Ed, tech coalition launches resource for remotely serving special needs students

educationdive | April 13, 2020

As the U.S. Department of Education considers whether to recommend waivers from certain aspects of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, several organizations have joined together to support the special education community through the challenges caused by school closures. The Educating All Learners Alliance, announced last week, features resources, case studies, webinars and virtual “office hours” and brings together special education and technology organizations, such as the National Center for Learning Disabilities and the International Society for Technology in Education.

Spotlight

Several new federal funding streams have been linked together through the CARES Act earmarking billions of dollars for K–12 education as a result of the coronavirus. The primary fund for K–12 is called the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). This fund has distributed $13.5 billion to state education agencies (SEAs). Another $3 billion was given to the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) to allocate emergency block grants to school districts and higher education institutions struggling to support students during COVID-19.

Spotlight

Several new federal funding streams have been linked together through the CARES Act earmarking billions of dollars for K–12 education as a result of the coronavirus. The primary fund for K–12 is called the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). This fund has distributed $13.5 billion to state education agencies (SEAs). Another $3 billion was given to the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) to allocate emergency block grants to school districts and higher education institutions struggling to support students during COVID-19.

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CORPORATE LEARNING SYSTEMS

BBVA Collaborates with Cornerstone to Implement Innovative Learning Strategies for Employees

Cornerstone OnDemand | September 08, 2022

Cornerstone OnDemand, Inc., a global leader in adaptive HR solutions, announced today that BBVA, a leading financial institution, is leveraging Cornerstone’s tools to develop and enhance its employee growth strategies and manage various talent areas, including recruitment, assessment, learning and mobility. More than a decade ago, BBVA began a digital transformation process that has accelerated in recent years as a result of the pandemic. The new jobs and competencies needed to ensure a successful business transformation represent a significant challenge, requiring an agile response from a talent development perspective. BBVA understood that one of the keys to adaptation was to accelerate and modernize its learning strategy for its workforce. This led the organization to create several innovative talent projects, each with the goal of giving its employees the most accessible and personalized learning and development tools. "Employees are the backbone of every great company," says José María Monge, BBVA's global Head of Talent Solutions and Head of Talent and Culture South America. “Therefore, investing in their learning and development has become a priority. Cornerstone has allowed us to create an ecosystem of interconnected tools that help us find, retain and train the best talent in our organization in a more agile way, as well as adapt to our current needs." Some of BBVA's most successful projects to date include: B-token Model This initiative uses gamification to make the online learning platform experience more rewarding, interactive and entertaining. Increased learning platform activity as a result of this innovative approach, while encouraging employees to continue to participate in training and development activities. Managed through Cornerstone's e-commerce solution, each course has an associated number of B-tokens, which are awarded to employees upon completion of the training. The more they increase their B-tokens balance, the more access they receive to additional advanced training, including a master's degree. Understanding that a company's know-how often resides with individuals, employees can also earn B-tokens by teaching specific skills to their own colleagues. The B-token model encourages more experienced employees to share their knowledge with other colleagues promoting knowledge sharing and boosting expertise at a Group-wide level. "B-token have enabled our employees to access any training content of interest to them, whether online, virtual or face-to-face. In addition, it has great advantages for the bank as it allows us to promote those actions linked to our strategy, incentivising learning and creating a culture of growth and development," says José María Monge. “The Camp" Project The Camp is an initiative created by BBVA and accessed through Cornerstone. It has been designed to accelerate the "reskilling and upskilling" of employees. After identifying 14 core capabilities, BBVA designed training journeys with three levels of specialization. To promote the completion of these journeys, it developed internal gamification through the creation of The Camp. The game consists of a camp where each training journey becomes an expedition and each employee is a hiker, a beginner mountaineer or an advanced mountaineer, depending on how they progress in their expedition. The Camp gamification is accessed through the Cornerstone platform, as both tools are connected. Performance feedback and assessment Evaluating ongoing performance of BBVA employees is a continuous process that culminates in an annual evaluation with a 360-degree view. It incorporates performance feedback from managers, peers, collaborators, as well as colleagues from other areas that the employee may have worked in. BBVA integrated Cornerstone’s evaluation solution with Google Cloud to maximize efficiency in data consolidation process and results analysis, also supporting calibration workflows and customized growth and development plans. “At Cornerstone, our greatest satisfaction comes when our clients take our solutions and create innovative strategies to nurture talent,BBVA has shown great initiative and creativity, adapting our tools to the specific learning and performance needs of its employees. We look forward to continuing to expand our partnership and helping BBVA grow," Marc Altimiras, AVP Cornerstone South About BBVA BBVA is a customer-centric global financial services group founded in 1857. The Group has a strong leadership position in the Spanish market, is the largest financial institution in Mexico and it has leading franchises in South America. It is also the leading shareholder in Turkey’s Garanti BBVA and has an important investment, transactional and capital markets banking business in the U.S. Its purpose is to bring the age of opportunities to everyone, based on our customers’ real needs: provide the best solutions, helping them make the best financial decisions, through an easy and convenient experience. The institution rests in solid values: Customer comes first, we think big and we are one team. Its responsible banking model aspires to achieve a more inclusive and sustainable society. About Cornerstone Cornerstone powers the future-ready workforce with adaptive HR solutions designed to unite technology, data and content and inspire a work environment of growth, agility and success for all. With an experimental, AI-powered, skills-based system designed for the contemporary workforce, we help organizations modernize their learning and development experience, deliver the content that matters most from anywhere, accelerate talent and career mobility, and establish skills as the universal language of growth and success across their enterprise. Cornerstone serves more than 7,000 clients and 90 million users and is available in 180 countries and 50 languages.

