Fostering Education in the Hope of Future Innovation

usnews | March 27, 2019

BEFORE INNOVATION CAN hatch, education must be incubated. Mamuka Bakhtadze, Prime Minister of Georgia, spoke about how instilling education reform helps sow the seeds of future innovation at the 2019 World Economic Forum. Bakhtadze previously served as minister of finance and, before that, CEO of the Georgian Railway company. He became the youngest prime minister in Georgia's history in 2018. Bakhtadze identified human capital development as the most important factor for political leaders today. While Georgia has made substantial progress in its business image – as evidenced by its ranking as the sixth best global economy for "doing business," according to the World Bank Group – there is still room for improvement in the education sphere. To that end, Bakhtadze plans to introduce ambitious education reform and improve the quality of education at all levels. Once education spending comprises "no less than 10 or 11 percent" of Georgia's GDP, Bakhtadze said, it will be concrete proof of the reform's success. Bakhtadze hopes to build a more innovative future on a firm foundation of education, with Georgia as a "regional hub for trade, business, finance, tourism and education." Rather than viewing disruptive technologies as a challenge to traditional industries, he approaches innovation as an opportunity – one that human capital development will help Georgia take full advantage of.

Spotlight

Establish a $5 billion annual matching grant to help states address unmet need and improve student outcomes. This “federal-state partnership” would reward states based on measures of affordability, tax effort, and productivity. States would be required to use these grant funds to reduce unmet need or improve outcomes among low- and middle-income students. 2. Increase mandatory Pell funding by $9 billion per year, with expanded eligibility for middle-income households and capped at the fourth income quartile. This would reduce unmet need for low- and middle-income students, making higher education more affordable and accessible.

Spotlight

Establish a $5 billion annual matching grant to help states address unmet need and improve student outcomes. This “federal-state partnership” would reward states based on measures of affordability, tax effort, and productivity. States would be required to use these grant funds to reduce unmet need or improve outcomes among low- and middle-income students. 2. Increase mandatory Pell funding by $9 billion per year, with expanded eligibility for middle-income households and capped at the fourth income quartile. This would reduce unmet need for low- and middle-income students, making higher education more affordable and accessible.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Snapology Celebrates National STEM Day as Leader in Education Space

