Startup aims to take on '11th commandment'

April 26, 2013
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Carmel tech firm owner Ron Brumbarger grows his own talent, and now he wants to help other businesses do the same.

Brumbarger on Thursday unveiled plans for his startup Apprentice University, an alternative to what he calls the 11th commandment: Thou shalt go to college.

“We think there’s a better way,” he said at the kickoff event at Launch Fishers.

The program is still in its formative stage, but Brumbarger said he has a couple dozen local employers interested in the idea of providing on-the-job training to Apprentice U. students, who will be paid for their work.

Students enrolled in the 30-month program will be given a series of assignments—and mentors—within the business network, and Brumbarger said they will leave with the real-world skills employers need. He hopes to start making matches by the end of June.

Brumbarger came up with the idea after growing frustrated by the effort required to get traditional college graduates up to speed at his Web development firm, BitWise Solutions.

“I’m not interested in new grads,” he said. “I’ll grow my own every day of the week.”

Apprentice U. will not award degrees, which Brumbarger insists have become more of a rite of passage for students than a value proposition. He cited the prevalence of unemployed and under-employed college graduates as proof.

“What other thing would you spend $100,000 on and not get a warranty?” he said.

In addition to the professional assignments, Brumbarger said students will take a “handcrafted” array of online courses like logic, rhetoric and entrepreneurship. The only requirement for everyone: an old-school acting class, which he said will help students become comfortable in the different roles they will be asked to play in life.

Brumbarger has experience developing young talent. His 7-year-old BitWise Fellows program allows high school students to run their own Web development firm, handling everything from sales and marketing to product delivery. The companion On Deck program is targeted at even younger students.

Fellows President Isabella Penola is a home-schooled sophomore who manages a staff of about 10. The 15-year-old Zionsville resident is an aspiring writer, but she jumped at the chance to expand her horizons. It is her first job.

“It is a really unique opportunity to get some real-world experience,” she said.

Brumbarger mentors students, but he takes a hands-off approach to the business.

“I don’t clean up after them or bail them out,” he said.

He hasn’t had to: The BitWise Fellows business unit posted a $2,200 profit on $6,000 in first-quarter sales. Annual revenue is close to $30,000.

Fellows “graduate” from the program when they finish high school, but several have landed part-time jobs at BitWise Solutions.

What’s your take on Apprentice U. and Brumbarger’s grow-your-own strategy?

ADVERTISEMENT
  • Good job!
    Great job Ron! Glad to see you are still thinking out of the box; or finding a new box! Cheers!
  • IBJ articel
    Article about alternative education
  • Missing measuring stick, but needed?
    I agree 100% that you can grow your own with mentoring and a good program. Apprentices should be warned that the rest of the world will not appreciate their skills because they are so tuned to the normal measuring sticks when looking at a resume. Chances are they will be so successful it won't mater.
  • Cost
    Very interesting. I like your thoughts. What is the cost of the 30 month program?

Post a comment to this blog

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
  1. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

  4. Fox has comments from several people that seem to have some inside information. I would refer to their website. Changed my whole opionion of this story.

  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.

ADVERTISEMENT