My post about Iron Yard Ventures opening a new startup accelerator in Las Vegas opened more doors. The Managing Director of RedFlint, Shavonnah Collins, made time to talk to me about how the University of Phoenix is using its sponsorship of Iron Yard to cultivate new and better ways to introduce people to all the possibilities technology has to technology offer.
The Pain Point
Traditional brick and mortar colleges are seeing the necessity of having accelerators and incubators as part of their entrepreneurial programs. While their traditional education models become outdated, these schools are working to catch up by embracing the startup path as an educational process worthy of investment.
Why would someone interested in learning to code spend four years and $200,000 on a degree when in eight to ten weeks and for $12,000 to $15,000 get the same skills solving real problems and making real products?
Not only is time and content and issue in the traditional education format, but the prohibitive cost created another barrier keeping people from great opportunities to learn and solve real problems. RedFlint is the new thinking in educational programs for modern business.
RedFlint's motto Educate Incubate Accelerate is a perfect description of the process. Collins said the program is open to anyone who wants to learn. That's the best selling point possible. Pick up real skills making real apps and games for companies who want them.
This is in direct opposition to the traditional learning format where students sit in rows of chairs with notebooks open scribbling madly while a professor drones on about how electricity helps create a bunch of ones and zeros.
Once skills are learned with real world application, students can take ideas to the next level creating products and solutions with a ready made market fit. One of the downfalls of the "Fail Fast" startup mantra is failure to find product market fit. This is where the incubate and accelerate steps come into play.
The goal is to teach students skills while creating products and solving problems that currently exist. Something written in a text book was outdated the second the words were put to paper. In the digital age, the accelerated learning curve offered by RedFlint is the answer to the problem of not having enough graduates prepared the for modern business world.
The great thing about RedFlint isn't just the model but also access to the program. It's open to anyone. Yes. It costs money. You would pay for traditional schooling. Why not pay to go to school and work on something useful instead of pondering the problems of 15th century agriculture?
Pick a major university and they have or are directly sponsoring an accelerator program. It's the new reality of education and business. My personal experience with Western Governors University means I completely understand how and why University of Phoenix is doing this.
While their sponsorship of Iron Yard is important, it's just a the end result of the process. Collins said she learned that most people who graduated from University of Phoenix were getting the degree to stay home and be better in their local community. Being a Las Vegas native, she has a personal stake in this program because there are great people with great ideas who want to learn more and make a difference locally.
I remember something Tony Heiu said at Celebrate 2015 in his opening talk. He said companies come and go. Businesses grow and die all the time. People and communities are consistent. Investing in the people and their skills is what makes a community sustainable. RedFlint is another brick in the foundation of the new Las Vegas that is becoming known for more than just big casinos, big hotels, and wasting big amounts of money.