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CORPORATE EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Varo Bank Launches "SaveUp" Financial Education Course in Collaboration with EVERFI

EVERFI | September 17, 2022

Varo Bank, the first all-digital, nationally chartered U.S. consumer techbank, announced today the launch of SaveUp, a free middle school savings curriculum designed in strategic partnership with social impact education innovator, EVERFI. The SaveUp course is the largest initiative to date of the Varo Money Power program, which includes free online financial education lessons for adults and the Russ x Varo Money Power financial education workshops for high school students designed in partnership with NBA superstar Russell Westbrook.SaveUp empowers students by providing them with the tools they need to build a strong savings foundation and will be available to 4,500 middle schools nationwide by June 2024. The course is aligned with Jump$tart National Standards for Personal Finance Education and focuses on middle school students to provide them time to learn and practice savings habits before they start to deal with more pressing financial challenges in high school and beyond. "Everyone deserves the same access to opportunity, and that starts with financial education,Through this joint initiative, Varo and EVERFI continue to advance our shared mission of expanding financial inclusion and helping young people learn the fundamentals of what it takes to build wealth for themselves and their communities. We plan to leverage this program content in the future to broaden the reach of financial education and literacy to a wider audience going forward." Colin Walsh, Founder and CEO of Varo Bank Throughout the course, students will learn the importance of saving, how to budget, how savings can help reach financial goals, and how to open a savings account. This will be accomplished through an interactive learning experience that includes: Self-guided lessons to help students develop simple, actionable strategies. Real-world scenarios that prime students for long-term behavioral change using problem-solving and self- reflection activities. Detailed score reports and offline extension activities to help teachers maximize their impact across all students. Middle school is a time of financial socialization for students as they start to develop their own values and beliefs around money," said Ray Martinez, Co-Founder and President of EVERFI. "Developing the SaveUp curriculum and bringing it to middle schools around the country, is just part of our commitment to help students, especially those in low-to-moderate income populations, build the knowledge and skills they need to achieve financial wellness and stability while providing equal access to the financial services system. About Varo Bank, N.A. Varo Bank is the first all-digital, nationally chartered U.S. consumer techbank built from the ground up, designed to make financial inclusion and opportunity a reality for all. Varo Bank is reimagining the modern banking experience and providing customers with the tools they need to build financial resilience and realize their financial power – with offerings such as Varo Believe, a secured card to help build credit, Varo Advance to help stretch hard-earned dollars between paychecks, the ability to earn cashback at 1,000 merchant locations nationwide, and a newly launched high yield savings account option, more than 38x the national average. A different kind of financial institution – Varo Bank serves everyone striving to build a better future – from those with abundance to people struggling to make ends meet. Varo has been named one of Forbes' World's Best Banks in 2022, Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies, and is on the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing companies for 2022. For more information on Varo Advance, Varo Believe, and other offerings such as Perks, visit www.varomoney.com, like Varo Bank on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter @varobank. @2022 Varo Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. About EVERFI, Inc. EVERFI from Blackbaud is an international technology company driving social impact through education to address the most challenging issues affecting society ranging from financial wellness to mental health to workplace conduct and other critical topics. Founded in 2008, EVERFI's Impact-as-a-Service™ solution and digital educational content have reached more than 45 million learners globally. In 2020, the company was recognized as one of the World's Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company and was featured on Fortune Magazine's Impact 20 List. The company was also named to the 2021 GSV EdTech 150, a list of the most transformative growth companies in digital learning. Blackbaud, the world's leading cloud software company powering social good, acquired EVERFI in December of 2021.

