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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. 

An Introduction to the Dallas Tech Community

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The Dallas-Fort Worth area (DFW) has remained a constant game-changer when it comes to innovation and technology.1 It’s prime real estate for tech talent, with multiple Fortune 1000 companies calling this area home and one of the fastest job-growth rates among major cities. Between the attractive salary potential, budding entrepreneurial scene2, inexpensive real-estate, no state or local income tax, and central geographical location, there are many reasons why the DFW area led the nation in metropolitan population growth in 2020. 

Community is at the center of everything we do, which is why GA Dallas fosters an ecosystem of individuals seeking to transform their careers with expert-led classes and workshops each week. Since opening our doors in 2019, we’ve already attracted more than 19 active hiring partners, ranging from Dallas-raised brands to international corporations. 

Companies and Jobs 

  • Top industries: defense3, financial services, technology, energy4, manufacturing, as well as aviation & aerospace.
  • Major employers5: Walmart, American Airlines, JPMorgan Chase, Southwest Airlines, Target Co., Raytheon, IBM, Mary Kay, and Neiman Marcus. 
  • Large enterprises like Verizon, Wells Fargo, NTT Data, and Lockheed Martin are increasing their IT hiring efforts in DFW.6
  • Adding over 110,000 jobs in March and a potential increase in job growth, Dallas proves to be promising as it bounces back from the pandemic.7

The Dallas Tech Community 

Stay In the Know

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

  • Stay up to date with the Dallas startup scene with the Startup Digest Dallas insider newsletter.
  • The Dallas Regional Chamber provides an in-depth logistical view of DFW, the latest in talent attraction, startups and founders to connect with, and economic development news. 
  • Stay apprised. Check out Dallas Innovates for the latest moves within the tech industry, including acquisitions, social impact, new weekly patents & grants filed in Dallas, as well as university collaborations. 

1https://dallasinnovates.com/dallas-rises-to-the-no-2-city-for-tech-professionals-a-new-comptia-report-shows/
2https://dallasinnovates.com/the-innovation-ecosystem-dallas-fort-worth-is-a-big-place-its-also-remarkably-well-connected/
3 http://www.city-data.com/us-cities/The-South/Dallas-Economy.html
4https://realestate.usnews.com/places/texas/dallas-fort-worth/jobs#:~:text=In%20the%20Dallas%20area%2C%20the,manufacturing%2C%20and%20aviation%20and%20aerospace
5 https://destinationdfw.com/Largest-Employers-in-Dallas-Fort-Worth-Texas
6 https://dallas.culturemap.com/news/innovation/11-12-20-dallas-fort-worth-beats-silicon-valley-top-tech-cities-comptia/
7 https://dfw.cbslocal.com/2021/04/16/dallas-fed-texas-jobs-rebounded-march/

An Introduction to the Philadelphia Tech Community

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With a robust population of 5.8 million people1, Philadelphia (or Philly) boasts a rich and diverse culture founded on hard work and innovation. The growing pool of highly skilled tech talent in the area is a testament to why it’s becoming one of the most promising tech hubs in the country. It’s also home to the nation’s 7th largest workforce (3.4 million) and the top U.S. business school.2 

Ranking third in the nation for best cities for women in the tech sector based on the gender pay gap,3 Philadelphians are reshaping the future of work into a more equitable playing field for all. The opportunity for non-technical advancement is also growing at a rapid pace for the emerging tech talent pipeline4 — not to mention the other Pennsylvania cities with growing tech communities, such as Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Pittsburgh. 

With its neighborly feel, a deeply connected community is a signature feature of Philadelphia  — one that is instrumental to the city’s history as well as its future. GA Philly plans to cultivate thousands of meaningful connections through thoughtful partnership building and learning opportunities by facilitating expert-led classes and workshops and intentional panel discussions each week.

