SALT LAKE CITY, UT – April 16, 2020 – Learn In, a new company that pairs education, development and training for employees with company sabbaticals, launched with $3.5 million in seed funding from Album, GSV, and Firework Ventures – a new future of work focused-fund. Village Global and angel-investor Michael Levinthal also participated in the round.
Learn In was co-founded by popular learning platform Degreed co-founders David Blake and Eric Sharp, along with Taylor Blake and Yael Gilboa Kaufmann, with the mission to transform the modern workforce. With it’s comprehensive upskilling-as-a-service platform, Learn In makes it easy for companies to offer employees sabbaticals, during which time they can acquire the new skills that are essential within an evolving workplace.
The Learn In model provides a particularly useful and humane alternative to the layoffs and furloughs now occurring in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of sitting idle at home, employees are given the opportunity to use this time productively to refresh and upgrade their skill sets before rejoining their employers post-pandemic with a new professional trajectory. At the same time, learning sabbaticals (learn ins) help companies train and retain employees immediately while creating a long-term competitive advantage.
“In less than six weeks, we’ve gone from historic unemployment lows and unprecedented talent shortages to the highest levels of weekly unemployment on record, with more than 16 million people out of work in the U.S.,” said David Blake, co-founder and CEO of Learn In. “Learn In provides a better option to layoffs or furloughs for the long-term health of workers, companies, and the economy amid these volatile conditions.”
Today, half of all companies are considering layoffs, while one in three are freezing new hires, and businesses around the world are announcing furloughs. Across the economy, some layoffs are required to mitigate the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but others are anticipatory in nature, reflecting a pull back on expenses now to mitigate future risk. These layoffs may not only be unnecessary, but they are potentially detrimental to employers. They also represent a missed opportunity to develop a competitive advantage in preparing for the future of work. Learn In can help.
Learn In offers the first comprehensive upskilling-as-a-service to make upskilling through sabbaticals easy and affordable. It delivers companies and their employees the very best in online, new-age, low-cost training programs, as well as traditional degree options particularly focused on digital skills and hard-to-fill roles such as data science and software engineering. Further, Learn In is the first upskilling-as-a-service platform to partner with innovative financing solution providers to make the process of reskilling easy while ensuring protection against financial upheaval.
“Supporting people, and providing hope, is a priority right now. Keeping people employed is key. We need to quickly equip people with the skills that remain in-demand,” said Arne Duncan, Former U.S. Secretary of Education. “Learning sabbaticals can be a tool for both our short-term and our long-term employment priorities. Companies get more skilled employees while managing payroll costs; employees get invested in during this moment of turbulence. Learning sabbaticals can help more companies train and retain their employees right now.”
The looming remobilization of the workforce, which happens by firing and rehiring static workers, will present significant costs to employers as they go about talent acquisition and onboarding. For example, the hiring costs of a mid-level software engineer can be north of $30,000, but reskilling an internal employee to do the same job can save a company as much as $116,000 over three years, per person. Data from several studies shows that companies can save at least 33% by allocating time and money to internal talent development, particularly for hard-to-fill roles. The economically compelling argument of upskilling and reskilling employees within their current employers through sabbaticals, or time away from a job devoted to learning, often at a reduced pay rate, ultimately helps close the skills gap while enabling workers to advance their careers.
Learn In provides the mechanism for companies to retain workers by placing them on a learn in so that they can engage in remote reskilling and upskilling programs and courses. By doing so, companies can reduce their overhead while still supporting employees and preparing them for future careers. When market conditions improve and employees are able to return to work, they will be better positioned to fill the company’s most pressing needs and advance professionally.
“Innovative companies have offered sabbaticals and part-time work as alternatives to layoffs in the past, but never in a situation quite like this. Similarly, companies have offered tuition assistance to help support employees engaging in learning or finishing a university undergraduate or graduate program,” says Co-founder Yael Gilboa Kaufmann. “Learn In enables both companies and employees to benefit from what could be considered a lull in ‘normal’ work so that each is in a stronger position when the pandemic ends. Companies need a highly trained workforce that is capable of embracing the demands of the future. This is our best chance for developing that workforce.”
To learn more, please visit learnin.com.
Learn In is the first upskilling-as-a-service startup helping companies manage learning sabbaticals and learning-while-earning hybrid arrangements. Learn In helps companies match their employees to the best training programs to develop hard-to-fill job roles and key skills and provide innovative financing options. Founded in March 2020, Learn In was born of the COVID-19 crisis to help people earn more money through upskilling and do more purpose-driven work and to serve employers in large-scale upskilling and mobilization of their workforce.
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Yael Gilboa Kaufmann
Co-founder & COO, Learn In