Education is supposed to be our best bet for breaking the cycle of poverty and achieving the American dream. However, there are millions of people who enroll in college and then do not graduate. Many of these people are now struggling with overwhelming debt and have little to show for their hard earned college credits. Some people assume that the reason why people dropout of school is because they aren’t prepared or lack grit. However, this is not the case. The reason why people don’t stick with school is because of inadequate financing, caregiving, the sense of not belonging, or juggling too many of lifes’ responsibilities.
An uncomfortable fact is that 41% of enrolled students will never graduate from college and completion rates for students from low-income communities hover near just 16%. We believe that college is about more than just improving a student’s reading, writing and critical thinking abilities and that if universities want to students from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed, they need to support students with deeper levels of thought and action.
What is much less discussed is that college is also about acquiring networks, and networks are fundamental to career success. According to LinkedIn, people are 9 times more likely to get a job through their network. Living in dorms, enrolling in the greek system, singing in acapella clubs, acting in theater, writing for the newspaper, playing a sport -- all of these opportunities are methods for network building. And in turn college friends transform into lifelong professional communities filled with support, mentorship, and opportunity. These ties, both strong and weak, play a huge role in people advancing after completing college and throughout the rest of their lives.
For the 36 million Americans who started college but left without completing a degree, these networks are seldom strong enough to provide the meaningful benefits enjoyed by graduates. So we asked ourselves, how can we support millions of Americans who have the skills, smarts and motivation to start college, but not the resources to finish or the advantages to build networks while they were there? At Climb Hire, we know that folks with some college are the hidden and overlooked talent that American employers need to fill many of the country's 6.6 million vacant jobs.
‘Climbers’ finish our 16-week program with an in-demand technology-focused credential, real-world and highly applicable skills, and the support they need to find a job in some of the fastest growing and most upwardly mobile jobs in the U.S. Our first group of learners will train for the Salesforce Database Administrator job, roles that pay well, and in many cases lead to further career growth.
Climb Hire's innovative model allows members to learn at night and on the weekend, so that they can continue working and making ends meet. We are proud that climbers pay nothing up front for the learning and support they receive. It is only once alumni graduate and find a job that pays over $45,000 per year, that they contribute $150 per month, for 4 years, to support future cohorts of learners.
Paying it forward is central to how Climb Hire works - members who complete the program will also have the opportunity to coach and mentor future generations of Climbers, further developing their own skills and networks, as well as those of the members following in their footsteps.
If you believe that opportunity is spread through education and good work, follow us, and please, get in touch with your comments.
Together, we will build the means by which people can Climb Hire.