my release, I didn’t have a job or credit and was starting over, but wanted to continue what I learned with The Last Mile. This ISA helped me enroll in General Assembly’s immersive software engineering program and continue my journey.” 

“I didn’t have a lot of money or options and was making $20K a year. I have a son and needed to find something that would improve our lives. This ISA has put me on track for a new career, a new salary, with new skills. The emergency fund helped me during the pandemic to pay my bills when I could no longer work.”

We hope our contribution — and the book as a whole — provide leaders across business and government with concrete examples of the ways that collaboration between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors is creating new pathways to economic mobility. Curious to dive in and explore all the details? You can get your own copy of “Workforce Realigned: How New Partnerships are Advancing Economic Mobility” by downloading it here

We look forward to hearing your thoughts once you’ve had a chance to read it and to continuing the conversation about how we can best help and support workers from all underserved backgrounds in navigating the rapidly changing world of work.

Want to chat more about anything you’ve read here? Reach out to us via cheers@ga.co

An Introduction to the Vancouver Tech Community

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With its vibrant startup culture and budding talent pool, Vancouver is a popular hub where creativity, entrepreneurs, and startups intersect. Ranked as the Economist Intelligence Unit’s number one Most Liveable City in North America, more than 2 million people choose to call Vancouver home. 

Over the last five years, Vancouver has experienced a 42.6% increase in total tech occupations — even becoming the city with the fastest high-tech job growth in North America1 — and houses nearly 100,000 skilled workers and permanent residents2 within the British Columbia (BC) area. 

The city’s forward-thinking culture, natural surroundings, and diverse community leave no shortage of opportunities — its tremendous growth in tech has earned it the nickname, “Techcouver.” By 2027, this market is expected to add 83,400 new tech-related job openings.3

General Assembly is proud to announce our arrival and help cultivate thousands of meaningful connections through thoughtful partnership building and learning opportunities. Join us for expert-led classes, workshops, and inspirational panel discussions each week.

Companies and Jobs

  • Top industries: construction, film and television, high technology, manufacturing, and tourism.4
  • Major employers: Amazon, TELUS, Best Buy, BC Public Service, Fraser Health Authority, Interior Health Authority, University of British Columbia (UBC), and the City of Vancouver.5
  • Other well-known tech companies have a major presence in Vancouver, including Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Cisco Systems, Samsung, Hootsuite, Absolute Software, ACL Service, Dwave, 1Qbit, and Slack.6
  • The city also hosts growing sectors, including AI, Software as a Service (SaaS), business intelligence, cybersecurity, and FinTech.7

The Vancouver Tech Community

  • The tech industry in BC employs around 100,000 people with 75,000 working in the Vancouver metro.8
  • With a lower cost of living than other major cities, it’s a compelling environment to launch a business and attract top global talent. They introduced the Global Skills Strategy which offers highly-skilled employees work permit exemptions and faster application processing times. 
  • Vancouver Startup Week is a week-long event where entrepreneurs, investors, and community leaders connect and celebrate the city’s startup community. 
  • Go-to startup hub, Startup Vancouver, serves tech and non-tech entrepreneurs with resources for every stage of their business. 
  • Vancouver Women in Technology (VanWIT) and BC Tech — through their #WhatWorks Women in Tech Series — provide women with educational opportunities to grow their businesses and careers.

Stay in the Know

Here are just a handful of resources to help you dive deeper into Vancouver’s tech and startup ecosystem:


1 https://www.cbre.us/research-and-reports/North-America-Tech-30-2020
2https://www.cbre.us/research-and-reports/Scoring-Tech-Talent-in-North-America-2020
3https://www.straight.com/tech/1247521/demand-tech-talent-vancouver-25-percent-2018
4https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/data/statistics/business-industry-trade/industry
5https://vancouversun.com/sponsored/top-employers-vs/headline-bcs-top-employers-winners-list
6https://www.lighthouselabs.ca/en/blog/tech-companies-vancouver
7https://www.vancouvereconomic.com/focus/technology/
8https://www.vancouvereconomic.com/focus/technology/

An Introduction to the Calgary Tech Community

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Calgary has been reinvented from the ‘energy capital of Canada’ into an innovative and thriving center of digital transformation. Quickly becoming the largest driver of new solutions within the tech sector, Calgary is embracing opportunities that make a difference.

