If there is a program that materializes our college alternative vision for the future, that is Praxis.
Praxis is a 12-month college alternative program that places young people in apprenticeships with top-notch startups. They have been featured several times in CNBC, Wall Street Journal and Fox News.
The results? Well… 98% of the participants are employed immediately after finishing the program with ZERO debt and an average salary of $50,000. Most of the participants are just 20 years-old.
Pretty insane, I know.
We sat down with Isaac, the forward-thinking CEO behind this and asked him a few questions on the future of education, the program, and other things.
Jay Orozco @valdour: Isaac, thank you so much for joining us. For the people who may not know you, can you introduce yourself?
@IsaacMorehouse: Sure. I’m dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. I’m the founder and CEO of Praxis, which is sort of an incorporated version of that pursuit. We’re all about helping free people to discover and do work they love. I’m a husband and dad to four wild kids, got married young, had kids young, and absolutely love the challenge of trying to raise awesome autonomous individuals and build a great company all at once.
J: Didn’t know about the four kids! Reading your personal blog, we saw that you went to college, got involved in political debate and started other businesses. What learnings did you get from these experiences that made you be here?
I: Well, I was always interested in the idea of freedom, for myself and others, and like many young people my first assumption was the politics was the place to go to fight for it. I learned through a few years working in the state legislature and self-study of Public Choice Theory that politics is a trap, and the last place to go if you want to see some kind of positive change in the world.
As far as business, I had jobs from a very young age, which was awesome and ten times better than any classes or school (plus, I got paid!) I worked for a few small business owners, and man did I learn a lot. Then my brother and I decided to launch a company installing telephone and computer cables. It was a pretty brutal feast or famine type of thing, very humbling, but incredibly valuable for helping me see how important it is to understand the marketplace and know what truly unique value you can bring. We were offering a pretty generic service and competing with others who frankly did it better!
Isaac’s first business card
J: That’s a very good start! employers just want a person that knows how to create value for them and the degree is not a proof of that anymore. Whether or not you have one, what are other ways to differentiate yourself from the rest and prove to the world your value?
I: Yes! It’s limited only by imagination, but at Praxis we’ve found some of the most effective things you can do to win jobs, clients, and career opportunities (and so, so much more valuable than a static resume or boring degree) are to create tangible projects that demonstrate your skill in specific areas with results. Even better, do a project for a specific business you want to work for before you get the job. Pitch them with a clear value proposition. Show your work, don’t just wave a piece of paper you bought and hope they send you a paycheck.
Build a website, review a book on Amazon about an area of interest to a company, start a podcast and interview top minds in an area, commit to master something and show your progress, blog every day for 30 days. These are just a few things we’ve helped people do that have led to great jobs.
“Create tangible projects that demonstrate your skill in specific areas with results.”
Praxis participants working for Remine, a startup that offers real estate intelligence to agents.
J: We did not have the internet, smartphones or electric cars. A lot has changed in the past 20 years. Classrooms are exactly the same. What changes would you make in the current school system?
I: Abandon it. Seriously. School is bad for learning.
“Creativity is as important as literacy” Our favorite learning alternative: https://valdour.co/learning-alternativeSource: Prince Ea
Publicada por Valdour en Domingo, 22 de abril de 2018
J: Let’s talk about more about the Praxis program. There are a lot of people that finish high-school and don’t even know what to do with their career. How can the 6-month bootcamp at the beginning of the program help with this?
I: To be honest, I worry more about people who think they DO know what they want to do with their career! What you’ll be doing in 20 years probably doesn’t even exist yet, so the idea and all the pressure of choosing what you want to do for a living – like the one true path – isn’t a good one.
We focus on helping participants discover the intersection of their interests, abilities, and what’s valued in the market. They see a lot of opportunities and projects that help them find a good fit for that first professional opportunity. That’s all we’re focusing on, the first big step. It takes all the pressure off to decide the distant future and instead helps you seize a good opportunity now that can help you learn about what cool stuff you might want to do next.
J: After the bootcamp, the participants apprentice full-time at a startup. When people think about these companies, they think they need to be a programmer and have a technical background to work for one. Can you give us examples of the roles they can take that are not technical?
I: Oh man, that’s the best part. So many awesome, fast-growing companies have so many non-technical opportunities! Lots of the best starting points are customer success, business development, marketing roles, and operations. These are things like talking with customers and potential customers and helping more people hear about the company and product. They’re such cool roles and excellent for learning what the world of business is all about.
Over 60 partners have already signed up to hire Praxis participants in North America, these are just some of them.
J: We have read a lot of success stories from hundreds of Praxis participants. Working for startups with high-paying jobs is definitely an incredible outcome. How does the program prepare participants to become entrepreneurs and run their own business someday?
I: That’s really at the heart of it. Of course, not everyone is interested in being an entrepreneur in the traditional sense, but even for those who aren’t, the world is changing and “jobs” as typically understood are going away and being replaced by a lot of project work, contract arrangements, freelancing, etc. Whether you work for someone or not, we put a major emphasis on the necessity of becoming “Me, Inc.” and seeing yourself as your own startup. That mindset is where it all begins.
After that, the best possible way to gain the stuff you need to launch a company is to be around entrepreneurs and in companies, others have launched. That real-world experience is unmatched by any textbook. Many Praxis participants are future entrepreneurs. We see it, even if they don’t see it in themselves yet! When you have a clear vision for a company to launch, you want to be ready to go for it. Until you do, the best thing is to come alongside someone else’s vision and help them build it. That positions you to do it yourself when the time is right.
