In an era where global challenges continue to shape our world, pursuing social good has emerged as an imperative that transcends borders and beliefs. As communities grapple with issues ranging from environmental sustainability to equitable access to education and healthcare, the concept of social good stands as a compass guiding individuals, organizations, and governments toward actions that uplift humanity.
A $20 million partnership between Goodwill and Google.org, the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator is paying off for 387,000 job seekers with employment via more than 118 Goodwill members across North America.
“I wanted something different,” Kara Gooch, talent strategist analyst at Accenture and graduate of the Career Accelerator, states during a Zoom interview. “I wanted to make sure that my girls had a living example of what success could look like; if I could do that for my girls, then I was going to win. When I decided to go into tech, I knew that going back to school would not be an option. Having the three girls, and maintaining a job that was barely getting food on the table, had me choosing between keeping the lights on or keeping the internet on. All of those things were the genesis of ‘it’s time to get into tech.’”
In 2017, Hector Mujica, head of economic opportunity at Google.org, Americas, and his team launched Grow with Google to help Americans grow their skills, careers, and businesses. It provides training, tools, and expertise to help small business owners, veterans and military families, job seekers and students, educators, startups, and developers. Since Grow with Google’s inception, it has helped more than ten million Americans develop new skills.
Goodwill’s Career Accelerator is within Mujica’s $100 million grantmaking portfolio that supports interventions that aim to provide pathways to digital economy jobs for individuals with multiple barriers to employment.
“The college pathway has been the main path with gaining digital skills,” Mujica explains over a Google Meet conversation. “How do we ensure that we’re leaning into the opportunities that are created by technology, and how do we make those truly be available to everyone? How do we increase the number of on-ramps to the digital economy? We ultimately landed on working with organizations across the workforce development ecosystem, organizations like Goodwill, that ensure that job seekers have access to the right skills they need to be able to participate in the digital economy.”
Initially, Google.org invested $10 million into the Career Accelerator. Now, the program has reached over 1.7 million learners with digital skills. Participants receive Google certifications that can be applied to multiple companies across different industries.
“We often see more in people than they see in themselves,” comments Steven Preston, the president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International, over a phone interview. “Not unusual for somebody to come to the door and feel the weight of what their challenges have been. What we try to do is present to them what their possibilities are. What we’re able to do is once you get to the assessment process to say, ‘Let’s talk about what your goals are. But let’s also talk about what jobs are available in your market today based on the industries locally.’”
Enter WorkingNation, a nonprofit media company focused on the future of work. It recently released a short documentary film, Glory in Overcoming, directed by Melissa Panzer, highlighting three women of color, all single mothers, who completed the Career Accelerator. For Panzer, stepping into the director’s seat was more about the advancement of women creatives and telling a good story.
“I had been hoping to find a timely story to tell, and these women moved me so deeply that I was inspired to make a leap of my own and step into the director’s chair for the first time,” she states during a Zoom interview.
The documentary follows the stories of Gooch, Chelsea Rucker and Shaheera Alnatshia. Gooch worked a dead-end job that didn’t provide the basic necessities to feed her young daughters. As a single mother, she knew she had to make a pivot to better her circumstances.
Most people associate Goodwill with donation centers and thrift stores. The Career Accelerator breaks the stigma around a handout and is shifting the perception to a do-good, advanced one’s career perspective.
“In my own reflection time,” Gooch shares, “I went back to that objective of ‘you’re not giving someone a handout, you’re giving them a hand up.’ When I looked at it that way, being able to ask someone across the state from me to say, ‘Hey, I see that you did it. How can I do it too?’ I only survived and made it to that point because someone else helped me. I only made it to the Career Accelerator program because Chelsea [Rucker] helped me. I only made it to the apprenticeship program [at Accenture] because I first helped myself.”
Through the program and Goodwill’s partnership with Accenture, Gooch connected with a recruiter. She started off in the apprenticeship program out of Nashville and gradually worked her way to the talent strategist position mentoring others.
As Gooch continues to transition her career, she focuses on the following essential steps:
“The risk that you take of not choosing yourself, Gooch concludes, “my message to those that choose that, that choose not to take that risk, is you’re still needed. Regardless of how many people you see in front of you that are growing, thriving and excelling. You’re still needed, and there’s still space for you.”
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It’s highly unlikely that you’ve missed the buzz surrounding generative AI, and specifically large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT. In latest months, these have been hot subjects everywhere, from social media to the news to everyday conversations, and we’ve only just begun to learn what generative AI could be capable of.
Generally speaking, gen AI refers to a category of machine learning (ML) techniques that can create content like images, music and text that closely resembles human-created content. LLMs, on the other hand, are neural networks with billions of parameters that have been trained on vast amounts of text data, which enables them to understand, process, and generate human-like language.
Together, these technologies offer a diverse range of applications that hold the potential to reshape diverse industries and amplify the quality of interactions between humans and machines. By exploring these applications, business owners and enterprise decision-makers can gain valuable inspiration, drive accelerated growth and achieve tangibly improved results through rapid prototyping. The added advantage of gen AI is that most of these applications require minimal expertise and do not require further model training.
Quick disclaimer: People often tend to associate gen AI exclusively with ChatGPT, but there are numerous models from other providers available, like Google’s T5, Meta’s Llama, TII’s Falcon, and Anthropic’s Claude. While most of the discussed applications in this article have made use of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, you can readily adapt and switch the underlying LLM to align with your specific compute budget, latency (how fast you need your model to generate completions — smaller models allow quicker loading and reduce inference latency), and downstream task.
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LLMs demonstrate impressive capabilities at many tasks right out of the box, such as translation and summarizing , without requiring initial customization. The reason they are so good at these generic tasks is that the underlying foundation model has been trained on large yet generic datasets. However, this competence might not seamlessly extend to domain-specific tasks including, for example, providing answers about your company’s annual report. This is where Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) comes into the picture.
