With over 50 percent of recent college graduates under the age of 25 reported unemployed or underemployed in the last year, a couple of young New Yorkers have decided to offer an alternate path to vocational success. E[nstitute], whose tagline “learn by doing” alludes to the thought that “rather than rely on books and lectures, we believe the best way to learn is to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty,” is a two-year full time program primarily aimed at high school graduates.
E[nstitute] plans to take on a class of 15 fellows this August and to partner each one with a startup or small company who has agreed to provide an apprenticeship in New York City. Over 30 businesses have already signed on, and accepted fellows will rank their preferences in order to be placed with an appropriate job. Each year focuses on different aspects of running a business, with on-site experience supplemented with outside curricula. One of the best parts? It’s free. For both student and startup. E[nstitute], raising funds as a 501(c)(3), provides housing (all the fellows live together), program costs, food, transportation, and possibly a small stipend.
Will the benefits (on-the-job training, networking, foregoing tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in college tuition and fees) outweigh the costs of eschewing a college degree? In a world where a bachelor’s seems to mean less and more young professionals are seeking alternative ways to earn a living, E[nstitute] may be just the kind of education needed. And, if not, college will still be there after the two year program is finished.
What do you think? Would you hire a young person without a college background? Is the college experience replaceable?