Lighthouse Labs a Private Career College in Ontario By: Rachel Greenspan Lighthouse Labs was created to to deliver the best education experience and evolve the way software developers are being trained. We aim to transform the lives of our students, and the industry. Pretty revolutionary, right? And today I’m psyched to announce that we’ve become a Private Career College in Ontario! I can hear some people thinking: “If your goal is to be on the cutting edge of tech education, why aim to go through the long, complex process of government compliance? Won’t this slow you down?” Actually, one of the first steps we took when we opened in Toronto was to to apply to become a Private Career College (PCC). I can articulate some pretty good reasons why this is important to us - including the opportunity to showcase our awesome [career services outcomes] and finely tuned curriculum. I truly believe that being a PCC will also help propel us further forward and help more amazing students achieve their goals of becoming developers! Now is a pretty good time to add that I have a history of working on tech education related policy. So I get giddily, oddly excited about the nexus between government and cutting edge tech education. My first job out of college was to be an immigration paralegal for foreign developers and engineers. And my last job before becoming General Manager of Lighthouse in Toronto involved helping construct a cybersecurity education framework for US workers. I’ve learned a few things from that experience. One is how to make a perfectly-tabbed three ring binder of documentation. The other is that building a solid dialogue and a tight-knit relationship between subject matter experts, policymakers and education institutions can build an amazing community. The outcome: supporting our students in every way we can The primary reason that Private Career Colleges exist is to protect their students! We’re proud to say that being a PCC will keep us eligible for important financing options like Canada Ontario Job Grant and will, eventually, include the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). It also means that our refund policy, code of conduct and dispute resolution process comply with the Private Career College Act, and we’ll submit financials to the Ministry every year. Clarity and transparency in the way we operate should make it easier for students to focus on the intense, quirky and immersive experience of being in bootcamp! Hundreds of graduates from Lighthouse Labs are already working as developers across Canada (and around the world). Now they’ll receive a diploma from an accredited institution in Ontario. The process: keeping tech education innovative and accessible The Private Career College (PCC) process was a great opportunity to submit info on our highly qualified instructors and innovative curriculum and learning management system, Compass. Sherman, our office dog, was not included in the application. Sorry, Sherm. Critical inquiry, experimentation and agility are core principles of our teaching style. One big reason we chose to work with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and University (MTCU) is because we believe that innovation and disruption in the education sector should be compatible with working alongside government. Students should get the highest quality, up to date curriculum and also enjoy the benefits of going to an accredited school at the same time! By breaking down these boundaries, government and private sector can work together make coding education current, disruptive and accessible to as many students as possible. Education regulation is different for every province! When Lighthouse Labs was founded three years ago, we went through a similar process in British Columbia to become a Private Training Institution with their regulatory body, the Private Training Institution Branch (PTIB). We also became licenced with Alberta Advanced Education on March 26, 2018. In addition to being accredited as an education institution in Ontario and BC, we are already also EQA registered in BC (Education Quality Assurance) which means we have met or exceeded provincial government-recognized quality assurance standards. International students are also assured of our quality standards through our DLI listing, as they can apply for study visas by attending Lighthouse Labs bootcamps. Participating in these processes helps Lighthouse provide certified high quality curriculum, maximum diversity in our student body and consumer protection for all of our students! You’ll see below that it also helps with something very near and dear to us - making sure that coding is for everyone. Coding education, community building and the big picture Last, but definitely not least, working with government fits into an important part of the Lighthouse Labs philosophy that “it takes a village.” Working with the provincial and federal government affords the opportunity for important discussions around topics like coding education in public schools, developer workforce needs, diversity in tech and many more. Lighthouse Labs has already partnered with government institutions across Canada on initiatives such as training for teachers to teaching code, teaching kids to code and the HTML500 - our free, day-long learn to code event. The energy around these events is amazing, and really, we think this is just the beginning. For Lighthouse Labs in Toronto, in particular, I’m excited to embark on this journey of exploring how we can use coding education to strengthen Ontario’s workforce, provide coding education to new communities and bring together developers from across Canada. Finally, before I let you go, I want to take this chance to thank the subject matter experts, educators and developers who have worked on our curriculum and helped us reach this point. We’re looking forward to cool new events, partnerships and coding projects in 2017 and can’t wait to meet you at our next Demo Day!