Companies and Jobs

  • Top industries: life sciences, information technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, energy, financial and professional services, logistics, and manufacturing.5
  • Major employers:6 Comcast, Day & Zimmerman, Clarivate, Spectra, Health-Union, Sidecar Interactive, Spark Therapeutics, Meet Group, Vici Media, and Phenom People.7
  • Philadelphia is considered the leader in healthcare innovation with increased investment in biotech.8 The Greater Philadelphia region is home to more than 30 cell and gene therapy development companies,9 as well as the CAR T-cell cancer treatment therapy — developed in a collaboration by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Penn Medicine.10
  • The recent surge in job postings suggests that exciting possibilities are on the horizon. With a lower cost of living than other major cities, it’s a compelling environment to launch a business and attract new talent.12

The Philadelphia Tech Community

  • With 5,100 tech businesses,13 organizations like Philly Startup Leaders are creating space for startups to connect with leaders in the community.14
  • From a women-focused non-profit to a community-led talent marketplace, there are local organizations where you can find resources to start a business, offer your support, or connect with like-minded entrepreneurs. 
    • Want to help diversify the tech talent pipeline? Philly Tech Sistas is a non-profit organization that helps women of color gain technical and professional skills in order to work, thrive, and level up in the tech industry. 
    • Require assistance to build a product or enhance your business? Think Company has a team full of experts in design, developing, and coaching (featuring some of our very own GA alumni!).
    • Need a diverse and supportive community of fellow tech enthusiasts? Tribaja is not only community-led but offers tons of resources for your next career move.
  • Having the lowest office rental rates among top metros, Philly is home to some of the most elite co-working spaces such as 1776, CIC Philadelphia, Industrious, and City CoHo — all great places to check out for networking or collaborating with entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and creatives.

Stay in the Know

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

  • Subscribe to Billy Penn, one of Philly’s media channels for local news and announcements, or Technical.ly Philly for daily updates on navigating Philly’s local economy. 
  • Small Biz Philly covers everything related to launching and growing small businesses.
  • Check out Philly Mag to stay in the loop on the latest industry trends, events, and upcoming business ventures in the area.

1https://www.macrotrends.net/cities/23098/philadelphia/population#:~:text=The%20current%20metro%20area%20population,a%200.18%25%20increase%20from%202018.
2https://selectgreaterphl.com/key-industries/
3 https://selectgreaterphl.com/why-here/
4https://mapping.cbre.com/maps/Scoring-Tech-Talent-2020/
5 https://selectgreaterphl.com/key-industries/
6 https://builtin.com/philadelphia/largest-companies-in-philadelphia
7 https://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/news/2019/11/11/7-philadelphia-area-companies-make-deloitte.html
8 https://www.fox.temple.edu/posts/2020/01/philadelphias-hub-for-innovations-in-healthcare/#:~:text=With%20innovations%20deeply%20rooted%20in,cell%2Dbased%20research%20and%20therapies.&text=%E2%80%9CPenn%20has%20contributed%20eight%20FDA,%2C%20or%20%E2%80%9CCellicon%E2%80%9D%20Valley.
9 https://selectgreaterphl.com/cell-and-gene-therapy-and-connected-health/
10 https://gps.chop.edu/news/fda-approves-personalized-cellular-therapy-advanced-leukemia-developed-university-pennsylvania
11 https://technical.ly/jobs/
12 https://www.libertycitypress.com/starting-a-business-in-philly/#:~:text=While%20it’s%20true%20that%20the,government%20support%20for%20early%20entrepreneurs.
13 https://technical.ly/infographic/philadelphia/
14  https://www.phillystartupleaders.org/

An Introduction to the San Diego Tech Community

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Miles of white-sand beaches, perfect weather, and a red-hot tech scene — welcome to the modern San Diego. With its charming neighborhoods and diverse community, San Diego has been revered as “America’s Finest City.” But in recent years, it’s also quickly gained a reputation as a hotspot for startups and tech jobs, which accounts for almost 9% of total employment. A high concentration of millennials in the area — a characteristic of vibrant tech ecosystems — is only one force bringing San Diego into the future of work. A recent report found that millennials account for 24% of the region’s population and more than half of the population is younger than 39 years old. 