In a recent report, tech companies in the area have more than doubled in the past three years alone — and despite economic impact due from the pandemic, 14% of those new tech companies launched in 2020. Additionally, 40% of businesses are reporting annual revenues of over $1 million,1 showcasing the power of Calgary’s energetic ideas and transformative solutions.

Calgary is diverse in culture. More than 29% of the population immigrated from elsewhere, representing 240 different ethnic origins.2 The numbers will only go higher thanks to an investment of $18.4 billion in digital transformation — 77,000 tech jobs will be added across Alberta in the next few years. In fact, Calgary is expected to have a tech boom with the number of companies at least doubling by 2030.3

General Assembly is proud to announce our arrival and help cultivate thousands of meaningful connections through thoughtful partnership building and learning opportunities. Join us for expert-led classes, workshops, and inspirational panel discussions each week.

Companies and Jobs

  • Top industries: agribusiness, creative industries, energy & environment, financial services, healthcare, and technology.4
  • Major employers: University of Calgary, Alberta Health Services, Shaw Communications, Suncor Energy, Inc., and Imperial Oil Limited.5

The Calgary Tech Community

  • Alberta has a higher percentage of women tech company founders than the global average (27%), compared with 20% globally.6 Organizations such as The Chic Geek, Making Changes, and SheInnovates, Alberta design programs and provide resources to accelerate the careers of women entrepreneurs and innovators.
  • There are local organizations in Calgary founded to support its growing tech community, where you can discover opportunities to network and learn: 
    • Startup Calgary serves early stage entrepreneurs and strengthens the city’s innovation ecosystem through networking, partnerships, and programming.
    • Pixels and Pints connects web developers and digital designers through monthly meet-ups.
    • Assembly Coworking Space offers affordable spaces for tech startups and social enterprises. They also host events in their common areas to connect and learn from fellow entrepreneurs. 
    • Innovate Calgary, a business incubator and member of the UCalgary innovation ecosystem, offers startup support programs.
    • Immigrant Techies Alberta organizes regular networking events for highly-skilled immigrants in the tech industry. 
    • Digital Alberta supports the tech community with new talent and partnership opportunities through a membership network.  

Stay in the Know

Here are just a handful of resources to help you dive deeper into Calgary tech: 


1https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/tech-companies-alberta-doubles-1.5998124
2https://calgaryeconomicdevelopment.com/why-calgary/be-part-of-the-energy/working-in-calgary/
3https://calgaryeconomicdevelopment.com/newsroom/diversifying-economy-changing-opportunities/
4https://calgaryeconomicdevelopment.com/sectors/
5https://calgaryherald.com/sponsored/top-employers-ch/albertas-top-employers-winners-list-3
6https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/tech-companies-alberta-doubles-1.5998124

One Team, 200 Years of Educational Experience

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“Attitude will get you the job, but skills evolve the job — a perfect metaphor for what GA does… we bring the essential skills.”

— Roger Lee, CMO of General Assembly

First, let’s talk numbers.

Ten years ago, we began our journey in one tiny NYC working space with less than a handful of founders and leaders and one BIG idea — we wanted to offer people the necessary skills to prepare them for the future of work. Ultimately, we wanted to transform lives.

Fast-forward to today. 

Our BIG idea is still the same, but now we’re a pioneering global leader — with a seat at the head of the table. Sometimes, we can’t quite believe it ourselves, but we’ve done our due diligence and will continue to. And we will continue to lead.

Looking back to look ahead.

As we have reiterated throughout our history, we could never be in the place we are without the feedback of our global community of instructors, industry leaders, students, business partners, and, yes, competitors. We will maintain our position in the space and keep evolving with the guidance of our multifaceted senior leadership team — a mixture of new yet seasoned executives and GA veterans. This formidable group believes in our mission of innovation, global expansion — SLT members are located in Boston, Mexico City, Miami, New York City, Paris, San Diego, San Francisco, and Zurich — and the endless possibilities of the future. 

