First, there’s business.
Then, there’s business that also operates with socially-charged philanthropy-fuelled magnanimously-enriched humanitarian awareness designed to help channel a proportion of company profits, labour force time and resources towards helping others.
Technology learning platform company Pluralsight calls it social enterprise — and its own programme is known as Pluralsight One.
In terms of form and function, Pluralsight One is designed to improve equal access to technology skills. The initiative’s most recent augmentations include new products for the social and education sectors.
“When we created Pluralsight One a year ago, we wanted to build something that would meaningfully contribute to making the world a better place for everyone,” said Aaron Skonnard, co-founder and CEO of Pluralsight. “Whether it’s working with displaced youth, understanding the needs of nonprofits and those they serve, funding programmes that provide technology access to women and girls, working with organisations like Code.org and CSTA, Pluralsight One [aims to] democratise technology skills for us all.”
Pluralsight One is offering nonprofits steeply discounted access to the Pluralsight platform. The company says that this should help nonprofits to ‘improve operational and programmatic capacity’ through technology skill development that, in turn, should enable them to serve their communities.
Nonprofits can also make the Pluralsight platform directly available to their own beneficiaries.
The company points to global nonprofits that have used its tech-skills technology to building software used to track and respond to Ebola — and, also by those that are working on skill development for young refugees across the Middle East.
Pluralsight technology has also been used to help anti-human trafficking organisations working on employability.
“Technology touches every industry and fuels innovation, participation and creation. Unfortunately, nonprofits often lack the resources to keep pace and are being left behind in the midst of digital transformation,” said Lindsey Kneuven, head of social impact for Pluralsight.
Pluralsight One combines best practices from the humanitarian and development sectors with the company’s own process of ‘Directed Discovery’. This offering is the result of the firm’s global needs assessment.
The Pluralsight One team tested these findings through a pilot program with 40 nonprofits across 16 countries to co-create an offering that best fits the needs of nonprofits and their beneficiaries.
In related news, Pluralsight has formed new partnerships with Code.org and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA).
Code.org is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities. US focused but with a mission that translates for any country, this group organises the annual Hour of Code campaign, which claims to have engaged 10% of all students in the world.
Pluralsight says that its Pluralsight One mission is to strengthen the technology skills of students and computer science teachers.
As such, the company is providing a US$1.5 (£1.16) million grant to Code.org over three years to increase opportunities for girls and ‘students of colour’ to access computer science education.
The grant and Pluralsight One partnership is hoped to help enable Code.org to grow its resources for teachers and students, continue to develop curricula, expand its efforts to retrain teachers to teach computer science and scale impact through its network of regional partners.
There is also great hope here to ‘debunk misconceptions’ about computer science – by which the firm presumably means making coding not just a place for geeks… male geeks at that.
“My father taught me to code when I was eight years old, and I believe every child, no matter the circumstances, should have the same opportunity,” said Pluralsight CEO Skonnard. “Educating our youth is one of the most important actions we can take as a society. With Pluralsight One, we are supporting teachers with access to continued learning and empowering students to be lifelong learners, problem-solvers and creators, while giving them a direct path into the professional world that so desperately needs their technology skills.”
The Code.org and CSTA partnerships will help provide access to Pluralsight One’s new education products.
Pluralsight’s intermediate and advanced courses in software development and IT/Ops form part of a library that features over 150 courses totalling over 500 hours of content across four major areas: IT/OPs, software development, design/creative, and product management.
“Code.org is dedicated to giving all students a foundation in computer science to open up the best future opportunities regardless of what they ultimately pursue,” said Code.org Founder and CEO Hadi Partovi. “We’re excited that this partnership will allow Code.org students who uncover a passion for computer science to delve even deeper into subjects that our courses introduce.”
Teachers who are CSTA+ members can now access free curated courses on Pluralsight’s platform to hone their skills to pass computer science certification exams as well as gain deeper knowledge of computer science concepts and programming.