12. Experiential Learning, Experiential Hiring: A Win-Win

March 19, 2021 Amy Baron Season 1 Episode 12
12. Experiential Learning, Experiential Hiring: A Win-Win
More Info
12. Experiential Learning, Experiential Hiring: A Win-Win
Mar 19, 2021 Season 1 Episode 12
Amy Baron

GUEST: JORDAN LEVY, FOUNDER, CAPSOURCE. Many students complete undergraduate and graduate degree programs without experiencing a career path or a company culture to determine whether it is right for them. Companies, in turn, hire young professionals without really knowing their potential fit or likelihood of success once they're on the job. CapSource is one of a number of new companies that provides not only experiential learning for students, but also experiential hiring for industry, promising both partners the essential ingredient for success- experience.

Show Notes Transcript

GUEST: JORDAN LEVY, FOUNDER, CAPSOURCE. Many students complete undergraduate and graduate degree programs without experiencing a career path or a company culture to determine whether it is right for them. Companies, in turn, hire young professionals without really knowing their potential fit or likelihood of success once they're on the job. CapSource is one of a number of new companies that provides not only experiential learning for students, but also experiential hiring for industry, promising both partners the essential ingredient for success- experience.

Amy Baron  0:06  

Hey everybody, I'm Amy Baron. And this is Upskilled: Solutions in the Learning Universe, where I talk with professionals in education and workforce development, about practices and perspectives that catalyze positive change. Okay, today I'm here with Jordan Levy. Jordan is the founder and executive director at CapSource, a company that connects universities and industry partners through custom experiential learning engagements. Jordan is a serial education technology entrepreneur. And in 2017, he was named to Forbes’ list of 30 under 30, for his work as an ed tech innovator focused on bridging the skills gap, and providing workforce education and opportunities to our next generation. Fun fact about Jordan, since the pandemic started a year ago, he has visited 22 National Parks across 19 US states, so he's actually running a company from the road. Welcome, Jordan levy.


Jordan Levy  1:15  

Thanks for having me. We're excited to be with you on Upskilled podcast.


Amy Baron  1:19  

So happy to have you. So So first of all, how's the road? What's that like? You're, you're, you're running a company and traveling the USA. Tell us a little about that first.


Jordan Levy  1:33  

Yeah, you know, so I feel fortunate that we can do that. I mean, we're leaning into the, to the digital future, where we use tons of technology resources to keep our team aligned, keep our team energized and excited, and communicating. But ultimately, we were fully virtual team, even pre COVID, although still working out of a New York City apartment, for the first two years. And if it weren't for COVID, we'd probably still be there. But, you know, this was the little nudge that we needed to kind of go explore and really take advantage of the time that we had to be on the road, see some of our team members and clients in person while traveling. kind of be free, to not be anywhere. And, you know, I think it's been really, really amazing to just see how beautiful this country is, I mean, obviously, but 80% of our clients are in the US. So just kind of having a reference point that somewhere nearby, so that you can understand what the culture of that place is, and some of the history there. But of course, the the nature, that's really something that I care deeply about. I think it's just a really beautiful place that we can call our home. And, yeah, we had a really good time exploring some of these national parks. And fortunately, we still have more than half to go. So hopefully, you can stay tuned on some of our adventures as we get up to the 63 National Parks that there now are in the United States.


Jordan Levy  3:01  

Wow, great. Well, that's what I call taking advantage of a pretty lousy situation. So So congratulations on on, on making something of this past year. So let's let's get back to to cap source and the company. And can you tell us just about it, and what exactly is the problem you're trying to solve? Yeah, it's


Jordan Levy  3:26  

a good, good question. So even to this day, about 40% of students are graduating without a single ounce of work experience, nothing professional to add to their resume. And so when I was graduating school, I had I went to Lehigh had a great opportunity to get a real internship at KPMG. And that's actually the single handed, most important thing I was able to do, because it actually helped me realize I don't want to be an accountant, or in the Big Four accounting firms at all, whatsoever, the culture will fit wasn't there for me, the mission and purpose of the organization didn't align with my interests and goals. And I just thought, you know, there was a big disservice done to students that there wasn't more workforce education done. And so ever since I graduated college, I've been trying to figure out that solution. How do you bring workforce education to students root? Well, truly, the only way to do that is to get companies involved in the education process. And that's the problem we're trying to solve. It's complicated. There are a lot of stakeholders there. There are higher stakes if you're including outside stakeholders. And so that is what we help to manage what we help to design through our technology and through the programs that we put together for our industry and academic partners.