Successful tech companies such as Qualcomm, LunaDNA, and Aira share a common mission — to make the world a better place through innovation and community. With startup gateways such as Fresh Brewed Tech, Startup San Diego, and General Assembly, it is no doubt you’ll find support and opportunities to collaborate in San Diego. 

Companies and Jobs

  • Top industries: defense/military, tourism, international trade, and research/manufacturing.  
  • Major employers: Naval Base San Diego, University of California San Diego (UCSD), San Diego County, Sharp HealthCare, Cubic Corporation, and Pulse Electronics. 
  • San Diego ranks ninth in the nation for tech jobs. 

The San Diego Tech Community

  • The emergence of organizations supporting entrepreneurs is another reason why the city is on track to becoming the next tech hub: 
    • Startup San Diego is a nonprofit organization that upskills, guides, and connects the local community with the right resources to create an equitable startup ecosystem and community. 
    • Connect San Diego provides entrepreneurs access to investors, mentors, and education. 
    • LatinaGeeks empowers and inspires Latinas by sharing technical knowledge, business skills, and entrepreneurship resources. 
    • San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation is a non-profit organization that works to grow San Diego’s economy. 
    • We Tha Plug is a global community of Pan-African, Latinx, and other underrepresented founders, venture capitalists, and angel investors.
    • San Diego Tech Hub (SDTH) offers a vast support network for individuals in tech.  
    • 1 Million Cups San Diego is a free program that empowers entrepreneurs with the tools and resources to start and grow their businesses. 
    • San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange is a nonprofit organization run by local entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs.
    • Athena is a premier women’s advocacy organization that fast tracks women in STEM through leadership development.
    • Hera Hub is a women-focused coworking space and business accelerator. 
  • The San Diego tech community also hosts dynamic networking events — the largest being March Mingle — to celebrate the latest technologies and startups of the area. Startup San Diego also organizes annual events, such as San Diego Startup Week Month and Convergence, packed with panel discussions, hands-on workshops, and pitch competitions. 

Stay in the Know

If you’re new to the community, this guide by the San Diego startup community will come in handy when navigating the local tech scene. We’ve also listed additional resources to help you keep up with the latest San Diego tech news and events:


1https://www.globest.com/2020/01/06/why-san-diego-has-such-a-high-population-of-young-people/
2 https://www.globest.com/2020/05/04/san-diego-ranked-ninth-in-nation-for-tech-jobs/?slreturn=20210204173152

An Introduction to the Twin Cities Tech Community

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Nestled comfortably in the northern Midwest, Minneapolis and St. Paul — or the Twin Cities — are known for their abundant lakes, expansive parks, and snowy winters. The metro area is home to more than a dozen established Fortune 500 companies, as well as a bustling startup community. From its iconic hospitality to diverse career prospects, the Twin Cities is more than flyover country. Twin Cities Startup Week — with its innovative fly-in program — is proof that it’s a great place to grow a startup and your professional network. According to CNBC, it’s also the best city for women entrepreneurs, having nearly 20% of businesses owned by women and a high early startup success rate of over 80%. 

Companies and Jobs

  • Top industries: healthcare, medical tech, finance, manufacturing, food and agriculture, and more.
  • Major employers: UnitedHealth Group, Target Corporation, Best Buy, 3M, US Bank, and General Mills. 
  • Between 2016 and 2017, there was a 40% increase in startup investments. There’s also an emergence of startup accelerators such as TechStars and gener8tor

The Twin Cities Tech Community

  • The tech community is thriving — organizations like Minnestar make it easy for founders, mentors, volunteers, and employees to connect. 
  • They also host dynamic tech and startup events such as Twin Cities Startup Week — an annual conference with over 200+ events and 15,000+ attendees — and MinneDemo, a showcase of Minnesota-made tech products.

