Washington Business Journal: Netflix, Lanham’s 2U choose Marymount University for tech education boot camp

Washington Business Journal: Netflix, Lanham's 2U choose Marymount University for tech education boot camp

 

Marymount University will work with Netflix and Lanham-based 2U Inc. (NASDAQ: TWOU) to teach tech skills and offer one-on-one mentorship to a group of students in the fall, a step toward filling the industry’s gap in connecting diverse talent with jobs.

The companies are expanding their boot camp programs — which offer classes in applied data science, advanced Java and UX/UI design — to higher education institutions with considerable Black and Latino student populations. Netflix covers the funding, and students who are successful in the application process at Marymount and three other institutions can enroll in the 16-week, credit-bearing courses.

“This program allows a corporate sponsor like Netflix to create a program to teach socially disadvantaged students useful skills that are informed by Netflix’s own business insights, while also creating a ‘scouting mechanism’ to find new talent,” Jonathan Aberman, dean of Marymount’s College of Business, Innovation, Leadership and Technology, said in an email. “Frankly, our region could use much more of this, and getting relationships like this arranged in our region is my highest priority.”

After a soft launch at Virginia’s Norfolk State University last fall, the boot camp program is expanding to other historically Black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions in addition to Marymount, including St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, and Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama.

“Developing stronger connections between higher education and the workforce is one proven way to help close persistent gaps in diversity, access, and opportunity,” David Sutphen, 2U’s chief strategy and engagement officer, said in a statement. “The expansion of our partnership with Netflix and the addition of our new university partners, like Marymount, gives us the ability to reach even more students and expand career pathways into tech for historically underrepresented communities.”

The private, Arlington-based university earned official designation as a Hispanic-serving institution last year, when its enrollment of Latino students reached 25% of the student body.

Marymount president Irma Becerra said in an interview that the partnership is exactly what the university is looking for as a solution to connect student learning with workforce needs — especially as more employers seek talent from marginalized communities.

“I’ve seen firsthand that when you’re a double minority in your field, it’s not easy,” she said. “We are uniquely positioned to make an impact.”

The Netflix Pathways Boot Camp will start at Marymount on Aug. 24. Three Marymount faculty members will be paired with 2U instructors to teach the courses, ideally to 20 to 30 students, Aberman said.

Netflix engineers, data scientists and UX/UI designers built the curriculum alongside online experts from 2U Inc., an education technology firm. Students in the cohort will also be matched with individual Netflix employee mentors, and 2U’s staff of advisers will offer career and support services.

“Early in my career, I never saw myself reflected in the tech industry, and in turn, didn’t feel like I belonged,” Corey Twitty, Netflix’s global emerging talent lead, said in a statement. “Black, Latinx and other underrepresented groups deserve to thrive in the tech industry. And for Netflix to be successful at ‘entertaining the world,’ our teams must continue to look like it.”

Read the original article on the Washington Business Journal’s website.