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Giving Compass' Take:
• Christensen Institute looks into WeWork's new investments in coding bootcamps, as well as an initiative to help low-income earners gain access, and speculates as to whether the company could be creating a new kind of higher education experience.
• How important is the education-to-workforce value chain, and should other companies emulate WeWork? This goes against the "unbundling" trend of higher ed institutions that outsource more modular services — but that can be a good thing. There's clearly a demand for more last-mile training programs and apprenticeships.
• What's the role of nonprofits in all of this? Here's how philanthropy can change higher education funding.
WeWork, a provider of coworking spaces valued at more than $20 billion, began its expansion into education last October when it acquired Flatiron School, an immersive coding bootcamp.
In January, WeWork then turned heads when it announced a partnership with online program management (OPM) provider 2U. This partnership involved licensing out the bootcamp’s online platform, Learn.co, to 2U, opening WeWork’s office spaces to 2U students for use as study halls, and building a learning center together in 2019.
WeWork is now kicking off its Access Labs initiative, which aims to provide low-income learners with better access to the coding bootcamp experience, complete with scholarship funds from 2U.
Is WeWork cobbling together some kind of proto-university? Would that even make sense?
In this case, innovation theory suggests that WeWork could be onto something. It turns out that across industries, when performance is suffering, firms tend to integrate across their value chain. WeWork’s education efforts signal an increasing ability to bridge the broken interface between education and the workforce.
Read the full article about WeWork's Access Labs initiative by Richard Price at Christensen Institute.