Stay in the Know

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


1 https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/09/top-10-us-cities-for-women-entrepreneurs-according-to-new-report.html
2 https://www.greatermsp.org/

An Introduction to the Salt Lake City Tech Community

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Salt Lake City has long been a haven for skiers chasing the “best snow on Earth” and adventurers exploring Utah’s many national parks. However, Salt Lake City has recently garnered new attention as a booming tech ecosystem. Multiple high-profile companies — like Adobe and eBay — have opened campuses in the area, while home-grown companies like Qualtrics, Domo, Instructure, Pluralsight, and Lucid have achieved significant success. This tremendous growth across the tech landscape has earned the city the nickname, “Silicon Slopes.” Overall, the tech sector is growing at a tremendous rate in both Utah and Salt Lake City. According to a Gardner report, tech jobs in Utah are growing at twice the rate of the national average, with one in seven jobs based in tech and innovation. In Salt Lake City specifically, tech jobs have grown by 12% since January 20181.

What makes Salt Lake City so attractive for tech companies? For starters, Salt Lake City is a young, highly-educated city, with a median population age of 31.7 years2. The city also boasts the country’s newest international airport, providing easy access for business and personal trips. From a cultural perspective, Utah prides itself on being the Beehive State, reflecting the area’s values of industry, community, and collaboration. This is evident in local organizations like Silicon Slopes — a nonprofit that fosters the startup and tech community through education and events, including the annual Silicon Slopes Summit that hosts more than 15,000 attendees. All of this has resulted in a massive influx of diverse talent to Salt Lake City, particularly in 2020 — LinkedIn’s data showed that Salt Lake City had the second highest gains in net arrivals of any city in the U.S. 

Companies and Jobs

  • Top industries: education, healthcare, and retail.3 
  • Major employers: Wal-Mart, The University of Utah, the state of Utah, Intermountain Health Care, and the U.S. government.4 
  • Utah leads the nation in industry growth in life sciences and recently introduced BioHive, a “healthcare corridor designed to nurture this cutting-edge industry.”5 
  • Salt Lake City’s unemployment rate remains well below the national average at 3.7% in 2020, compared to 6.7% nationally.6

The Salt Lake City Tech Community

Stay in the Know

Here are just a handful of resources to help you dive deeper into Salt Lake City tech:


1https://www.deseret.com/2019/3/17/20668559/who-s-hiring-the-most-tech-workers-in-salt-lake-city-the-answer-may-surprise-you
2https://datausa.io/profile/geo/salt-lake-city-ut/#economy
3 https://datausa.io/profile/geo/salt-lake-city-ut/#economy
4https://jobs.utah.gov/wi/data/library/firm/majoremployers.html
5https://www.tradeandindustrydev.com/region/utah/news/ut-salt-lake-city-introduces-new-biohive-hub-healt-17336
6https://www.deptofnumbers.com/unemployment/utah/salt-lake-city/

Meet Lisa, General Assembly’s New CEO

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As General Assembly embarks on a new chapter within a new world, we’ve turned to Lisa Lewin for CEO leadership at this shifted moment — and we couldn’t be more thrilled.

On her first day as CEO at General Assembly, Lisa Lewin sat down with Co-Founder and outgoing GA CEO Jake Schwartz to share more about her journey and passion for education in a Zoom fireside chat with our global GA team. 

An Excerpt From Their Conversation:

Jake: Tell us more about your background!

Lisa: I have spent the better part of my career in education, art, science, and the business of education. I have always been deeply dedicated to impact — that’s the thing that ties everything together in my career. I’m a believer that the way to be happy in this life is to try to help others flourish, and I think education is a place to do that. I have spent time at big companies like McGraw Hill and Pearson, and I also built my own tech company that created curriculums for post-secondary institutions. 

Jake: How did you end up at GA? What was your first introduction to GA? 

Lisa: GA is kind of sprinkled throughout my career and has inserted itself into my life in random ways over the past few years. And I’ll just give a couple of examples. When I launched my own tech company, I was the first employee, so I literally had to build everything, including doing the code myself on our first products. I needed to learn and refine my skills in product development and design and took a GA course to do just that. It was an incredible experience, and so I became a fan way back then in the early days of GA. 

