Taking Students from Learning to Earning: Students need skills for the modern workforce, at affordable prices, and on-demand!
Why I’m excited to welcome Thinkful to the Chegg family
By: Nathan Schultz, President of Learning Services
Through our deep and unique relationship with millions of students, Chegg understands the issues they face in their academic and professional journey. Throughout our history, we’ve strived to address their biggest pain points by continuously investing and adding to our platform of services that benefit students during their journey. From our roots as a textbook rental company, through our transition into becoming the leading direct-to-student learning platform, we’ve led the transformation of the higher education system to focus more on what students need to graduate and be prepared for the workplace.
The one constant we see for the future is regardless of the content we provide, it must be affordable, online, on-demand, personalized, and adaptive to meet the needs of the modern student. It must also appreciate that students are older, often working, often parents themselves, and need greater support than ever before. We believe the best way to democratize learning and increase access is to utilize technology so that solutions can scale and adapt to each student and each community’s needs. Today, digital tools are driving education and bettering career matching opportunities in unprecedented ways, and we believe in maximizing these tools to fit our students’ needs.
All over of the world, as automation continues its advance, college students and learners find themselves in a never before experienced position. According to McKinsey, as a result of this rapid automation, 375 million workers — or about 14 percent of the global workforce — will have to switch occupational roles as various industries are disrupted. We are no longer entering the digital age, we are in the thick of it. The kinds of skills that people will need to be successful, in a multitude of industries, are already shifting. What might have strictly been a tech-based skill set five years ago is now a necessity for a candidate to even be considered for a role. This doesn’t even touch on the importance of continued learning after you are hired for a job. A new hard skill upon hire may become outdated within a year and employees need to adapt to stay relevant. Digital skills are embedded in our work and these types of sought-after skills will continue to grow.
During my 11 years at Chegg, we’ve acquired several great companies– like Cramster, InstaEDU, Imagine Easy Solutions, Writelab, and Studyblue to name just a few — that have bolstered our student offerings and strengthened our direct-to-student relationship especially in the area of academic support. Those acquisitions were an important part of our mission and strategy, as they all served growing student needs. Now, as we continue realigning the higher education system to better support those student needs, Chegg has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Thinkful — an online learning platform focused on teaching students the most in-demand technology skills, preparing them for the workforce. Thinkful offers professional courses directly to students in highly sought-after areas like data science, software engineering, and product design. For Chegg, this acquisition makes perfect sense.
As we begin to think about the full scope of education, and more importantly the primary goals of students, which is to get a good job, we must embrace the diversity of learning. We know from our 2018 State of the Student report that the average age of college students is 26, three out of four have full-time jobs, in many ways they are already “lifelong learners.” The average age of a Thinkful learner is 30 years-old, so adding them to our platform of learning services will solidify our mission to take students from learning to earning. Two-thirds of Thinkful’s learners work while in their classes and half do not have a college degree, but they’re on track to learn the digital skills to keep them relevant and employable despite automation trends. Digitization and rapid automation are transforming work and creating skill shortages in the digital economy. These shortages are a modern problem and we are providing a modern solution.
By adding Thinkful to our platform we will be able to provide offerings that can be additive to a traditional academic journey, as well as possibly replace it. Thinkful shares our mission and has built a learning platform incredibly similar to our own, making this acquisition a seamless fit. They deliver quality, on-demand learning tailored to the student’s specific schedule, which, as we know, should be the model for higher educational tools. Additionally, this acquisition opens the door for potential collaborations to help local community colleges develop low-cost, high-integrity, online skills courses to fill local job needs.
I’m excited to welcome everyone at Thinkful into the Chegg family and am thrilled to expand the Chegg platform of services to support learners everywhere at any stage of their journey.