Snapology | November 08, 2022

Snapology, the No. 1 children's STEM/STEAM franchise and part of the world's first Youth Enrichment franchise platform company Unleashed Brands, is celebrating National STEM Day (Nov. 8) after making tremendous strides in STEAM educational enrichment opportunities, franchise offerings, and helping millions of kids across the country develop foundational STEAM skills. The company is consistently seeing significant growth through franchise signings that will continue into 2023 as demand increases for STEAM-based learning programs nationwide. Since its acquisition and joining Unleashed Brands in July of 2021, the brand has been able to elevate its franchise offerings by launching a reimagined Discovery Center, developing a new business model with "Snapology-in-Urban Air," as well as continuing to offer mobile Snapology programs that allow franchisees to reach more families in the community. For franchisees, these redesigned business models offer a variety of revenue opportunities and the freedom to operate year-round. Year to date, the brand has opened 11 classrooms inside Urban Air Adventure Parks, seven community-based locations and two Discovery Center with one of the revamped Discovery Centers being the first-of-its-kind joint location with sister brand The Little Gym International. Snapology has also invested in perfecting the customer experience by offering new membership programs and gamifying education through their "Passport" program, which aims to encourage children to take classes to earn stamps and degrees to win swag and other prizes. This program entices children to continue their Snapology classes by creating incentives for children to learn fundamental STEAM skills, develop critical social skills and create recurring revenue for franchisees. Since the Unleashed Brands acquisition, Snapology has doubled franchise signings over the past year. In 2023, there are plans to open 15 new Discovery Center locations throughout the country, including debuts in New Braunfels and Cedar Park, TX, Lexington, SC, North Tampa, FL, Rogers, AR, Harrisonburg, VA, Troy, MI, San Diego, CA, and Lehi, UT. "We're incredibly grateful for our company's growth and success which reflects on the progress being made to revolutionize the way kids learn about STEAM, This year, National STEM Day is extra special to our team as we reflect on our success but more importantly, the impact Snapology has made to inspire the next generation of STEAM leaders." Laura Coe, Brand President & CEO for Snapology. The key to success has been the brand's understanding and commitment to play an active role in inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians through excitement in STEAM concepts at an early age. Snapology encourages social skills and teamwork by teaching science, technology, engineering, art, math, and literacy concepts in a fun way. The brand uses a research-based curriculum, designed to be inclusive to all learning abilities with a hands-on teaching approach that uses LEGO® Bricks and other building toys, along with coding, video game design and robotics that encourage the perfect mix of play, academic enrichment, and social development. About Snapology Founded in 2010, Snapology is the #1 children's enrichment franchise in the country, giving children the opportunity to learn through play with more than 80 enriching, interactive STEAM and STEM programs. With over 180 locations in the U.S. and Internationally, Snapology is quickly growing and impacting children throughout the world with its balance of educational enrichment, social development, and fun. For more information about Snapology including franchise opportunities, visit www.Snapology.com. About Unleashed Brands Unleashed Brands, currently includes portfolio brands Urban Air, Snapology, The Little Gym, XP League, Class 101 and Premier Martial Arts and was founded to curate and grow a portfolio of the most innovative and profitable brands that help kids learn, play, and grow. Over the last 10 years, the team at Unleashed Brands has built a proven platform and know-how for scaling businesses focused on serving families. Its mission is to impact the lives of every kid by providing fun, engaging, and inspiring experiences that help them become who they are destined to be.

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TALENT DEVELOPMENT

Nation's largest Hispanic Serving Institution FIU joins tech training initiative

Florida International University | October 12, 2022

Florida International University (FIU) has joined an initiative designed to help students access the skills and credentials necessary to succeed in high-demand technology careers. Through a partnership with the tech talent platform SkillStorm, FIU students can now participate in courses that lead to credentials from the country's leading tech companies, including AWS, Salesforce, CompTIA and Pega. "As one of Florida's largest institutions, we have a responsibility to prepare our students to navigate a rapidly evolving and increasingly digital labor market,Partnerships like this one, which will draw on SkillStorm's unique training model and deep relationships with major tech employers, are helping us realize that mission and fulfill our role as an engine of economic mobility throughout the state." Bridgette Cram, Interim Vice President, Innovative Education & Student Success at Florida International University. Though Hispanics make up nearly one-fifth of the U.S. workforce, they are just 7 percent of the tech workforce, according to recent research from the Aspen Institute and the Kapor Center. As the country's largest Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) with more than 32,000 students who identify as Hispanic or Latino, FIU is uniquely positioned to help close this persistent gap by expanding access to the credentials that are most in-demand among technology employers today. FIU's partnership with SkillStorm includes the Accelerator Program . SkillStorm's Accelerator Program provides online, asynchronous and traditional training courses to help students gain certification in AWS, Salesforce, CompTIA and Pega. Our work is rooted in the belief that closing skill gaps and creating pathways to economic mobility are, in many ways, two sides of the same coin,said Joe Mitchell, COO at SkillStorm. Together with FIU, we're enabling more students to learn the skills that lead to success in today's world of work, and expanding access to economic opportunity for those who stand to gain the most from the promise of higher education. The certifications provided through these partnership tracks are designed for students and professionals at any stage of their educational or career journey. Many of FIU's certification courses will offer students the flexibility to attend when convenient, while providing access to one-on-one training from industry-certified instructors. About FIU Florida International University is a top public university that drives real talent and innovation in Miami and globally. Very high research (R1) activity and high social mobility come together at FIU to uplift and accelerate learner success in a global city by focusing in the areas of environment, health, innovation, and justice. Today, FIU has two campuses and multiple centers. FIU serves a diverse student body of more than 58,000 and 290,000 Panther alumni. U.S. News and World Report places dozens of FIU programs among the best in the nation, including international business at No. 2. Washington Monthly Magazine ranks FIU among the top 20 public universities contributing to the public good. About SkillStorm SkillStorm is bringing together Fortune 500 employers, universities, and government agencies to build tomorrow's highly skilled tech workforce. Through partnerships with platforms like Pega, Salesforce, AWS and ServiceNow, we help working learners and aspiring tech experts build in-demand skills and earn industry-recognized certifications to compete in an increasingly dynamic economy. Our work is rooted in the belief that closing skill gaps and boosting economic mobility are two sides of the same coin, and that new approaches to training can help to both expand the pool of skilled tech talent and create new pathways to opportunity.