Then, at Pearson, I ran the global technology and product team with over 1,000 people across every continent. I always had great faith if I was sending one of my staff to GA — engineers, UX experts, data scientists — that they were going to come back with immediately applicable skills. If you’re going to invest like that, you’ve got to believe there’s an ROI, and there was always an ROI when I would send people to GA. 

And then lastly, just this year, I needed something fixed so I called a handyman I used to call all the time for help. I sent him a text, and he was like, “Actually, I don’t do that anymore.” He went on to explain how he had launched an entirely new, amazing career in web development by getting a certificate at a place called GA. So as someone who has dedicated her career to education and deeply believes in impact, that is a long-winded way of saying I’m super excited to be here and have been a fan for a very long time.

Jake: One question we always ask our employees when they join the company at our “team lunch” gatherings, is who was your favorite teacher you ever had, and why? 

Lisa: My mother was a teacher who actually taught me how to read at home. And that was marvelous. She’s definitely the teacher that has had the biggest influence on my life. Outside of her, it’s a tie between my music teacher and history teacher. The music teacher, because he created the model that I hope I use now, which is giving feedback with kindness, understanding how to help people get better, and giving critical feedback in a humane way. And then, the history teacher helped form my brain’s ability to recognize patterns. History is about pattern recognition. How do you balance between applying what you know to be true and successful, while also staying open to new input, new information, and being agile? 

Jake: I don’t know how many CEO transitions have happened during a worldwide pandemic. At GA, we’ve had quite a journey converting everything from offline to online in a matter of days. It’s such a unique moment, and I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on the opportunity for GA, and how we think about our role at this moment where everything seems in flux. 

Lisa: There is a genuine, legitimate need for what we’re doing right now. Yet, there are businesses out there trying to figure out what to push into the universe. I don’t want to be in that kind of business in a world where there is no shortage of needs. Why bother producing things where you have to invent or create demand? 

In a world where there is no shortage of needs, particularly for people who are trying to get a rung on the economic ladder, for people who recently lost their employment or are in industries that have completely collapsed, our core mission to help people find meaningful work is legitimately useful and in need right now. 

I also want to say one other thing about this moment, and about business in general. I just don’t see the point in coming to work and ignoring that the world is on fire. I’ve got to believe I’m not the only person in the universe who wakes up in the morning and starts “doom-scrolling” through the news. There’s no point (in) trying to shut that off for the workday. What I say all the time is that business leaders have a choice in “a world on fire”: we have a choice to be arsonists, bystanders or firefighters, and only one of those is the right choice. Businesses won’t solve all the universe’s problems, but we need to acknowledge that we are in a moment where the communities and customers we serve are experiencing a public health crisis, layered on top of a climate crisis, layered on top of inequitable distribution of wealth and opportunity. We need to ask ourselves how we can be thoughtfully and strategically helpful. 

We need to ask ourselves how we can ensure that the world is getting better as we get bigger and better. That’s a healthy question all businesses should be asking right now.

A new chapter

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A message from co-founder and CEO Jake Schwartz:

Today marks an important new chapter in the General Assembly story. We’ve had a lot of these big milestones since we started as a team of four almost ten years ago. In that time, we raised five rounds of venture capital, expanded to nearly forty markets in seven countries, launched hundreds of new programs and courses, worked with over 400 companies on large-scale digital transformation initiatives, and were acquired by the largest human capital solutions company in the world. 

All of these chapters had a few common threads. Our mission, our vision, our approach to the world — and, me as CEO. So this new chapter is going to be different, which will involve me stepping away from my role as CEO of General Assembly after ten amazing years. 

As with any big change, I feel some uncertainty and a level of trepidation (a feeling I know that our students experience every single day as they gain new skills and transform their careers). But I’m also really, really happy, because we’ve found a really dynamic and talented executive to step into the CEO role. Over the past six months, we’ve run a robust and intensive search, with a lot of deliberation and consideration of many talented and qualified candidates. 