Watch the video below to see what some of the hundreds Praxis participants are doing after the program.
“Real-world experience is unmatched by any textbook.”
J: Now, the question our audience is waiting: what are the key differences between a person that has been through the Praxis program and the person that just finished his bachelor’s degree?
I: It’s not even fair. You walk away from college with this degree (and often debt) and no knowledge whatsoever about what is needed and valued in the real world. Worse, many grads think they do have that knowledge. They have no idea how to create value in the market, and they have no idea that they have no idea! That’s a dangerous spot.
Praxis grads understand that in the real world, value creation is what matters. Not how cool you are, or your prestigious pedigree, or how proud your parents are of you, or how much debt you racked up. What you can do to solve problems people are willing to pay for. Period. Praxians learn that right up front, they’ve been “deschooled” from the rule-following mindset and understand that they are the only ones who can set goals, commit to the steps necessary, gain skills, and build ways to prove those skills. They know nobody owes them anything, but they have to pitch and prove themselves. They relish the challenge.
From a practical standpoint, you leave college on average with five years of foregone earnings and experience, $37k in debt, and no idea how to build a career.
You leave Praxis after just one year with a personal website, a portfolio of projects, zero debt, 6-months of startup work experience, and a network of driven peers and businesses to tap into for life.
It’s the most practical radical thing you can do. But it’s really hard. If you’re looking for a freebie or to escape pushing yourself, look elsewhere.
J: Student debt and debt, in general, is a curse. Praxis program costs $12,000. Tell us more about the financial situation of the participant after finishing the program.
I: In Praxis you earn just over $14k during the apprenticeship, so on the net, the program cost you zero.
Statistically, the average grad earns just over $50k in their first job right out of the program. The median is around $45k, so it’s not just a few outliers. These are 18, 19, 20 years olds typically. But honestly, stats and averages are a bad way for individuals to make decisions. What gets me excited is that our grads are getting the jobs they (and their peers) want in one year for zero net cost when they thought they’d need to apply for them after half a decade of classroom boredom and five figures of debt.
Many participants tell us about friends who started college when they started Praxis. Four years later, Praxis grads are experienced Account Execs and VP’s of Sales, earning 75 or 100k, and their friends are degreed, indebted, and unemployed.
“The time cost of college is worse than the money cost.”
Be your own credential.Visit valdour.com/praxisSource: Voice & Exit / Praxis
Publicada por Valdour en Lunes, 5 de febrero de 2018
J: Although people from all around the world can apply to Praxis, it can be very difficult to get a visa for an applicant living in Spain, for example. Do you have plans to offer the program in Europe?
I: Yeah, it’s a bummer that participants from other countries really can’t move here for the apprenticeship portion. We have worked with people worldwide by offering just the bootcamp portion, and we’re exploring some partnerships in other countries where we provide the whole experience and structure, but someone on the ground locally handles finding the apprenticeship placements. We’re never satisfied reaching just a small fraction of the world, so we’re going to keep pushing to find the best model to span all borders.
J: The same way people are getting more and more interested in joining Praxis as participants, businesses that hire participants are also seeing amazing results. How do you convince them to trust and hire Praxis participants and ditch the old hiring process?
I: Honestly, of all the challenges we face, this is probably the easiest and most fun! Businesses are hungry for talent, not sure the best way to find it, and unhappy with degrees as a weak signal of ability. We show them what we do, show them Praxis participant profiles they’ve built during the bootcamp, and it’s a no-brainer. A body of work beats a resume or a degree, and they can tell quickly if they want to interview someone. We set up both parties for success, and provide guidance and support along the way to increase the odds of a win-win. It works really well.
For more info on becoming a Praxis Business Partner, check out their dedicated website.
J: You founded Praxis 5 years ago. Hundreds of people have gone through the program, your team is bigger and we recently saw that you are moving to a bigger office. Can you share with us more about the journey of creating your own startup, hiring the right people, ask for financing, and managing day-to-day operations?
I: That’s a tough one. I could write a book about the lessons I’m learning. Actually, I did! I put together a short book of lessons learned so far if anyone wants to check it out.
But the key for me has been focusing relentlessly on the vision and the customer.
I didn’t know anything about venture capital or financial reports or any of that business stuff when I started. I knew I had the vision to help people discover and do what makes them come alive through project-based learning and signaling and real-world experience.
I know every day that nothing else matters – offices, investors, team size, news coverage, cool T-shirts (and they are cool), etc. – unless we are creating real value for our customers. Always bring it back to the customer.
Other than that, I try to do as little as possible and find the best people in the world to do things they’re good at and I’m not. I try to boil my own role down to just three focus areas: money, talent, and vision.
And it helps to laugh at yourself. Otherwise, the stresses of starting a company would break you!
J: Last question: You are a father, what is the best career advice you can give to your children?
I: First, just work hard and say yes to as many opportunities as you can. Over time, start to whittle away stuff you don’t like and narrow down into a niche that’s really unique. But don’t rush it. It takes time.
Isaac, thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions with so much detail and enthusiasm. I’m sure our audience will appreciate your tremendous insight on the topic that has the most impact on their lives. The value you added here was outstanding!
Hit this link to check out the Praxis Program.
Read this article by Isaac about his education and career path.