Let’s get straight to the point: 2016 has been huge for General Assembly. We’ve expanded our global community into new cities and launched beautiful, new campuses in locations where we’re already thriving. Our catalog of full-time Immersive programs grew exponentially, with four new courses that are transforming graduates’ careers in competitive tech fields around the globe. We also released our first audited student outcomes report, a detailed read that takes a close look at our Immersive graduates’ key demographics and job placement success rates. (Spoiler alert: they’re great.)
Earlier this fall, about two dozen of General Assembly’s New York employees stepped away from their desks to visit two schools in the Bronx. Most of the group got their hands dirty by gardening, painting a mural, and setting up a new greenhouse at P.S. 30 Wilton School, while the rest helped students at P.S. 171 Patrick Henry pitch business ideas.
They joined more than 250 volunteers across the country — including GA employees in San Francisco — in donating more than 1,000 hours of service in one day as part of Tech Gives Back. The annual service event brings together tech companies across the country to provide much-needed help to local organizations.
When you set foot in any of General Assembly’s campuses around the globe, one of the first things you’ll notice is the prominence of chalk art. Each campus has vivid murals of local innovators, from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in New York, to early computer programmer Ada Lovelace in London, to civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr. in Atlanta.
General Assembly is proud to be partnering with Adobe in the development of the Adobe Digital Academy, a Bay Area–based program focused on offering opportunities in technology to underrepresented communities. Adobe supports high-potential candidates through partnership with General Assembly’s Opportunity Fund and Adobe technical internships. Selected candidates receive Opportunity Fund scholarships for General Assembly’s Web Development Immersive (WDI) course followed by a three-month technical internship in Adobe’s offices, with the goal of hiring interns for a full-time position.
General Assembly has an ambitious vision for the future. We’re working toward a world in which we can close the global skills gap, ensuring that everyone — regardless of social or economic barriers — has access to the training they need to pursue a career they love. To achieve this goal, we work closely with employers to understand the workforce they need, and then empower students and employees with these skills.
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.
Today, General Assembly is making a couple of big announcements.
First, we have closed on our company’s first acquisition — Canadian tech and design career accelerator, Bitmaker. We’ve known the folks at Bitmaker for a long time and I’ve been incredibly impressed with the way their CEO, Andrew Mawer, has built his Toronto-based organization. I’ve watched him lead his team and grow their community to become Canada’s largest career accelerator, and I’m so excited to have them be part of GA as we continue to pursue our long-term vision around education-to-employment.
Second, we are announcing the largest expansion of our campus footprint in GA’s history — we are increasing our number of campuses by over 60%. Our ongoing mission is to impact people’s careers and more broadly solve the talent needs of employers everywhere. We see big opportunities to leverage our burgeoning online communities and audiences with new campuses that are closer to the biggest pockets of potential students, just outside of traditional urban hotspots more commonly associated with the tech sector.
At General Assembly, we pride ourselves on empowering those around us to find greater well-being in their daily lives, both in the classroom and beyond. At times, this growth can be inspired by something as simple as a healthy meal.
On a recent Tuesday, our team at GA NYC skipped its usual weekly Team Lunch — where we share a meal and learn about each other’s work — to help feed fellow New Yorkers in need.
For the second year running, team members swapped hairnets for funny hats, stacking up more than 500 sandwiches for the New York Common Pantry (NYCP). The nonprofit’s mission: “to reduce hunger throughout New York City while promoting dignity and self-sufficiency.”
When General Assembly students graduate from their course — whether it’s user experience design or data science — it’s always exciting (and sometimes surprising) to see the range of products and passions that actualize as a result. In the case of Nathan Maas, a Web Development Immersive alumnus of GA Seattle, the product was an idea called pennypost. The passion? Connecting the world with homemade digital postcards that are easy to send and share.
Nathan — who took a range of night classes in product management, front-end development, and data science at GA before choosing WDI — developed a web (and soon-to-be iPhone) app, pennypost, which was inspired by his travels to nearly fifty countries across the globe. Though he bought postcards everywhere he went with the intention of sending them home, constraints like time, postage, and tracking down mailing addresses, meant he never actually sent them. An idea was born.
Embracing your professional development or pursuing a career change can seem daunting, tedious and, at times, impossible. We often measure success by comparing ourselves to those around us, instead of focusing on our own qualities.
The reality is that there are many paths forward, and each person has a unique approach to finding theirs. Your success is the byproduct of a process of trial and error, your own experiments, and the practice of learning along the way.
Jen Glantz and Francesco Marconi’s paths have been anything but similar. While both live in New York City, one is an entrepreneur and the other works at The Associated Press. They, along with many others, started pursuing a career change while feeling lost. They asked themselves, “What should I do with my life? Why am I working here? Am I in the right place?”
As they found their answers, they came to share the belief that true fulfillment comes when you start focusing on building the “best version of yourself.”