So: I am excited to announce Lisa Lewin as our new Chief Executive Officer, starting August 17.  I have absolute confidence that Lisa is the leader who will ensure that General Assembly reaches its ambitious growth goals, while also contributing to the culture that will ensure its continued success. I am also looking forward to being a part of this process — I’ve told Lisa I’m here for whatever support she wants or needs (while of course not getting in the way.)

At the start of GA, I was just coming out of the painful anxious experience of graduating college into a recession, feeling lost and lonely in the world of work. Being able to translate that experience into an ever expanding pathway for others in the same predicament has been incredibly meaningful to me personally. But to be able to build this among a brilliant cast of thousands — team members, students, alumni, partners, investors — has been the greatest honor of my working life. I cannot think of a better steward for the next phase of this company’s development than Lisa Lewin, and I cannot wait to see what comes next for General Assembly.

To learn more about General Assembly’s new CEO, Lisa Lewin, read our press release here.

Filling the Gap Between Learning & Engagement

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The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rapid and forced transformation of many businesses. Plans that companies previously anticipated rolling out over many years have been decided and implemented in weeks.  

Amid this rapid change where many are scrambling to adapt, leaders should ask themselves what other “five-year plans” should fastrack to keep pace with these critical business plans. One of the plans that companies should evaluate is talent development: how can businesses develop strategic plans to meet the needs of their rapidly evolving businesses?   

Creating talent development work isn’t as easy as providing online learning to employees. Our Marketing Standards board members met recently and uncovered an unexpected commonality. While all of them are making learning available to their employees, the primary area for improvement on their employee engagement surveys continues to be upskilling. This revelation brought on a layered conversation about the common challenges employers face when it comes to engaging employees in training and development — especially when these pieces of training are online. So, what’s causing the disconnect between desire and action on upskilling employees, and most importantly, what can leaders do about it?   

Understanding the Disconnect

Upskilling is urgent for employers — especially for newer professionals who aren’t going to be satisfied in their jobs if there are no learning (or advancement) opportunities. Employees don’t merely want a job; they want to work for companies they can learn from and grow within; employees wish to build careers.  

In a Deloitte survey, 90% of employees said their organizations were redesigning jobs. The World Economic Forum reported that more than half of all its employees would require reskilling or upskilling to address the digital skills gaps driven by changing job requirements over the next three years.  

For many reasons like these, our board members agree that it’s an employer’s responsibility to make learning available and an integrated part of the employee experience.  

So, what’s getting in the way of learning — from the employee perspective?  

Two big factors are time and incentive. Many employees feel like there’s not enough time during the workday to take the training accessible to them. Others don’t prioritize upskilling because although they want new and updated skills, there is no extrinsic motivator for learning them. One of the clearest opportunities for extrinsic motivation often isn’t clearly connected to training: it’s the idea that training and skills are requisite expectations for the job or performance. The right jobs motivate all of us.  

Possible Solutions

Providing employees with upskilling opportunities signals to them that they are valued and that they have a future within their workplace organization. However, offering a training program isn’t enough — the implementation of these programs must be intentional, structured, and relevant. During our conversation, board members came up with tips that can help companies foster a learning-positive workplace. These tips include:  

1. Partner With Leadership to Allocate Time During the Workday

Big roadblocks employees face: blocking time to make learning important and creating company-wide time blocks, like “No Meetings Fridays,” to provide designated time for employee upskilling. Making these time blocks company-wide is critical. If some teams aren’t participating in it, they’ll throw a meeting on the calendar that conflicts with the learning time. At that point, you’ve lost the consistent open time and original initiative purpose you’re trying to create for your team.   