Amy Baron  4:42  

So tell us how it works. Exactly. So you're bridging the gap between industry and students who are either in their undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Tell us a little about how it works. Yeah,


Jordan Levy  4:58  

so basically, we offer two separate things. One is program development for organizations that really want to engage, whether it's an industry partner that wants to build an internship program or apprenticeship program for the first time, or if it's academic partners, you know, that want to build a capstone program or live cases into their courses. So we're happy to build those programs, we use our technology to do that, as we help our clients understand how to use our technology, we also offer our power users enterprise software, which is our entire experiential learning management system, experiential hiring management system, basically tailored to the needs of our clients and white labeled and branded,


Amy Baron  5:40  

we're having some external audio issues, ambulance issues. So yeah, I saw in your, in some of your materials, you refer to something called the experiential bargain. And I thought that sounded really interesting. So So what is the experiential bargain?


Jordan Levy 6:01  

Yeah, so I mentioned earlier that the concept of experiential learning is something that most are familiar with, but experiential hiring is actually kind of new. So experiential learning is learning by doing right. That's a pretty novel concept. It's been around since you know, john Dewey, really, truly giving people an opportunity to step up and step into a new role learn by actually solving problems for real stakeholders, deliver real outcomes, to those stakeholders, and get feedback from those stakeholders along the way. That's really what experiential learning is about. But then what's in it for the industry stakeholders, that's experiential hiring. And so experiential hiring is actually about positioning programs, so that you can act, you can actually learn a lot about candidates, and young professionals, train them, teach them, allow them to feel and understand your brand and your team and your culture. And then ultimately select and hire the top performers, integrating their their solutions and outcomes into your business, as well as that talent once they're in full time. So experiential bargain is really the trade off, like what's in it for both sides between the learner and the institution that's educating those learners, and then the organizations outside that are engaging in experiential hiring.


Amy Baron  7:22  

And how do you align the institutional or the teaching goals, let's say, of the higher ed institution with the company goals, like how does that work? And you know, I'm also interested in like, the timing, right, because, you know, your, your your institutions are on some sort of semester system, whereas, you know, companies are not exactly on that kind of timeline. So how do you make that work?


Jordan Levy  7:51  

Yeah, I mean, the key is actually giving both sides, the tools to be able to align, and ultimately, launch and engagement based on that alignment and understanding. So technically, both industry partners and academic partners can build programs through our technology. A key part of the educators and their pursuits of building programs is they have a very rigid timeline that aligns with their core schedule and semester schedule. So typically, what happens when an academic program is launched on our system, it actually publishes a request for proposals that companies can browse and then apply if they think that program makes sense for them. Those are actually free of charge for companies because we know that there's a lot of bending and molding that the companies need to do in order to participate in those programs. On the other hand, sometimes companies come and say, Hey, we want to run an apprenticeship program, or we want to do an internship program over the summer, and we want it to be our own timeline. So in that case scenario, that's a custom program for industry that then we can use to attract students based on the criteria that makes sense to them. So ultimately, we do have instructional designers that look over every single scope of work before it's launched. Every single project is just in time, that's what makes it experiential. Anything that's Cannes or, or or old is really not as up to date and current as it needs to be to be an engaging learning experience, and to really be value added to the company. So we do actually package up some of our old materials as case studies, which is kind of a neat way of taking some of the old content and making it reusable. But the real high power, high impact experiential learning and hiring programs are synchronous. And that really requires alignment on project details and program timelines. And so that's really what it comes down to is, is actually ensuring alignment through the instructional design process.


Amy Baron  9:52  

And do you have any kind of direct to student relationship where you know you your companies might put out some Sort of apprenticeship out there. And I can just go on as an individual student and try to find that.


Jordan Levy  10:07  

Yeah, and that's actually one of the neat things about the enterprise model is that when you give these tools to organizations, like MOOCs, like, you know, government entities in Malaysia that want to be kind of the central hub for internships, you know, they can actually do so many different things with it, based on their goals and their community. So we have some organizations that are offering programs directly to students, other ones that require collaboration with educational institutions and faculty, technically, the system could work both ways. So it's really just about the experiential program is the core, that's what is connected to projects and makes the whole experience comprehensive, keeps people on track, you know, allows for evaluations and, and and really ensures that the the experience is going smoothly. So that's really the the core but the outside how those those projects get created, who's kind of the primary stakeholder that that proposes the project in the first place, is really flexible. So in some circumstances, where the companies are posting opportunities, really, those are for students to kind of shop through and apply for. And we're actually using those old projects as case assessments, which is a really neat way to make sure that they're the most qualified for the job.


