Today many college graduates aspire to finance, consulting, law school, grad school, or medical school out of a vague desire for additional status and progress rather than from a genuine passion or choosing those professional paths because they are a personal/lifestyle fit. Perhaps these folks really do have something to learn from the art community?
Andrew Yang, the founder of Venture for America, is on a mission to do something about it. His two year old nonprofit organization, based in New York City, is looking to bring aspiring entrepreneurs into lower-cost cities like Detroit, New Orleans, Providence, R.I., Cleveland and Las Vegas to help jumpstart the startup community.
To accomplish this goal, aspiring treps complete a two-year fellowship program through Venture for America. The best graduates of the program are matched with early stage startups in need of talent. Not only do companies get to bring highly motivated individuals on board, but graduates have the opportunity to learn the ins-and-outs of starting a business.
Once assigned to a specific company, the graduates receive a base salary between $32,000 and $38,000, along with health benefits. They are expected to attend monthly discussions about their work experience and complete readings, assignments and a capstone project. After the program is completed, the best performing fellow(s) will receive $100,000 that can be used to support their current employer or launch their own entrepreneurial endeavor.
Venture for America was conceived after founder Andrew Yang discovered a skills gap among the college students he worked with at test-prep company Manhattan GMAT. They were perfectly capable but many of them couldn’t apply their knowledge in any kind of meaningful way, he noticed. Plus, having started up a company and worked at various other startups, he also knew what kind of talent shortage the startup world faces.
Any college student can apply for fellowship with Venture for America. The final two application deadlines for 2014 are February 17th and March 24th. So far the two-year-old program has included graduates from Harvard, Yale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brown and Cornell. In order to be accepted as a fellow in this organization, graduates need “adaptive excellence,” which means they have the capability to develop new skills and perform at a high-level in areas unfamiliar to them. If you are thinking about applying to join Venture for America as part of our next class, please read a message from Andrew Yang, Founder of Venture for America, here.
Yang also recently published a new book: Smart People Should Build Things, This self-described “recovering lawyer” and entrepreneur weaves together a compelling narrative of success stories (including his own), offering observations about the flow of talent in the United States and explanations of why current trends are leading to economic distress and cultural decline. He also presents recommendations for both policy makers and job seekers to make entrepreneurship more realistic and achievable.
“Vowels are to words what creativity is to the world~ basic and necessary.”
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Need a magic creativity wand? Let’s start with the clarinet and see what it inspires you to dream and do.