2. Extrinsic Incentives: Compelling Rewards

Extrinsic incentives are tangible motivators that can encourage employees to take an upskilling training course. Offering incentives gives employees a clear prize at the end of their experience, plus an added incentive to complete learning by a particular due date. This specific incentive is a nice touch from board member Gretchen Saegh (CMO of L’Oréal USA), who plans on rewarding “the best re-scorer” of the CM1 assessment with being “CMO for the day.” These empowering incentives give employees a sense of purpose, a structured career path, and long-term vision, giving them valuable real-world experiences and advice that can be difficult to get elsewhere.  

Extrinsic Incentives: Executive Messaging on Expectations

Source: https://learning.linkedin.com/resources/workplace-learning-report

When employees see their managers endorsing upskilling, and also see the executive team pushing for the same thing, it speaks volumes about the value of upskilling within that organization and the expectations around completing tasks and initiatives surrounding it. The bottom line is that upskilling gains immediate credibility when employees see it supported by leadership. A message from the CEO and executive team is imperative when it comes to setting the tone for a company, as a message from “the top” can have a ripple effect throughout the organization.   

Getting employees to translate the desire-to-action key values of online learning is particularly pertinent as more employers look for efficient and effective ways to train their employees remotely via online training providers. It’s a new world, and there’s no magic bullet, hidden secrets, and there are certainly no shortcuts. The right online training is thoughtful and methodical: it considers human behavior, personal motivations, and leadership alignment + support to get online training to occur and resonate for employees — from entry-level positions to the C-suite.  

Finally, there’s the process of trial and error. Although initiatives often start with the strongest and best of intentions, the most successful training results adapt and fluctuate over time. No plan is flawless right out of the gate — however well-planned or well-intended.  

Learning is always a journey.

To learn more about how General Assembly can help guide your company’s talent transformation, check out our enterprise marketing solutions.

We Will Not Be Complicit

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Black life and Black lives matter. Silence and idleness in the face of systemic oppression are complicities, and we are not complicit. General Assembly stands with those across the U.S. and around the world1 fighting against racism, police brutality, and the widespread, systemic violence against Black people that has taken place throughout our global history. We know that the lives we lost can never be replaced, and we stand with the anger and bravery of protestors and activists risking their lives in the pursuit of justice.

The murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland, Rayshard Brooks, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Michelle Cusseaux, Dominique Fells, George Floyd, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tony McDade, Riah Milton, Nina Pop, Breonna Taylor — and countless others whose many names we may never know — continue to shake us to our cores. 

Over the past few weeks, we have taken important internal steps to accelerate the work we need to do as a company to truly create a diverse, inclusive, and equitable GA environment for our employees, students, clients, and alumni. We have a lot of work to do. Still, as a company, we are committed to educating ourselves, supporting racial justice organizations, and engaging in activism and the political process. We have also pushed ourselves to ask: “How can we take more responsibility as a GA community to build a just and equitable world?” 

GA helps people find meaningful work by training them with digital, technological skills, but most importantly, we view our work and advocacy within a broader movement towards social justice. That said, we know that we are also a part of an education and workforce ecosystem that often perpetuates the systemic racism that exists in every facet of American — and global — societies. 

This work begins at home. We commit to increasing the diversity of our leadership and executive teams and developing professional growth pathways for our Black staff. We are also making a company-wide commitment to hiring more Black talent, and to using our platform to educate employers and other training providers on building inclusive talent pipelines. 

In the weeks and months to come, we will speak up and take action to elevate ideas, norms, and values that can dismantle white supremacy2 and move the needle towards justice. Below are three spaces that we believe GA can work within to drive change. 