Amy Baron  11:30  

So what are some of the skills or programs that are most in demand right now?


Jordan Levy  11:36  

It's actually a good question. It's one of the things I love the most about the work that we do at cap source, because we're actually getting, you know, a feel from both industry and academia on what they both think is the most in demand. And then none of our programs are possible, really, without getting the whole community to collaborate together. So from the school side, we're seeing a lot of demand on a business analytics, data use of data, and then more importantly, converting that data into business insights, I think it's really kind of a really interesting area for for students these days. I think another thing that's that's pretty in demand, are, especially of the companies like when you when you give companies just like a broad call to action to propose a scope, what we see often used is kind of a go to market strategy. So either it's analyzing new regions, analyzing new products, for, you know, certain target audiences, defining the target audiences, better understanding competitors, and then actually crafting a strategy of how to go to market, which is really a combination of like sales, and marketing. And there's actually a very famous statistic, I go back to all the time, but, you know, in most cases, you know, fortune 500 companies are not around for as long as you think. Right? So from 1950 to 2020, there's about a 90% churn of the Fortune 500. And so if you think back to, to that list, like your question, like, wait, if you're the powerhouse, and you can't even keep, you know, keep yourself relevant for you know, 50 to 100 years, then what's what's going wrong, right. And I think at the end of the day, it's they're not staying in touch with the next generation, and not leveraging insights from them, not connecting with them. So that, you know, even if these, these young professionals are not going to be your future leaders, they're going to be future leaders of other organizations that can buy your products. And so it's just, you know, you know, one day, fine, you might forget, but one week, one month, one year, 10 years, that's when it becomes too late to salvage. So we just always encourage, you know, our companies to get in touch with the next generation, right? Doordash doesn't hire anyone out of college, right, even as they were going public, never needed to hire out of college. However, they really saw an opportunity to leverage college student insights in their go to market strategy for the university meal plan of the future post COVID. That was their challenge. They said, Any student anywhere can work on this program, we framed it as a live case did webinars to keep the students excited and up to speed. And that, to me is a signal of innovation, right? This is a high growth company, they see the need to connect with the next generation, they need to do it authentically, they need to do it and be proud and and of the results of the progress that they're making. But it needs to also be value added for them. And so that's where we kind of broker that relationship where it's easy to manage, it's turnkey, but they can really get their message out to the next generation and then get buy in from that next generation to see if you know who's got some good ideas for them that can actually be used in practice commercially.


Amy Baron  14:48  

That's so interesting, what you say about companies remaining relevant by making sure they're in touch with what the next generation wants. I think that is that is a really interesting moment. Have that Wayne Gretzky quote about the puck, it's, you know, what makes you so successful? And I guess Gretzky says something like, it's not about, you know, going to where the puck is, it's about going to where the puck is going to be. 


Right. So, you know, that's the anticipation, the ability to anticipate, right, and the ability to connect with what's coming down the road. That's, that's such a big part of success. So,


Jordan Levy  15:28  

yeah, but it's actually funny, I play a lot of tennis. And I think that's what makes the most successful tennis players too. It's like, if you like, it's one thing to hit the ball exactly where you want to hit it. But it's another to understand where the other where your opponent is likely to hit it back so that you could be in the best position to hit it well, and return from there. So I think that that is so true, because there's there is so much that that that really comes down to planning and these engagements, it's, hey, you know, we got to get all the materials organized, right, we have to really put together a case that has all the materials, including research data resources, you know, helpful examples of what outcomes could look like all that are positioned to help, you know, these students succeed and grow. And so I think that's really kind of awesome to see both the schools and companies and how they exchange that information and just kind of providing that bridge, right. They really need just a framework to use. And that's really what the capsular system is all about.


Amy Baron  16:30  

Right. Great. Great. Well, I think that's a good place for us to leave it. Thank you again, Jordan, for coming on. Cap source is the company and sounds like a really great opportunity for for businesses and for learners and institutions of higher learning to really maximize that that relationship between the two. So thank you so much for coming on Jordan.


Jordan Levy  17:00  

Thanks for having me. Amy. It was great to be with you here today.


Amy Baron  17:09  

And thank you all for listening to upskilled. This episode has been brought to you by Convergent Learning, specializing in education technology, product consulting and market strategy. You can follow me on LinkedIn or on Twitter at Amy Baron one. That's amybaron1. And we'll see you next time on Upskilled.


Transcribed by