We meet people where they are — with the right people.

GA’s SLT has grown and evolved in response to growing employer demands and the aspirations of worldwide professionals. They bring a collective 200 years of education experience and a range of perspectives and insights that span the globe across multiple generations, cultures, and sectors. This group acts, thinks, and dreams big — global-scale big — in order to meet the industry’s shifting demands.

Meet the Team

Without further ado, we’d like to introduce some of GA’s newest movers and shakers on our senior leadership team and encourage you to explore some of their driving insights:

Shweta Bhasin, SVP of Human Resources

Shweta brings 20 years of experience in HR consulting and corporate HR roles across the telecom, professional services, and education industries. She joins us from Pearson, where she was part of the Global HR Leadership team.

  • Quote To Note: “The strong attraction for me was GA’s mission — feeling the employability skills gap and transforming lives through education. This is a powerful and purposeful mission — so, being part of this journey, with new, more global markets, brought me here…”

Ella Balagula, SVP & Global Head of Enterprise 

Ella brings 25 years of general management, digital transformation, and EdTech growth experience. Most recently, she was EVP and GM of knowledge and learning at Wiley, managing a portfolio of education businesses.

  • Quote To Note: “This is a dream job! I believe that in today’s world, corporations and governments have both a responsibility and an acute need to upskill employees and communities and take charge of preparing people to face the future.”

Alberto Cavero, SVP of Strategy & Transformation

Alberto joins us from Laureate Education, where he served as the chief transformation officer and formerly as the strategy director. Previously, he worked on strategic consulting at Boston Consulting Group.

  • Quote To Note: “GA is a great success story, has great talented people, but mostly, it has huge potential — that’s what I really like about this opportunity. I can encourage bottom-up innovation and transformation to achieve our goals.”

Danielle Chircop, SVP & Global Head of Product

Danielle joins us with 16 years of experience in adult education and over a decade of leadership in instructional design, product, and technology. Most recently, she was VP of digital products at Kaplan North America.  

  • Quote To Note: “Being able to be a huge part of the next wave of innovation at GA and bring it to its next big phase of life is something that’s so incredibly exciting… helping people change their lives and change their careers is hugely important.”  

Roger Lee, SVP of Marketing & Admissions

Roger brings 25 years of marketing experience, most recently as VP of performance marketing at the University of Phoenix.

  • Quote To Note: “Everyone here must find qualified hand-raisers, scale the number of them, personalize their journey, and give compelling reasons to help meet their career goals. We have one goal, and that goal is to help everyone interested understand that GA does it better than anyone else.”

Jason Fournier, VP of Product Management

Jason spent 15 years at Pearson, most recently as VP of product management and AI products and solutions. 

  • Quote To Note: “I’ve spent my entire career in education because I believe that it can have an exponential impact. What I found compelling about General Assembly is that we aren’t just helping people find jobs; we’re helping them build careers, gain confidence in themselves, and change the trajectory of their lives.” 

David Porcaro, Ph.D., VP of Learning & Innovation

David most recently served as director of learning engineering at the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative. 

  • Quote To Note: “I came to GA because I’m passionate about providing access to the tech field to diverse learners on a global scale. My job as a leader is to help surface the principles, examples, evidence, concepts, and tools that have effectively got people in similar contexts to their goals.”

These impressive individuals will join our existing team of seasoned leaders, including Catie Brand, VP of human resources; Philipp Lustenberger, SVP of finance; Jayshree Mahtani, general counsel; Tom Ogletree, VP of social impact and external affairs; and Scott Zaloom, SVP of campus operations.

With new and veteran insights governing the entirety of our business, we are equipped to take on the now, the new, and the next levels of our journey with a balanced collective of game-changing executives who will be led by CEO Lisa Lewin, recently hired in 2020. Although our leaders’ 200 years of combined educational experience is quite substantial, their insatiable curiosity and quest for better is infinite. And we’re just getting started.

