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Michelle Rhee – Modern Apprenticeships

Download the Show Audio Here

Show Topic:

With talent in high demand and short supply, organizations are looking to unleash the potential of new talent that may not have the experience or credentials they need.

In this episode, host CMA’s David Ciullo discusses with Michelle Rhee, Co-Founder of Build Within, Modern Apprenticeships: A Talent Strategy Solution.

You may not know that apprenticeships are now an option for any industry not just the “trades”. Listen to Michelle and David discuss how setting up, managing, and being compliant with this modern talent solution can be done quickly and easily with todays technology and support.

About The Guest:

Ms. Rhee has spent her career in the field of education, and now workforce development, in a number of executive roles. She currently serves as Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of BuildWithin, a workplace learning software platform that transforms the way employers hire and develop new talent. The organization raised $2.5M in pre-seed funding, saw over $1M in first year operating revenues and won an $8M grant from the U.S. Department of Labor through the Apprenticeships Building America grant program.

Prior to BuildWithin, she served as the Chief Executive Officer of StudentsFirst, a nonprofit education advocacy organization that was launched on the Oprah Winfrey Show. In this role, Ms. Rhee led the organization to raise over $120M and introduced and passed over 140 pieces of new education legislation across 18 states nationwide including laws that allowed for charter schools to be formed in the state of Alabama, instituting a highly rigorous teacher evaluation system in Tennessee, and eliminating the use of “last in, first out” layoff policies in Ohio and Michigan.

Before that, Ms. Rhee became the city’s first schools Chancellor under Mayoral control of the 50,000 student Washington DC Public School district in June, 2007. In this role she oversaw 144 public schools comprised of 7,000 employees and an annual budget of approximately $1B. Ms. Rhee successfully negotiated a groundbreaking collective bargaining agreement with the Washington Teachers Union that implemented performance pay for teachers and a first-of-its-kind evaluation system in which 50% is based based on the academic growth of students. Under her leadership, DCPS became the fastest growing urban school district academically and was the only school district in the country that saw double digit gains in reading and math in tested grades in her first two years in office.

During her tenure student enrollment increased in the district for the first time in 40 years. In 1997, Ms. Rhee founded the revenue generating nonprofit organization, The New Teacher Project, to help public school districts and state departments of education recruit, select and train teachers to serve in hard to staff schools. TNTP successfully placed over 23,000 teachers in classrooms and started some of the largest and most successful alternative certification programs in the country including the New York Teaching Fellows which recruited 2,000 teachers a year.

Ms. Rhee became a member of Teach For America in 1992 upon her graduation from Cornell University. She served as a second and third grade teacher for three years at Harlem Park Community School in Baltimore MD and took on several management roles within TFA over a seven year period including serving as the Director of Schools for the Summer Institute where she was responsible for managing the program to train all 2,000 incoming corps members in Houston, TX. Ms. Rhee served as a member of the Board of Directors of Scotts Miracle Gro Corporation (NYSE). In her role as an independent director of the company, she chaired the Compensation and Organization Committee and served as a member of the Nomination and Governance Committee.

She also serves as an advisory board member for the Marco Polo Learning company, and has served on the nonprofit boards of the Broad Center for Urban Education, St. HOPE Public Schools, and 50 CAN. Ms. Rhee holds a Masters in Public Policy from the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a BS in Government from Cornell University. She has appeared on the cover of Time and Newsweek magazines and was awarded one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2011. Ms. Rhee was awarded Trinity College’s “Woman of Genius” award in 2007 and has received honorary doctorate degrees from the College of St. Rose and Mercy College.