Flashpoint Academy president Howard Tullman (right) says the students are getting priceless real-world experience. "This is a chance for the students to work closely with industry professionals with SAG talent, union crew members and really have professional experience while they're in school."
A lot of people know about Tribeca Flashpoint Academy, the hip two-year college that offers students degrees in just about anything you can think of in the multimedia world. But in the last six months or so, there’s been a pronounced uptick in the school getting noticed for its outreach to high schoolers, like this press release the Wall Street Journal just picked up titled “Tribeca Flashpoint Academy Offers High School Seniors Fast Track to Job Success." It’s actually a press release that came out last summer, but between this and things like some colleges starting to offer programs in social media, the landscape as we’re starting to see it now is already being supported by academia.
But what’s different is that tech companies seem to be getting a jumpstart on getting to tomorrow’s leaders, movers and shakers by not only alerting students to tech’s importance in the future, but also by virtue of a school’s personnel. For example, in a September 30 New York Times piece titled “Fostering Tech Talent in Schools,” Nick Wingfield writes Steven Edouard about a teacher, Steven Edouard, at Rainier Beach High School who, it just so happens works at Microsoft. Edouard volunteers as a computer science instructor four days a week, and is “one of 110 engineers from high-tech companies who are part of a Microsoft program aimed at getting high school students hooked on computer science, so they go on to pursue careers in the field.”
If other industries follow suit, it’s possible there might come a day when the notion of a young adult wandering off to college, unsure what to major in, will be as extinct as the dinosaur.
Or as Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel who oversees the company’s philanthropic efforts, said in a recent interview: “People can’t get jobs, and we have jobs that can’t be filled.”
Maybe it’s time to think about yourself not just as part of a startup, but also an industry. And zoom out slightly more and ask: What more can my industry be doing to bridge this gap between jobs that go unfilled and folks who are looking for work?
David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.