J-WEL launches Emerging Talent effort and Certificate in Computer and Data Science

J-WEL launches Emerging Talent effort and Certificate in Computer and Data Science

MIT Open Learning

Program expands Refugee Action Hub’s work to build education-to-employment pathways for underserved communities

Learners rethink and reimagine their learning and professional journey during a Design Session hosted by MIT ReACT.

The MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) is proud to announce the launch of Emerging Talent, a new effort to enable onramps to educational, professional and entrepreneurial opportunities for talented individuals from underserved communities around the world.

Led by Megan Mitchell, J-WEL’s Associate Director, Pathways for Talent, Emerging Talent brings together Refugee Action Hub (ReACT)’s proven track record of building global education-to-employment pathways for refugee and migrant communities and J-WEL’s wide-ranging efforts to bring MIT ideas and know-how to collaborations with educational innovators around the world.

As part of Emerging Talent, ReACT will continue to refine its novel methods for developing, researching, and advocating for best practices in education, policy, and workforce development for refugee and displaced communities. Programs will continue to be led by faculty director Admir Masic, who founded ReACT in 2017, and the dedicated staff who have helped expand its reach and impact.

“This is an exciting new chapter for ReACT,” Masic says. “We see the Emerging Talent program as a further expansion of ReACT’s proven model for agile education-to-employment pathways. We are excited about the opportunity for refugee learners to study and work alongside peers from around the world. As ReACT celebrates its 5th anniversary, we are more committed than ever to addressing systemic challenges that hamper access to education, and advancing the livelihoods and rights of those impacted by displacement.”

Emerging Talent Certificate in Computer and Data Science

Alongside the launch of Emerging Talent comes a core offering: The MIT Emerging Talent Certificate in Computer and Data Science. The certificate program leverages MIT content and resources along with local connections in key sites to enable high-quality online and hybrid learning experiences for talented learners including refugees, migrants, and first-generation low-income students from historically marginalized backgrounds.

The certificate’s 9-month online program combines MITx courses in programming and data science, personal and professional development workshops, and structured opportunities for practical experience. Piloted through ReACT over the past five years, the program has served more than 200 learners from refugee and displaced communities. Alumni have entered rewarding careers as software engineers, data analysts, and business analysts. Others have pursued graduate studies in related fields.

“It has really been very transformational to me,” says Jerry Anguzu, who completed his certificate in 2021 as part of a cohort of learners from Uganda, and is now a business intelligence analyst with Nairobi-based company M-KOPA. “It has helped give me a purpose.”

By providing novel agile education-to-employment pathways, Emerging Talent aims to increase the diversity of talent in the tech field by opening up education opportunities to low-income and historically marginalized learners, including women, refugees, migrants, and other underrepresented groups in STEM, across the globe. The need is urgent: According to the International Labour Organization, young people (ages 15–24) suffered disproportionately higher employment loss during the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing the global count of unemployed youth in 2022 to an estimated 73 million.

For Dean of Digital Learning Cynthia Breazeal, Emerging Talent represents an opportunity to upskill talented young people around the world. “When the COVID-19 pandemic forced education around the world to shift into virtual spaces, it allowed educators everywhere to test online learning in new interactive and innovative ways at scale. This is an area of real growth in the global education space. Our Emerging Talent programs leverage online platforms to bring transformative programming to anywhere in the world, advancing MIT’s commitment to practical learning.”

J-WEL faculty director and Associate Dean for Open Learning Anjali Sastry notes that the suite of Emerging Talent offerings will leverage J-WEL’s global community of educator, non-profit, and industry members, and expand Emerging Talent’s reach through J-WEL’s network by connecting its learners to academic and professional opportunities locally, where they are.

“At MIT Open Learning we are committed to providing people access to education so that they can develop their full potential and make a positive impact on the world,” says Eric Grimson, Vice President for Open Learning. “With Emerging Talent, we’ll continue investing and developing in programs that remove barriers and offer a learning environment for talented and committed learners from marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds.”

About J-WEL

MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) brings MIT ideas and resources to educational innovators, builds connections with dozens of member organizations across the world, and collaborates in co-designed projects with educational institutions to develop, assess, and disseminate practical and effective solutions that increase the reach, quality, and innovation potential of education.

J-WEL’s growing focus on innovation support speaks to the need for new and effective methods to spur impactful learning, development, and progress grounded in the ability to innovate in technology, process, and business models, particularly when that innovation benefits from ideas, insights, and guidance emerging from academia while addressing local needs and opportunities.

J-WEL launches Emerging Talent effort and Certificate in Computer and Data Science was originally published in MIT Open Learning on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


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