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From PreK-12 to Corporate training: 3 EdTech startups empowering marginalized groups through tech

What happens when companies put marginalized groups at the center of innovation in technology? They level the playing field. Today’s blog post sheds light on 4 Black Founders using technology to empower people through educational tools.

Ed Tech Startups are disrupting education and learning development, while opening the chance to change social and economic problems. Startups such as Edlyft and Curated X Kai have infused innovation and ingenuity to reach underrepresented groups to provide more opportunities and experiences.

One of the world’s fastest growing industries today is education technology. Just how big is the EdTech market?

The global education technology market size is anticipated to reach $285.2 billion by 2027, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. The K-12 segment accounted for the largest revenue share of 42.0% in 2019. Game-based learning is anticipated to be a growing trend in the K-12 sector.

Kai XR: Mixed reality, virtual and augmented immersive learning experiences

Founder Kai Frazier, a former educator and museum professional set out to change how children explore and learn about the world through VR experiences. As a museum professional Frazier’s extensive career enabled her to create Virtual Realty experiences using the KaiXR’s technology for young students. The digital experience allowed students to explore museums through virtual tours.

Most recently, Kai XR, partnered with UC Berkeley’s Department of city and Regional Planning/College of Environmental Design, along with Lyft earlier this year to host their first virtual STEM Exploration Camp. Participants learned about environmental design, smart cities, autonomous cars, and micro-mobility such as scooters and bicycles, including Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality technology.

The benefits of immersive education

Mixed reality, virtual and augmented immersive learning experiences, enables students to learn from anywhere. This technology can support and improve how students learn, enhancing their educational experience. Immersive learning enhances educational tools that challenges outdated curriculum, practices, and systems.

Using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality provides students with differentiated and personalized learning experiences. Educators can teach students in a new, possibly more effective, productive way. Parents, teachers, and educators have agreed that the school system, including curriculum needs an overall new approach for educating students. VR and AR may be the necessary change that enhances how students learn.

Some researchers believe that VR and AR can be beneficial for students in various ways, enabling more inclusive learning environments. Particularly students who have various disabilities. VR Augmented aid offers applications like the ability to manipulate, alter text sizes or add audio commentary for students who have visual impairments.

The Future of work: Startups accelerating learning and development for marginalized groups

Two startups, Guide App and Edlyft are doing their part in helping churn out future tech workers. According to the most recent U.S. government data released in 2016, African Americans make up 3% of employees in the top 75 tech firms in Silicon Valley, while they hold 24% of the jobs in non-tech firms.

Founders Tim Salau, Erika Hairston and Arnelle Ansong aim to change that.

Erika Hairston and Arnelle Ansong are two friends whose mission is to provide the right environment and tools for the next generation of engineers to succeed and, hopefully, get one step closer to closing the gender gap in STEM. Their startup, Edlyft, is a support platform and program helping college students and adult learners through their STEM courses. The platform also connects members to inclusive mentorship, online group tutoring, and personalized study tools.

"We started Edlyft because we realized that way more people were capable of learning these in-demand skills when given the right environment and tools. With Edlyft, anyone can learn the skills that will prepare them for high growth careers they will love. Supportive peers and mentors, and ample academic help can make a big difference between trying computer science once and becoming an engineer," Erika Hairston, co-founder of Edlyft, shares with Forbes in an interview.

According the EEOC website, Graduate enrollments in science and engineering grew 35 percent over the last decade. Notably, science and engineering enrollments grew more for racial and ethnic groups generally under-represented in science and engineering. African American enrollment for Science and engineering grew by 50 percent.

With an increasing number of African Americans pursuing STEM degrees, having access to learning tools, a network and support system helps Black employees navigate their careers, while cultivating talent.

Occupational employment projections are expected to increase in 2022 in the following groups:

Hispanic/Latino enrollment increased by 65 percent

American Indian/Alaska Native enrollment increased by 55 percent

African American enrollment increased by 50 percent

The Race to upskill workers in dying industries

According to a Deutsche Bank research report, America's Racial Gap & Big Tech's Closing Window 76% of Blacks and 62% of Hispanics could get shut out or be under-prepared for 86% of jobs in the US by 2045. The exponential growth of the digital economy is going to leave large chunks of minorities with little or no access to jobs.

The World Economic Forum has predicted that by 2022 over half of employees will require significant reskilling or upskilling to do their jobs — pre Covid-19. With record number unemployment rates, and the likelihood that many industries will not return, companies like Guide are providing people with the opportunity to shift careers altogether or upskill in their careers.

Tim Salau is the CEO and Founder of the premier B2B learning and development platform Guide. The platform has helped over 7 million remote workers learn the skills to advance their careers. In addition to the platform, members can connect with a global community called Guide Group, which has a growing number of 300,000 business leaders and professionals.

Now more than ever it is important for companies to focus on developing employees, particularly employees whose jobs may be disrupted by technology.

What is the benefit of companies upskilling employees?

Employees have first-hand knowledge of the organization’s products and services. This is where companies can create new value for employees, while accelerating change and growth.

Upskilling supports the company and the employees, enabling workers to focus on what they do best, while meeting organizational goals. That is a win-win for everyone, the employees will become more valuable and the company is able to retain its workforce.

The EdTech market is uniquely diverse, with opportunities to create social and economic change for marginalized groups. The Future of Work begins with the people and ends with empowering them through technology. Follow Shavaughn Baker @shavaughnceo on Twitter


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