ASU partners with SV Academy to help more students make it in tech industry

December 11, 2019

SV Academy, the first tuition-free, online vocational school that provides job seekers with access to high-growth sales careers, announced it has partnered with Arizona State University and Florida International University (FIU) to help more people jumpstart careers in technology — without having to learn how to code — through its newly launched Collegiate Program. In tandem, the company announced an investment from Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary of Sound Ventures. 

“We’re excited to partner with SV Academy, a team that’s democratizing access to life-changing careers and economic opportunity with a truly unique approach — this is education that’s hands-on and tuition-free, with a job on the other side,” said Kutcher, co-founder and general partner at Sound Ventures. coding Download Full Image

Through the launch of the Collegiate Program, ASU and FIU graduates have access to:  

  • A full-time job offer with a median starting package of $79,000 plus benefits and equity upon completion.
  • A 12-week, tuition-free, fully-online technology sales training program that teaches human-centered skills led by mentors from Google, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • Job preparation and placement support at more than 200 companies in SV Academy’s network, including companies like SurveyMonkey, Palo Alto Networks, Pure Storage and Cloudflare.
  • 12 months of on-the-job training and mentorship and access to the SV Academy career network and events program.
  • A co-branded SV Academy program certificate that is issued by the university for any ASU or FIU alumni or senior graduating within 60 days.

As a leader in online education and one of the largest public universities by enrollment in the U.S., ASU is an ideal inaugural partner for SV Academy as the university has shown a significant commitment to increasing access to learning through online courses. Through the Collegiate Program, ASU will be able to route more hardworking alumni to high-growth tech jobs in the state of California, which contains the second-highest concentration of ASU alumni in the country. 

“Sales skills have staying power, and we’re honored to work with ASU and FIU, two leading universities focused on diversity and increasing access to education through online learning,” said Rahim Fazal, CEO and co-founder of SV Academy. “Both universities believe in our unique approach to helping underrepresented talent transition into the tech industry and stand behind our value-add, and we’re excited to expand our reach to even more hardworking graduates across the country.”

“At ASU, we’re passionate about giving our students and alumni the resources they need to pursue their dream careers,” said Darcy Richardson, director of continuing education for EdPlus at ASU. “With so many of our graduates interested in technology and our close proximity to California, where many of our students come from, partnering with SV Academy is another way for us to help people pursue the career they want.”

SV Academy sought out FIU as an initial program partner because in addition to spearheading innovation in the online education space, it has a very diverse student body and graduates more Hispanics than any other university in the continental U.S. FIU recognizes SV Academy’s mission to diversify the tech industry, making the university a prime program partner.

“SV Academy shares our zeal for providing accessibility to life-changing education and gives graduates the tangible skills and mentorship that make them immediately hirable and valuable members of the tech community,” said Joseph Riquelme, assistant vice president of FIU Online. “This partnership marks a significant milestone for FIU and opens up doors to careers in tech for our alumni everywhere.”

Make money, not code: A new pathway to work in tech 

It’s no secret that landing a job in technology is one of the most coveted roles after graduation. Unlike other industries that require years of experience, technology is a field hungry for young, in-demand talent who are eager to earn a high salary and pay off student debt.  

But for many recent graduates, coding is both unrealistic and unappealing. In fact, a recent McKinsey report estimates 50% of today’s jobs are susceptible to artificial intelligence, further confirming that engineers are coding themselves out of a job. That’s why SV Academy, which has already generated over $40 million in full-time offers for its graduates, makes it possible to work in tech, no coding required. 

ASU and FIU recognize this opportunity and are leading the charge in giving alumni who need assistance in navigating career options or who might be overlooked based on location, gender, race or socioeconomic status a chance to work in technology, a fast-track to Silicon Valley and beyond. 

Since 2017, SV Academy has led 28 cohorts and transitioned hundreds of fellows into high-paying, high-growth sales careers. On average, graduates of the program secure a career in 39 days, whereas it takes the average college graduate three to six months to secure employment after graduation. Unique to SV Academy is its approach to sourcing nontraditional talent and, to date, the company’s graduates are 25% African Americans, 16% Latino/a, 60% women and 70% first-generation college graduates. Additionally, 70% of graduates are promoted within the first year, with all demographic groups advancing at the same rate. The company was co-founded by CEO Rahim Fazal, whose last company, Involver, was acquired by Oracle, and COO Joel Scott, the former vice president of operations at Hewlett Packard.

To apply today as an ASU alum, visit the SV Academy website.

Carrie Peterson

Sr. Manager, Media Relations, EdPlus at Arizona State University


Angeleno makes fresh start at ASU Polytechnic campus

December 11, 2019

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2019 commencement.

When Nakia Gorden moved to Arizona to attend ASU, he had no car to drive and nowhere to live.  Nakia Gorden and his son show their Sun Devil pride and pitchforks with Sparky Interdisciplinary studies graduate Nakia Gorden and his son show their Sun Devil pride and pitchforks while flanking Sparky in the Sun Devil Fitness Center. Download Full Image

“I didn’t know anyone in Arizona,” explained Gorden, a full-time single dad of a son with a special need. “But my son and I needed a fresh start in a new place. I went through a divorce, selling my home and losing my grandmother within a two-month span. It was extremely difficult, but I had to figure it out.”

Gorden took advantage of the family housing options available at ASU's Polytechnic campus and worked part-time on campus while pursuing an interdisciplinary studies major in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, completing concentrations in history and African American studies and a minor in U.S. history.

Now, three semesters later, he’s graduating as one of the outstanding students from the College of Integrative Science and Arts and he and his son feel at home in the Polytechnic campus community.

“There are so many amazing individuals who work for ASU who have extended love and encouragement to me and I’m thankful: including my academic adviser, Linda Zygmond, who has encouraged me to be the best student I can be; La Christa Glenn in financial aid for helping make sure I took advantage of the grants and scholarships available to me; and all the staff with the landscaping department who go out of their way to talk with my son and me,” Gorden reflected.

He not only thrived in the family atmosphere at the Polytechnic campus, but in his course work he discovered his calling for teaching.

Gorden said that the “aha” moment came for him while participating in the pop-up museum assignment in one of Valerie Adams’ history courses. (For the pop-up museum, students across history courses at the Polytechnic campus curate and then showcase exhibits in a one-day public museum each semester.) 

“During my presentation that day, junior high and high school students who attended were drawn to my exhibit. Their eyes were glued to me and they were moved by my words — and I knew. At that same moment, Dr. Adams said, 'You're a teacher — look at how they're looking at you and how open they are to your words.'” 

Recently Gorden shared additional reflections with ASU Now about his undergraduate experience.

Question: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective? 

Answer: The people here are amazing! My academic adviser, Linda Zygmond, has been a consistent motivator and has laughed, smiled and cried with me during this process. 

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school? 

A: FIGHT!! Fight through the tough moments. Fight through loneliness. Fight through financial difficulty. Fight for your future.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: Valerie Adams is the greatest teacher ever and has motivated me to continue my education by obtaining my master’s and eventually a PhD. 

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?   

A: The fitness center and the library at the Polytechnic campus.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

 A: I will be pursuing my master's degree through the Teach for America program in May 2020 and teaching high school English.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: Implement programs that focus on culturally diverse curriculum in secondary education. 

Maureen Roen

Manager, Creative Services, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts