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A look back at 2020 with Pathstream CEO, Eleanor Cooper

by | Dec 29, 2020

2020 changed the way people around the world live and work. For Pathstream, there has been much to celebrate and reflect on. CEO Eleanor Cooper took some time to look back at 2020 and answer some of our questions:

What are you most proud of from 2020?

When I look back at this year, I feel incredibly proud of all the success our students have had coming out of our programs this year. From getting new jobs and promotions, to greatly increasing their confidence during a really tough year, we’ve seen firsthand how completing Pathstream certificate programs gives students not only tangible, marketable skills but also trust in themselves that they have what it takes to advance in their career.

I am proud of the sheer growth we’ve had serving students. We had over 6000 enrollments (up nearly 3x from last year) and, even better, they loved their experience — we received a 10-out-of-10 rating from 47% of students.

Our team also doubled from 30 to 60, with almost all of that growth happening during the pandemic. We had to quickly figure out how to onboard, collaborate, and convey culture remotely. I’m proud of how thoughtfully and diligently the team did this, incorporating learnings from our own course design, making sure the whole team felt seen and heard. We held our annual retreat a few weeks ago (over Zoom) and it was heartening to see how, even with this rapid growth, our team feels cohesive and motivated to continue finding creative ways to solve problems for overlooked learners.

It has been wonderful to watch individuals who joined in 2019 rise to the challenge of growing a startup. I’m proud of what they have personally accomplished and excited to see what our expanded team can accomplish in the new year.

What are you most excited about for 2021?

Our focus as always will be continuing to hone our approach to what ensures our students get great jobs and have continued career growth. We will continue to connect data, insight from instructors, feedback from students, and feedback from our hiring partners to refine what really moves the needle for career outcomes.

I’m also proud of our world-class product team and am excited to see how they can make the student journey through Pathstream, and education in general, smoother, less stressful, and outcome focused.

In terms of our offerings, I’m excited to bring the best of our job readiness & placement success into college degree programs. Too often individuals are forced to choose between making progress towards a college degree or a fast, effective career training program. In 2021, we’re launching a new offering that allows these individuals to have both, and no longer have to choose. In one semester with Pathstream, students learn practical tech skills as part of their degree, get paid for real work experience, and have access to career services to land a new job.

I’m also looking forward to expanding our employer-sponsored programs, which provide upskilling and degree completion opportunities to companies’ existing employees. As a matter of fact, the initial inspiration for Pathstream arose from interviewing dozens of employees at the Walmart in Alameda, CA, so the idea that our programs will be available to those same individuals is incredible — it feels almost too good to be true.

What was the most fun you had in 2020?

I actually loved learning data analytics, particularly SQL. I had been wanting to go deeper in data analytics for a while, knowing that data-related skills are increasingly a must-have for nearly every role at every business. I’m grateful for benefitting from such a practical and approachable learning experience in our Business & Data Analytics program, and how empowering it felt to put these new skills to use immediately! We’ve got new Data & Business Analytics cohorts starting in January and February, so contact us if you’re interested!

Pathstream company retreat in February 2020 — when we could still gather in person!

Do you have any predictions for 2021?

The education industry will continue to grapple with how to serve students who fall between the cracks of traditional higher education. We need to give students and working adults more choices than instructor-less, online videos or the 6–8 year path to a college degree.

People are hungry for affordable, effective, and human-supported career education that can help get them into high-quality jobs as fast as possible, without causing them to take on tons of student debt. At Pathstream, we are well-positioned to support individuals on this journey to greater opportunity. In 2021, I think we’re going to get even closer to closing the skills gap for overlooked learners, and I can’t wait to see how we progress!

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