Pluralsight One + the refugee crisis: Building a solution together

Aaron Skonnard
Feb 23, 2018 · 3 min read

Last fall, at our first user conference, I was thrilled to announce our new social impact entity, Pluralsight One. The purpose of Pluralsight One is to use a portion of our product, expertise, time and equity to fulfill our mission of democratizing technology skills, with a special focus on underserved and marginalized communities. Through our efforts, we can magnify the impact of the social sector and connect the individuals and communities they serve with high quality technology education.

Pluralsight One is working to create a product offering for nonprofit organizations around the world. Over the last several months, we’ve conducted needs assessments from more than 20 of the world’s largest NGOs, dozens of social enterprises, and surveyed hundreds of nonprofit leaders. We’ve been testing our findings with a diverse group of organizations, including , UNICEF and MercyCorps, Annie Cannons and many more. Among the many vulnerable populations we are reaching through this discovery process, the needs of refugees and displaced persons stand out because they are particularly complex and the population is particularly large.

Let me give you a little background. Because of the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Syria, millions of children, teenagers and young adults have been forced to flee for their safety, leaving behind loved ones, homes and jobs. Many have lost access to consistent education and dignified employment, creating a bleak future for an entire generation of displaced youth. And while this group is now highly vulnerable, they are also highly capable — and they need access to opportunity and resources. We are committed to collaborating with humanitarian organizations and these conflict-affected youth to explore how Pluralsight’s product and expertise can be a part of this solution.

So we’ve partnered with the NLG Tech Task Force to engage some of their members such as UNICEF and MercyCorps to evaluate Pluralsight as an education and tech skills development tool that, together with a suite of other resources, can create pathways to economic opportunities and sustainable livelihoods. We’ve sent Lindsey Kneuven, Pluralsight’s Head of Social Impact, to the region this week to meet with leaders, humanitarian organizations and youth to further learn about the needs and complexities so that, together, we can build solutions that are relevant and meaningful.

This is much more than a site visit. Our goal for this trip to the Middle East is to get feedback from both the humanitarian workers and the impacted young people, so that we lay the foundation for continuous innovation and problem-solving.

And, we want Lindsey to share her experience with the larger Pluralsight community, to help us build empathy and awareness, so together we can collaborate on many more initiatives that will drive lasting change for vulnerable and underserved communities.

I’m excited about this new opportunity for Pluralsight to make a real difference in the lives of so many — a difference we hope will go well beyond this generation of refugees and empower many more to use technology skills to create a better future for us all.


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