By: Avery Gordon, D.C. Community Cultivator
Brooks Garber dedicated his career to education reform after seeing how the education system limits options for students in the public school system. “It seemed so backwards to me that we didn’t try to give students trapped in failing schools an alternative that worked for them. We had a system where to try something different, you had to be able to afford it.” He built AcademME with the focus of how we could make the education system work better for all students.
Curated and customized education for professionals looking to upskill
AcademME is focused on helping people smartly upskill for the 21st century: “We are focused on helping people understand how they can stay ahead of the labor curve. We help people find the skills necessary to successfully advance their careers, to know what their education upskilling options are, and to understand the economic impacts of their choice.”
Individuals looking to advance their professional selves are bombarded by endless generic education programs. AcademME curates your available options based on your own customizable criteria, such as:
- The skills you need to achieve your career goal
- How much those skills can earn you in your local labor market
- Which providers can teach you your desired skills
“People don’t realize how much money is spent on recruiting students. In fact, people often only end up hearing about the programs that have the best marketing, not the best curriculum for them.” AcademME starts by identifying what a user wants, and then shows users programs across all provider types that have a curriculum to provide them with their desired skills. AcademME equips users with everything they need to make their upskilling decision, without making the choice for them.
AcademME is unique because of the focus on uniting students and providers. “Most companies focus on the provider or the student. They don’t connect the dots between both parties’ needs, and because of that I don’t think they really serve either segment very well. We are focused on serving both parties, and we see a win-win opportunity.”
Focus on the short wins
Brooks plans to publicly launch AcademME in the early fall. Initially, AcademME will target the Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia markets before expanding up and down the East Coast – and eventually the rest of the nation. It is Brooks’ dream for AcademME to change the way colleges and students connect, enabling all students to make a more informed decision when choosing their next education experience.
SEED SPOT has connected Brooks with valuable partners, and provided support for AcademME to successfully move forward. Throughout this process Brooks has focused on the small victories to stay motivated, and that is the best piece of advice he can offer aspiring entrepreneurs: “Taking small steps and focusing on the short wins will snowball, and you’ll start to reach those long-term goals.”
Don’t forget to RSVP for D.C.’s first DEMO DAY on July 13th to hear Brooks and the rest of his full-time cohort pitch their ventures!