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ENTREPRENEURS AND LEADERS

Zacks Small-Cap Research Initiates Coverage on Genius Group Limited

Genius Group Limited | July 05, 2022

Genius Group Limited , a world-leading entrepreneur Edtech and education group, today announced that Zacks Small-Cap Research , a division of Zacks Investment Research and a leading equity research firm, has initiated coverage of GNS at a valuation of $18.40, above the recent $9-10 trading range. 2022 revenue is estimated at USD 34.3 million, a 268% increase over 2021, and looking ahead, expects GNS to generate positive earnings by the 3rd quarter of 2023. Brad Sorensen, CFA, Senior Equity Research Analyst with Zacks/SCR, states that GNS is on a mission to change the way people experience online education by making it more about the student. Through technology, vision, and a unique approach, he feels that Genius is bringing AI-involved learning to the masses. He views GNS as having a great management team and a solid balance sheet, believes the aggressiveness GNS has shown in expanding its offering is encouraging and sees the integration of acquisitions as vital to the company’s success. In an effort to expand its offerings and broaden its portfolio, particularly in the U.S., GNS acquired four companies to give GNS a total of eight companies under its umbrella and a roster of offerings that can reach people at virtually any stage of life. Sorensen recognizes that the size of the potential market is enormous, with one estimate of $10 trillion in 2030, as the interest in virtual learning has undoubtedly increased as a result of the remote lives many people have been forced to live over the last couple of years. He points out that GNS may be doing things in a different way that might be able to connect in a more effective way with students, both adults and children, who have had a lack of success with some of the other existing providers. From his point of view, GNS appears to be offering a different way of learning, one that engages students by learning what they love and teaching them in that way. Normally, with a company such as GNS, Sorensen would often look to comparable companies for valuation metrics. But, acknowledging market conditions as of late and that he views Genius as a unique company, he elected to use the discounted cash flow method to come up with what he believes is a fair, and fairly conservative, valuation for GNS. The two biggest risks to his investment thesis are the successful integration of the four new companies and the timing of the U.S. rollout. About Genius Group Limited Genius Group is a Singapore-based Edtech and education company engaged in providing educational services in over 200 countries. It aims to develop an alternative lifelong learning curriculum and make its educational products accessible worldwide to all age groups. About Zacks Small-Cap Research Zacks/SCR prepares company-sponsored, independent research and related content for distribution through a multitude of investor and media channels, both traditional and social. Zacks/SCR delivers broad awareness among investors worldwide, creates deep understanding of the company and generates significant interest in investment. Zacks/SCR advantages are the quality of its analysts, the depth of its research and the breadth of its distribution.

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