“These hires reflect a commitment to innovation, in response to accelerated demand for upskilling + reskilling at scale. They’ll leverage remote learning best practices that we honed during the pandemic to reach new global audiences and geographies.”

— Lisa Lewin, CEO of General Assembly

Hungry to hear more? Read Our Latest Press Statement

Our Commitment to Safe In-Person Learning: What You Need to Know

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As we resume offering in-person learning in the U.S., we’re ensuring that students are set up for success in a safe learning environment. Below is everything you need to know about our policy, including answers to questions you might have. For individuals who will not be enrolled in a full-time immersive or part-time course when they visit, please scroll down to the section titled For Class and Workshop Attendees and Other Visitors.

For Full-Time and Part-Time Students

Vaccinations

All enrolled GA students in the US must be fully vaccinated prior to starting their in-person program.The CDC defines fully vaccinated as when you received all doses in the primary series.

  • 3-8 weeks after an individual’s second dose in a 2-dose primary series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or Novavax.
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

Students will have to declare their vaccination status during the admissions process and will be required to show proof of vaccination on or before their first day of class. We will not be saving any vaccination records. 

Masks [New Update]

Regardless of the latest CDC announcement or other national and/or local health authority guidance regarding masks, we will be requiring all students to wear a mask in the classroom only and optional to wear masks in the common areas. Although we made these changes, we want to strongly encourage our GA community to continue wearing masks throughout campus.

Students may remove their masks if they are actively eating or drinking.

All students will also be required to follow any building-specific public safety guidance as outlined by each campus’s property management company. Students must adhere to any mask policies set forth by the building for public areas, such as elevators, building lobbies, public restrooms, parking garages, bike storage facilities, communal workspaces, public cafeterias, snack bars, or restaurants, etc.

Check-in Procedure

All students will need to be registered ahead of time and submit a health declaration form using the Envoy workplace management platform prior to entering campus.  

This form will attest that each individual is not exhibiting any COVID-related symptoms, and that they have not tested positive for COVID themselves. This questionnaire will need to be submitted prior to visiting campus each time via an app or when arriving at campus via a QR code displayed on a tablet at the campus entrance.  

After their initial registration on Envoy, all entrants to the space (staff, instructors, students, and visitors) will be required to sign-in and out using the Envoy workplace management platform and submit the health questionnaire each time they plan to come to campus. Individuals can do so via an app or by using the tablet at the campus entrance.

  • If on any given day an individual experiences a change to their health and/or answers “yes” to any of the COVID-related questions on the health questionnaire, they will be asked to stay home, inform their Student Success Specialist, and consult a medical professional.  

Social Distancing

Students may adhere to social distancing guidelines as mentioned by the CDC website while on a GA campus.

Exposure Management Guidelines

Please stay home and contact your Campus Manager and Student Success team if:

  • You have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • You are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms

If you come to campus and are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 you will be asked to go home. Please reference the most up to date COVID-19 information on the CDC website. You are encouraged to contact your medical provider if you have any medical related questions or concerns regarding exposure or are exhibiting symptoms.

If a staff member, student or visitor tests positive for COVID-19, we will inform fellow employees, students and visitors to campus. We will maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Those who have symptoms should self-isolate and follow CDC recommended steps.

Student Enrollment and Withdrawal Policy

  • Students will not be permitted to switch their enrollment between in-person and online learning once the program has started. Any requests to change delivery format will follow our standard withdrawal and refund policy as outlined in the Student’s Enrollment Agreement and Student Course Catalog.

For Class and Workshop Attendees and Other Visitors

Vaccinations

Full vaccination is a requirement for anyone who visits a GA campus. Campus visitors will be required to show proof of vaccination or complete a self-attestation through Envoy depending on state and local guidelines. We will not be saving or storing proof of vaccination.

Check In Procedures with Envoy

All campus visitors will be asked to submit a health declaration form using the Envoy workplace management platform on campus. 