1. Increase access to high-quality education and training for Black students in underserved communities.

  • The U.S. education system is set up to offer nearly limitless opportunity to those in positions of privilege and far less to those without any. Our responsibility as an education provider is to create pathways to social and economic mobility for communities who have been historically locked out.
  • We need to be intentional and proactive about building partnerships with community organizations to support students from underserved communities and those who have been incarcerated. This will require further investment in financing alternatives that can reduce the cost of education, and shift the risk away from learners by holding providers accountable for ensuring successful job outcomes. GA must expand comprehensive support for students with wraparound services (such as childcare, transportation, and mental health) that help remove the roadblocks that often prevent people from pursuing or completing their education.
  • GA’s commitment: We will seek out employers to partner with on the expansion of our impactful Digital Academy and Managed Service Provider Partner Models to attract, nurture, and actively promote Black talent. We will donate our educational products to nonprofit organizations focused on fostering Black talent. We will deepen the support we offer students, such as emergency funds, case management, referrals, and tech equipment. We will formalize the work we are doing to leverage our students’ talents and alumni to support nonprofits and small businesses, focusing on racial justice organizations and Black-owned businesses.

2. Work with hiring partners to end biased hiring and enable new practices that get more Black talent into jobs.

  • For most people, getting a good job is the ultimate goal of their education and training experience. That makes it easy for employers to blame labor market inequality on the mythical “pipeline problem” and shift responsibility onto education providers, rather than making investments in existing talent or new pipelines of talent. 
  • Employers must do better. To start, that means concrete actions such as removing college degree requirements from job postings and implementing skills-based hiring practices that recognize performance rather than pedigree. It includes practices like “Banning the Box” to open doors for formerly incarcerated job seekers, and eliminating unpaid internships that favor those with the means to support themselves to work without pay. Employers must recognize the incredible potential of their people already employed and create talent pivots and pathways for new roles and functions. 
  • GA’s commitment: We will urge our hiring partners and clients to make public commitments to hiring Black talent and to make investments in upskilling or reskilling existing talent. We will direct Talent Acquisition, Career Coaches, and Local Campus Partnerships to use our voice and position to publicly call attention to biased hiring practices that disproportionately affect Black applicants. We will hold partners who want to hire our students accountable for making these changes. 

3. Advocate for policies that boost access and affordability of high-quality education and training for Black people, and mobilize our community to participate in the political process. 

  • From the U.S. Department of Education’s revocation of nondiscrimination guidelines to the outright provocations of violence from the President and his surrogates, it’s clear that we cannot rely on federal policymakers to make meaningful advancements when it comes to equity and racial justice.
  • Policies can be a lever for change in an election year — they’re more important than ever. We know there’s bipartisan support for ideas at the federal level such as job training tax credits or apprenticeships that can expand access to education. There’s momentum at the state and local level for ideas such as portable benefits that can better protect workers in a changing labor market. It’s also encouraging to see signs of collaboration and movement over the past weeks on urgent issues that aren’t directly related to education, like reinvesting police funding. 
  • As 2020 candidates’ platforms evolve in the coming months, we all have an opportunity to raise our voices to advocate for federal, state, and local policies that can begin to chip away at America’s legacy of systemic racism. We can ensure that incoming elected officials make good on their responsibility to implement those necessary policies.
  • GA’s commitment: We will increase our efforts to advocate for legislation at the federal, state, and local levels to create pathways into high-skill, high-wage jobs for members of underserved communities. We will amplify amicus briefs in support of social justice issues, and take on external pro bono legal work. We will continue to push for a new social contract to strengthen the social safety net. We will educate our community on ways to get more involved in the political process while boosting voter registration deadlines, and local and federal election dates. We will close our U.S. offices on November 3, 2020, to allow our entire community to vote.

We take our commitments seriously, and understand that sincere and meaningful allyship is an ongoing journey. The truth is, we have many things to learn, so we will continue educating ourselves, speaking up, and embracing challenges to continue our growth process. We also appreciate ideas we may not have thought of that can help us create a more just and equitable world.


1General Assembly is a global education company with campuses in seven countries. We know that the current measures to dismantle systemic racism in the United States are not the same measures to address injustices in other parts of the world. The above statement focuses on the language, context, and our actions in the United States, and we look forward to sharing additional commitments across our other locations that are aligned with their regional political, social, and cultural realities.

2The term “White supremacy” has different nuances in other countries and cultures. This article, “White Nationalism is an International Threat” provides a high-level view on how it shows up internationally.