Venture for America: Creating Thousands of New Jobs in All the Right Places, with CEO Andrew Yang
Venture for America is a non-profit fellowship program that grooms the next generation of American entrepreneurs by placing them in startup apprenticeships.
Andrew Yang is an entrepreneur and author who is running for President as a Democrat in 2020. In his book The War on Normal People, he explains the mounting crisis of the automation of labor and makes the case for the Freedom Dividend, a Universal Basic Income of $1,000 a month for every American as well as other policies to progress to the next stage of capitalism.
Andrew Yang: Venture for America is a nonprofit fellowship program for college graduates who want to learn how to build businesses and create opportunities, become entrepreneurs really. What we do is we recruit top grads. We bring them to a training camp for five weeks at Brown University, my alma mater. We bring in entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists, McKenzie, IDEO to help train them in what it takes to build a company. And then they work in startup companies in Detroit, New Orleans, Providence, Cincinnati and eight other U.S. cities for two years. And at the end of those two years they’ll have a sense of how these businesses grow and develop.
They’ll be working with a more experienced entrepreneur during that time. At the end of the two years they can either stay at that company as a manager and leader or they can even start their own companies. And we have a set of angel investors and a seed fund to invest in them. So you can think of it as a two year extended entrepreneur apprenticeship program that has the immediate effect of helping companies expand and hire more people and hopefully create more jobs. Our immediate goal as an organization is to help create 100,000 new U.S. jobs by 2025 by helping these companies grow and also training the next generation of entrepreneurs.
So there are six default paths for young smart people in the U.S. today – financial services, management/consulting, law school, medical school, graduate school/academia and Teach for America. So these are six things and these six things will comprise between 50 and 70 percent of university graduates from any national university in the U.S. I mean they really add up very quickly.
They also tend to concentrate our talent in one of six geographies – New York City, San Francisco/Silicon Valley, Washington D.C., Boston, Chicago and L.A. So in essence we have a system that’s driving our most talented graduates to one of six activities in one of six places. And over the long term this is not a great thing for the economy, especially if you consider that so many of these graduates are heading to professional services contexts that exist to serve essentially large companies that after they get big enough to a point where they can hire an investment banker, consulting firm or a law firm. So the metaphor I use is that it’s like we’re investing in tons of layers of icing and forgetting to bake the cake. What we need to do is we need to send more talent to early stage businesses that can grow and prosper, expand, hire people, maybe even create hundreds of new jobs. And then if they become mature then they can hire professional services firms to help them expand in various ways. But the first order of business is helping the firms come into being and to grow.
36 percent of this year’s Venture for America class was comprised of women. And we think that’s a good start but not nearly where it needs to be. We need to get it up to 51 percent to mirror the population and also the college graduate ratio obviously. You know, I think people respond very powerfully to role models. Like they see examples, they want to see someone who’s like them. And so there are some fellows that are women that come to us and say hey, I’d prefer a female led company. And so when we go out to the startup landscape in these cities and you look around, I mean the proportion of companies that right now – not even in tech but just, you know, in startups and growth companies in these cities – unfortunately it’s certainly well below 51 percent at least of the companies that we see and interact with.
And so, you know, we see there’s a lot of work to do at every level. But we think a lot of it does begin as women looking up and saying, "Hey, who are the people that are doing this that are like me?" And I think that’s one reason why someone like Sheryl Sandberg has set such a huge powerful example because now, you know, women look up and see that there are leaders in these industries that are women that are doing amazing things.
I think there’s certainly a desire among this generation to have a positive impact to build something new. And I see this when I interact with college students around the country that they very badly want that sort of option. But when the rubber hits the road it’s really about who’s making them a job offer, when. And so if you’re a senior in college and you’re looking for a job, it’s all about who’s extending you a genuine path and who’s recruiting you, who’s making you feel wanted, who can you take home to your parents, figuratively speaking, and say, "Hey, mom, guess what? I’ve got an offer from Deloitte." Then your parents will be very, very happy. So those are the variables that really matter. Like people talk about the, you know, the wants and needs of the generation which are obviously very important.
But it’s equally important what are the genuine choices they’re being presented with. And those things are a function of resources. So what Venture for America does is we try and provide a genuine path toward startups and growth companies in Detroit and New Orleans and other parts of the country that might not be top of mind for a recent college graduate really by extending some of the same resources. So that if you join VFA you’ll end up with some of the same network and community and training and support that many of these young people are seeking through other means.
Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler, Elizabeth Rodd, and Dillon Fitton
Venture for America CEO Andrew Yang describes the fundamental problems facing young professionals. College graduates gravitate to just six U.S. cities and six career paths, which slows innovation and the growth of small businesses. Venture for America aims to reverse this trend and to create 100,000 new jobs in the U.S. by 2025. Yang is the author of Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America.
To create wiser adults, add empathy to the school curriculum.
- Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
- Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
- Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
The inequalities impact everything from education to health.
Astrophysicist Michelle Thaller talks ISS and why NICER is so important.
- Being outside of Earth's atmosphere while also being able to look down on the planet is both a challenge and a unique benefit for astronauts conducting important and innovative experiments aboard the International Space Station.
- NASA astrophysicist Michelle Thaller explains why one such project, known as NICER (Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer), is "one of the most amazing discoveries of the last year."
- Researchers used x-ray light data from NICER to map the surface of neutrons (the spinning remnants of dead stars 10-50 times the mass of our sun). Thaller explains how this data can be used to create a clock more accurate than any on Earth, as well as a GPS device that can be used anywhere in the galaxy.
Philosophers like to present their works as if everything before it was wrong. Sometimes, they even say they have ended the need for more philosophy. So, what happens when somebody realizes they were mistaken?
Sometimes philosophers are wrong and admitting that you could be wrong is a big part of being a real philosopher. While most philosophers make minor adjustments to their arguments to correct for mistakes, others make large shifts in their thinking. Here, we have four philosophers who went back on what they said earlier in often radical ways.
Just before I turned 60, I discovered that sharing my story by drawing could be an effective way to both alleviate my symptoms and combat that stigma.
I've lived much of my life with anxiety and depression, including the negative feelings – shame and self-doubt – that seduced me into believing the stigma around mental illness: that people knew I wasn't good enough; that they would avoid me because I was different or unstable; and that I had to find a way to make them like me.