By James Kim (Reach Capital) and Alberto Arenaza (Transcend Network)

This blog post provides a high-level narrative and overview of higher education trends and the Work-Integrated Learning space. For a deep dive into our analysis, including specific investment theses, please view our full report here.

For decades, “higher education” was synonymous with career advancement. Higher education represented a platform for socioeconomic mobility, growth, and employment opportunity. Enrollment peaked in 2010, with over 21 million students at degree-granting institutions in the US alone.

But ten years later, higher education is under unprecedented pressure. Only 38% of students who graduated from college in the past decade agree that their higher education was worth the cost. Worse, only 11% of business leaders “strongly agree” that higher ed institutions are graduating students with the necessary competencies, and many have eliminated degrees from their hiring criteria in favor of skills assessment. …

by Jennifer Carolan

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Get Ready for a Teacher Shortage Like We’ve Never Seen Before.” The New York Times is right — it’s happening. A school district outside of Phoenix canceled classes on Monday because they didn’t have enough teachers to staff the classrooms. Utah teachers are resigning in droves, and a New Jersey superintendent recently said “schools will be brought to their knees with staffing needs.”

Our public schools have operated in a precarious, neglected state for decades. Like so many of our underinvested institutions, COVID-19 has pulled back the veil on a crumbling system whose cracks have deepened into crevices perhaps too vast to fill. …

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by Jen Wu

The team at Reach Capital has been investing for educational impact for over 11 years. We make bold bets on founders who tackle challenges that are among the most pressing of our times, e.g. economic and education inequality, staying relevant in a rapidly-changing economy, and trauma and mental health. The global pandemic has exposed and amplified these pre-existing challenges like never before. What we believed were forward-looking bets at the time, turned into an urgent here-and-now, as demand for these solutions moved beyond early adopters to the global masses overnight.

This dynamic we’re witnessing confirms why we invest for impact. We have been steadfast and arguably idealistic in our belief that investing for positive change and lifting people up can be a successful engine for capitalism. We see our approach as an antidote to companies that maximize shareholder value with a myopic indifference to the long-term impact of their practices on employees, their communities and the broader world around them. The current crisis has laid bare just how interdependent we all are. Our business decisions are a critical part of how we activate our values. We believe that capitalism does not require a trade-off between social good and financial returns. …


Reach Capital

Closing the Opportunity Gap. Empowering educators and families. Inspiring children.

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