Closing the educational opportunity gap with technology skills
Fueling a mission with limited resources
At Teach For America, the goal is to close the educational opportunity gap that disproportionately affects low income communities.
“When you look at the education landscape in our country and even around the world, opportunity is not equally distributed, whereas talent is,” says Sandeep Chellani, Teach For America CIO.
To level the educational playing field, Teach For America recruits high-performing college students and develops them into teachers. They spend a minimum of 2 years with the program and often go on to a lifelong career in education or service.
“We’re really thinking about how to leverage technology to develop our IT staff,” says Minerva Inigo, Manager of IT Learning Development. “The thing is you have to be creative. Nonprofit organizations have a very limited budget for a lot of things.”
Committing to advance the mission of the nonprofit and support corps members is challenging in that the cost of technology training is so high, but technology skills reap innovative solutions.
“We recognize the value of investing in technology and bringing in new, innovative ways of doing things,” Sandeep says. “We actually rely on technology to do more with less.”
Who we are
Teach For America has a 30-year history of recruiting high-performing college students and developing them into teachers who boost academic outcomes in low-income schools across the country. They go on to become equity leaders long after their time with the nonprofit.
Teach for America by the numbers
Founded in 1990
Over 400,000 students taught
85% of alumni now work in education or service
Members in 51 national regions
Technology drives nonprofit success
“Technology helps fuel the work of our mission. And we have to continually learn in order to keep up with the rapid evolution of technology. We have a responsibility as an organization to contribute to that development.”
Minerva Inigo, Manager of IT Learning Development, Teach For America
What we're learning:
Partnering with a skill development platform
To execute on its strategy, Teach For America leverages Pluralsight One, granting its IT teams access to technology skill development with the click of a mouse.
Elizabeth Baron, Senior Managing Director of Data Platform in IT says, “Teach For America's mission is to end educational inequity in the US. Pluralsight One looks to end educational gaps all over the world with access to high-quality technical skills. The fact that these two align is a fantastic perk.”
Leaders at Teach For America identify courses on Pluralsight that deliver the skills teams need to create solutions for colleagues and corps members alike.
“I think the ability to provide everyone with access to Pluralsight is a game changer not just because we can quickly skill up our team to deliver new technologies, but also because it empowers each person to take the driver’s seat when it comes to their own professional development,” says Minerva. “That can make such an impact on someone’s life.”
She says leaders within the technology org are beginning to map skills to key roles and are able to create channels with relevant content to help individuals develop their careers.
“I’m proud that I work for an organization that sees potential in everyone and I’m grateful to Pluralsight One for helping our program live up to that promise of equity.”
The key benefits of Pluralsight for Teach For America
Making decisions about people and projects based on innovative analytics
Enabling all learning styles
Better technology skills creating opportunities to serve new clients
Empowering tomorrow’s equity leaders
70% of projects from the last three Level-up hackathons have been put into direct production use
Taking time to slow down and build the right skills allows Teach for America to move faster in the right direction
Doing more with less
According to Minerva, getting up to speed with cloud technology has allowed teams at Teach For America to start thinking more broadly about the future of IT at the organization. "Cloud technology enables us to explore the potential of emerging technology such as Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, and Augmented Reality in fueling our mission. "
With the move to the cloud well underway, the sky really is the limit for how Teach For America’s IT org will continue to support its members and the communities they work with.
Sandeep says, “We're really blessed to have found a toolkit that is so broad in its ability to provide us with different courses and different resources for our folks who have so many different needs when it comes to learning. I think this has been a real value and asset for us.”
Skilling up made easy
“With Pluralsight One, it's a lot easier for everyone to skill up and for everyone to feel supported in the work that we do.”
Elizabeth Baron, Senior Managing Director of Data Platform in IT