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ONLINE EDUCATION

DEI Organization Fearless Futures Launches E-learning Tool Available Worldwide

Fearless Futures | November 18, 2022

Today, Fearless Futures, an international diversity, equity and inclusion training and consultancy firm, announces the launch of its premier E-learning program, E-learning: Foundations to Inclusion and Equity, which educates participants on how to build inclusion and equity into their organization. Known for its transformative virtual and in-person trainings, Fearless Futures expands the accessibility of its educational offerings with this E-learning tool, enabling smaller companies, as well as corporations with teams too large to make instructor-led live training for all feasible, to advance their own anti-oppression learning in a cost-effective manner and at their own pace. Through the program, Fearless Futures pushes e-learning to a higher level of effectiveness by keeping participants deeply invested through engaging facilitators and short chapters, while also preserving the gravity of the subject matters. Unlike typical online DEI trainings, which are mainly intended to avoid workplace litigation and therefore set a very low bar in terms of actual education, this program covers the foundational concepts of systemic oppression, intersectionality and equity. The studio-produced experience, which includes interactions, engaging animations and historical footage, is slightly over two hours and structured in 17 bitesize video chapters, interspersed with activities. Foundations to Inclusion and Equity is available globally in English with captions in different languages upon request and accessible on computers and mobile devices. "Making intersectional equity and inclusion education available to a large audience has always been a driving force of our organization and we are thrilled to now offer a tool that expands accessibility as well as affordability,We believe that everyone has a right to this education, which is key to achieving profound change. Now, from the palm of their hands or within their homes, folks can participate in the in-depth analysis required to understand intersecting oppressive systems that exist in our workplaces with our E-learning tool." Hanna Naima McCloskey, founder and CEO of Fearless Futures. Initially developed to support schools' DEI efforts in 2014, Fearless Futures was founded by Hanna Naima McCloskey, now a seasoned facilitator and educator, to give students the tools to engage with the nuance and complexity of oppression. Following the organization's initial success, Hanna expanded Fearless Futures' teachings to cater to leaders in the corporate world in 2016, a demographic in urgent need of anti-oppression training. Since then, Fearless Futures has served employees of all levels, from c-suite leadership to junior staff working in organizations across a variety of industries including technology, finance, media and more. About Fearless Futures Fearless Futures is a diversity, equity and inclusion training and consultancy firm that facilitates transformative learning experiences by actively challenging the root causes and intersections of inequities as well as their lived realities. The firm serves daring companies across sectors including tech, finance, media and more who are unafraid to engage in courageous analysis and actions and are committed to deep change across their organizational ecosystems. Fearless Futures envisions a world in which each person and organization possesses and actively practices the skills and tools to design equity into their everyday lives in service of affording access to freedom, legitimacy, dignity, safety and belonging for those who live with inequity. Founded in the UK in 2014 by Hanna Naima McCloskey, Fearless Futures specializes in globally relevant, robust analyses of inequities in the workplace and how they produce unequal and harmful outcomes for marginalized groups, applying its intersectional methodology to design equitable policies and processes.

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