Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Apprenticeships - updated for the era of entrepreneurship and high tech

July 21, 2014, 2 p.m., Posted by Shaila Ittycheria and Kane Sarhan

Enstitute, a nationally recognized apprenticeship program for 21st century careers, recently announced its expansion to Miami with the support of Knight Foundation. Below, Enstitute co-founders Shaila Ittycheria and Kane Sarhan write about the program.

When you hear the word “apprentice,” what do you think?

You might flash back to the 1700s, imagining a young Ben Franklin working on a printing press or maybe recall something more recent such as Donald Trump saying “You’re fired” on television every week. Or maybe you think of Germany, where over 500,000 students complete apprenticeships every year across hundreds of industries. Most likely, you think of the 27,000 apprentice programs for trade jobs—carpenters, electricians and woodworkers—in the United States.  No matter what you think of, there is one thing to know: They work. On average, they have an 80 percent completion rate and a 70 percent hire rate (they actually lead to jobs). We don’t offer enough apprenticeships in the United States.  Enstitute, which operates in four cities, is aiming to change that, and Miami is our newest hub.

Enstitute is a new look at an old model. We have brought apprenticeships to the 21st century and innovation economy. We place 18- to 24-year-olds in full-time, paid apprenticeships under founders and executives at high-growth startups and social enterprises and innovative corporations in digital media and technology sectors. For our apprentices, we offer real-world experience and mentorship. For employers, we are a pipeline to undiscovered local talent and a platform to recruit and bring talent from around the nation to Miami.


Project for Lean Urbanism refining research to inform field

July 18, 2014, 1:36 p.m., Posted by Andrés Duany

Incoming CNU President Lynn Richards gives her first public speech since accepting the position (she joins at 11:18 mark in this video). Credit: Congress for New Urbanism.

Andrés Duany is a founding principal of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co. and president of the Center for Applied Transect Studies, which recently received Knight Foundation support for its Project for Lean Urbanism.

Andrés Duany. Credit: Michigan Municipal League.

At last month’s Congress for the New Urbanism in Buffalo, N.Y., the Project for Lean Urbanism introduced its first research products. Over three days, attendees presented 20 draft position papers and case studies. Discussion and debate followed each presentation, to solicit feedback so the authors can refine the drafts, which can be found at Videos of the presentations will soon accompany the papers.

Kids become ‘makers’ at Wynwood summer camp

July 18, 2014, 10 a.m., Posted by Carolina Wilson

Above: Boys programming recorded music into a mixer. Photos by Carolina Wilson.

Wynwood Maker Camp has added a twist to the typical summer camp for kids. Children from the ages of 8 to 18 come together for two weeks, engaging with a computer science-driven and student-led curriculum.

The camp, held five times this summer, is housed at The LAB Miami and hosted by MIAMade, a nonprofit working to develop a local “maker” culture, and the Maker Education Initiative, an organization that encourages youth to develop an interest in technology. Recently, Knight Foundation announced $105,000 in support for MIAMade for its 2014 Miami Makers Initiative, which includes the Wynwood Maker Camp.

Willie Avendano and Nelson Milian, entrepreneurs who met at The LAB, head the camp. With the original intention of following a regimented schedule based on basic computer-science skills, the camp has evolved into a more personalized experience based on the interests of each camper.

“One of the things we wanted to emphasize was exposure to technology,” Avendano says. “We asked, ‘What happens if we gave the kids everything we have?’ We have the knowledge and resources, and we wanted to teach them about technology. There’s no reason to have boundaries.”