This form will attest that each individual is not exhibiting any COVID-related symptoms; and that they have not tested positive for COVID themselves. This questionnaire will need to be submitted prior to visiting campus each time via an app or when arriving at campus via a QR code displayed on a tablet at the campus entrance.

After their initial registration on Envoy, all entrants to the space will be required to sign-in and out using the Envoy workplace management platform and submit the health questionnaire each time they plan to come to campus. Individuals can do so via an app or by using the tablet at the campus entrance.   

  • If on any given day an individual experiences a change to their health and/or answers “yes” to any of the COVID-related questions on the health questionnaire, they will be asked to stay home, inform their manager, and consult a medical professional.  

In advance of their appointment, they must register and submit a health declaration form using the Envoy workplace management platform prior to entering campus. 

Visitors will be required to use our Envoy platform to sign in on prior to entering campus. 

Mask Protocols

  • Regardless of the latest CDC announcement or other national and/or local health authority guidance regarding masks or face coverings, we will be requiring all visitors to wear a mask while entering or walking around campus.
  • All visitors will also be required to follow any building-specific public safety guidance as outlined by each campus’s property management company. Visitors must adhere to any mask policies set forth by the building for public areas, such as elevators, building lobbies, public restrooms, parking garages, bike storage facilities, communal workspaces, public cafeterias, snack bars, or restaurants, etc. 

Social Distancing

  • All visitors may adhere to social distancing guidelines as stated on the CDC website while on a GA campus.

Visitor Policy

  • All visitors to a GA campus will need to be registered on the Envoy platform ahead of time and submit a health declaration on entering campus. This form will attest that each individual is:  
    • Not exhibiting any COVID-related symptoms.
    • Has not tested positive for COVID themselves.    
  • Subsequent visits to campus: After the initial visit and submission of the health declaration form, all entrants to the space will be required to sign in and out using the Envoy workplace management platform each time they plan to come to campus. By signing in each day, individuals are declaring that there has been no change to their health since the initial submission of the form. Individuals can sign in and out with the app or tablet at the campus entrance.
  • Visitors may be required to submit a release and waiver prior to entering campus.   

Other Precautions

  • Signage: All campuses will display COVID-19 and social distancing-related signage throughout the space in compliance with requirements of our parent company, The Adecco Group, and our global campus operations.  
  • Safety Supplies: All campuses will be required to have virus protection and general health safety supplies installed and available. These supplies include: disposable face masks, disposable Nitrile gloves, hand sanitizer, temperature kits, and disinfectant wipes.
  • Cleaning: All campuses will ensure that a thorough cleaning of all spaces occurs at least once a day and/or in between use cases. A thorough cleaning will consist of wiping down all desks and surfaces with a COVID-effective disinfectant, in addition to daily janitorial services. Disinfectant wipes will also be provided for staff, students, and instructors to clean their workspaces, any communal spaces used (i.e. kitchen table), and their personal belongings. 

FAQ’s

Will GA staff be vaccinated?

We take the rules seriously. Employee vaccination status is protected medical information that cannot be disclosed by employers, so we are unable to publicize the vaccination status of a GA employee.

What if I’m not feeling well or am exhibiting COVID symptoms or have been exposed to COVID?

Safety first — everything else can follow. The GA Student Success team will work with students to ensure they can make up for missed lessons and know how it will impact their absence record. You should inform your Student Success Specialist immediately and stay home if you either:

  • Are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Have been advised by a health professional to quarantine or isolate.  

Can I access campus if I’m not enrolled in a course or scheduled to attend an event?

Visitors will be permitted on campus only for the duration of their meeting, event or workshop after submitting their Covid- 19 questionnaire using Envoy.

If I’m enrolled in a remote program, will I be required to attend campus at some point?

Students enrolled in a remote program will have access to the GA campus at any point during enrollment period.

Will GA offer hybrid learning options?

Right now, we’re focused on reopening our campuses to safely offer in-person learning experiences. However, our team is currently researching the best ways to launch a hybrid modality for our courses while considering safety and health protocol.