Last year at this time ITT Tech was closing its doors for good, and just last month University of Phoenix announced the closures of many of their locations. In light of those failures, Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak thinks he has found a different way to provide technology education to those who want it.
His answer? Woz U, a new technology education business inspired by Wozniak, is considered part of Southern Careers Institute (SCI) and will continue to partner with other colleges and institutions as Woz U seeks to grow.
Woz U's mission is to deliver personalized technology-based learning to energize a new generation of innovators. The vision for the future of their business is to deliver the most customer-centric enterprise; to build a place where people can come to discover the “newer middle” career sector training and push the boundaries of what is possible from Kindergarten to Career.
Woz U: Inside the Hallways
Led by Exeter Education, students will learn skills involved with the technology industry including computer support and full-stack software development. In addition to the current offerings, the career based programs will expand in 2018 to include data science, mobile applications and cyber security.
The facility currently operates several different programs.
- Online - Students can access their programs online 24/7, with live instructors and mentors available to them.
- Education - Woz U offers K-12 career pathways to drive success in STEAM education or careers. They also provide a Certified Educator program to assist teachers with helping their students on technology career paths.
- Enterprise - The business also provides programs to other companies that can train employees in the current systems and new technologies based on specific needs and desired outcomes.
- Academy - Set to launch in 2018, the academy will feature one-to-one instruction.
- Accelerator - Coming later in 2019, students in the accelerator program will be offered entrepreneur programs, learn how to finance and capital raise for start-ups, and will be offered fully paid internship programs from around the world. This is an aggressive 12-16 month fully-immersive program.
- Mobile App - The app includes an aptitude test which will point prospective students to the best available career path for them. It is also a way for current students to access the Woz U curriculum.
The failures of other career-based education businesses should be taken into careful consideration when considering utilizing a program like this. Many students from businesses like ITT Tech were left with huge loans and the reality of having to start their education over since the education provided does not transfer to other companies or institutions. Without physical locations and other business practices, Woz U may be able to avoid some of the pitfalls the other institutions suffered.
Woz certainly has credibility across the IT channel, and a loyal fan base among IT service providers. While Steve Jobs was sometimes considered cold and calculating, Woz has long been considered the approachable technologist who wasn't looking to make a buck on every engagement.
Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.