The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) invited our founders, along with other coding school leaders to meet with officials in the Obama Administration and executives of major employers, such as Microsoft, AT&T and UPS, to discuss a growing issue in the United States: finding jobs for veterans. With 2.5 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan returning to the U.S. at a time when the economy is still on uncertain ground, there is an urgent need for institutions like Hack Reactor that can quickly train adults in high-demand skills. That the White House identified Hack Reactor and other Accelerated Learning Programs (ALPs) shows that they are up on emerging trends in education.
“The discussions that happened around veterans informs us about the things we can do to become more intertwined with the VA, so that was a huge win for vets,” notes Hack Reactor co-founder and CEO Tony Phillips, who attended the roundtable with co-founder and CCO Shawn Drost.
“We love vets-- several alums are veterans,” Drost adds, “and we will be assisting the VA as much as possible in their efforts to secure great careers for their constituents.”
The event also provided a forum for the top Accelerated Learning Programs (ALPs) to compare notes.
“Another big win was talking with other schools about how we can shape our industry, even though we’re competitors,” says Phillips.
The White House seeks to identify high-quality programs that scale without losing quality. On that point, Hack Reactor offers a unique and exciting option through its online immersive coding program. We are halfway through our first online class, Hack Reactor Remote Beta, and the metrics on student uptake of material show that the Remote program equals the onsite program in quality. These metrics are integral to our internal diagnostics, and correlate well with hiring data.
Hack Reactor Remote Beta also addresses another concern of the VA: reaching veterans who live outside of major markets, such as New York City or the Bay Area. Students who take Hack Reactor’s program outside of these major areas “become big fish in small ponds almost immediately,” says Phillips.
The mere fact that the White House identified Hack Reactor and similar programs for an initiative like this shows the legitimacy of top-level ALPs.
"It's a sign of turbulent times that the VA is turning towards new post-secondary educational models,” Drost points out. “Transitioning servicemembers have a lot riding on their GI bill funds, so the government is very concerned when colleges aren't delivering on employment outcomes."
With competition from global markets only growing, the shift to outcome-based education looks increasingly sensible and inevitable.
“It shows a very keen eye of the administration,” Phillips observes, “picking up on big, up-and-coming trends that are going to be obvious in three years, but are not obvious now.”
The event shows the growing prominence of Accelerated Learning Programs generally, and Hack Reactor in particular. The shifts we are seeing in education are already starting conversations at the highest level of government.