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Accenture Helps Fill Empty Seats in Classrooms

By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager.

The annual Public Sector Innovation Award, under the auspices of the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard and sponsored by Accenture, is providing $10,000 to help advance a new online platform  that’s tapping unused capacity – empty seats – in higher education and vocational classrooms. ALEX (Anyone’s Learning Experience) has begun building partnerships with small and medium Boston-area businesses that offer tuition assistance and have employees without college degrees. Sergio Marrero, CEO of ALEX  and representatives from Accenture answered our email questions.

What’s the history of The Public Sector Innovation Award? 

Accenture and the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard launched the annual award in 2012.

How and why is Accenture Involved?

Accenture has a longstanding relationship with the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard, including two conferences at Harvard each year for innovative government leaders.

What’s special about Anyone’s Learning Experience?

ALEX, Anyone’s Learning Experience, is a platform where learners can take individual in-person courses from higher education institutions for career advancement. Where online only programs primarily focus on skill building, we connect learners to the in-person experience and community that both employers and learners prefer. In addition, ALEX suggests courses that are aligned to employees current role and the next desired position in their career ladder enabling employees to advance professionally.

What does Accenture hope to gain from their involvement?

This is one of the many ways we work to advance and expand the boundaries of creative approaches to public sector challenges, including digital opportunities to deliver more effective citizen services. In this specific case, ALEX helps colleges and other training institutions fill empty seats and provides a new way for organizations of all kinds to address talent and skills gaps in the workforce and provide new horizons for employees.

What’s in the future?

Accenture highly values the relationship we have with Harvard and the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center.  We are co-hosting one of our annual conferences for government leaders right now at Harvard (June 14-16) focused on public sector innovation, will host another one in October, and foresee the annual continuation of the Public Sector Innovation Award, inspiring Harvard students to innovate new solutions for government and societal challenges.

The ALEX team is working out of the Harvard Innovation Lab this summer and is preparing to launch with courses from the Boston area by the end of the summer. They are currently seeking employer partnerships looking to invest in employee training as a retention development mechanism and educational partners looking to offer courses on the platform.

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