RAG is a framework for building LLM-powered systems that make use of external data sources. RAG gives an LLM access to data it would not have seen during pre-training, but that is necessary to correctly provide relevant and accurate responses. RAG enables language models like ChatGPT to provide better answers to domain-specific questions by combining their natural language processing (NLP) abilities with external knowledge, mitigating instances of generating inaccurate information or “hallucinations.” It does so by:
This approach makes LLMs more versatile and useful across various domains and applications, including question-answering, content creation and interactive conversation with access to real-time data. Podurama, a podcast app, has leveraged similar techniques to build its AI-powered recommender chatbots. These bots adeptly suggest relevant shows based on user queries, drawing insights from podcast transcripts to refine their recommendations.
This approach is also valuable in crisis management. PagerDuty, a SaaS incident response platform, uses LLMs to generate summaries of incidents using basic data such as title, severity or other factors, and augmenting it with internal Slack data , where responders discuss details and share troubleshooting updates to refine the quality of the summaries.
While RAG may appear intricate, the LangChain library offers developers the necessary tools to implement RAG and build sophisticated question-answering systems. (In many cases, you only need a single line of code to get started). LangChain is a powerful library that can augment and enhance the performance of the LLM at runtime by providing access to external data sources or connecting to existing APIs of other applications.
When combined with open-source LLMs (such as Llama 2 or BLOOM), RAG emerges as an exceptionally potent architecture for handling confidential documents. What’s particularly interesting is that LangChain boasts over 120 integrations (at the time of writing), enabling seamless functionality with structured data (SQL), unstructured content (PDFs), code snippets and even YouTube videos.
Much like utilizing external data sources, LLMs can establish connections with external applications tailored to specific tasks. This is particularly valuable when a model occasionally produces inaccuracies due to outdated information. For example, when questioning the present Prime Minister of the UK, ChatGPT might continue to refer to Boris Johnson, even though he left office in late 2022. This limitation arises because the model’s knowledge is fixed at its pretraining period and doesn’t encompass post-training events like Rishi Sunak’s appointment.
To address such challenges, LLMs can be enhanced by integrating them with the external world through agents. These agents serve to mitigate the absence of internet access inherent in LLMs, allowing them to engage with tools like a weather API (for real-time weather data) or SerpAPI (for web searches). A notable example is Expedia’s chatbot, which guides users in discovering and reserving hotels, responding to queries about accommodations, and delivering personalized travel suggestions.
Another captivating application involves the automatic labeling of tweets in real-time with specific attributes such as sentiment, aggression and language. From a marketing and advertising perspective, an agent connecting to e-commerce tools can help the LLM recommend products or packages based on user interests and content.
LLMs are commonly used in isolation for most applications. However, recently LLM chaining has gained traction for complex applications. It involves linking multiple LLMs in sequence to perform more complex tasks. Each LLM specializes in a specific aspect, and they collaborate to generate comprehensive and refined outputs.
This approach has been applied in language translation, where LLMs are used successively to convert text from one language to another. Companies like Microsoft have proposed LLM chaining for translation services in the case of low-resource languages, enabling more accurate and context-aware translations of rare words.
This approach can offer several valuable use cases in other domains as well. For consumer-facing companies, LLM chaining can create a dynamic customer support experience that can enhance customer interactions, service quality, and operational efficiency.
For instance, the first LLM can triage customer inquiries and categorize them, passing them on to specialized LLMs for more accurate responses. In manufacturing, LLM chaining can be employed to optimize the end-to-end supply chain processes by chaining specialized LLMs for demand forecasting, inventory management, supplier selection and risk assessment.
Prior to the emergence of LLMs, entity extraction relied on labor-intensive ML approaches involving data collection, labeling and complex model training. This process was cumbersome and resource-demanding. However, with LLMs, the paradigm has shifted. Now, entity extraction is simplified to a mere prompt, where users can effortlessly query the model to extract entities from text. More interestingly, when extracting entities from unstructured text like PDFs, you can even define a schema and attributes of interest within the prompt.
Potential examples include financial institutions which can utilize LLMs to extract crucial financial entities like company names, ticker symbols and financial figures from news articles, enabling timely and accurate market analysis. Similarly, it can be used by advertising/marketing agencies for managing their digital assets by employing LLM-driven entity extraction to categorize ad scripts, actors, locations and dates, facilitating efficient content indexing and asset reuse.
While receiving direct responses from LLMs is undoubtedly valuable, the opaqueness of the black box approach often raises hesitations among users. Additionally, when confronted with an inaccurate response for a complex query, pinpointing the exact step of failure becomes challenging. A systematic breakdown of the process could greatly assist in the debugging process. This is precisely where the Reason and Act (ReAct) framework comes into play, offering a solution to these challenges.
ReAct emphasizes on step by step reasoning to make the LLM generate solutions like a human would. The goal is to make the model think through tasks like humans do and explain its reasoning using language. One can easily operationalize this approach as generating ReAct prompts is a straightforward task involving human annotators expressing their thoughts in natural language alongside the corresponding actions they’ve executed. With only a handful of such instances, the model learns to generalize well for new tasks.
Taking inspiration from this framework, many ed-tech companies are piloting tools to offer learners personalized assistance with coursework and assignment and instructors AI-powered lesson plans. To this end, Khan Academy developed Khanmigo, a chatbot designed to guide students through math problems and coding exercises. Instead of merely delivering answers upon request, Khanmigo encourages thoughtful problem-solving by walking students through the reasoning process. This approach not only helps prevent plagiarism but also empowers students to grasp concepts independently.
While the debate may be ongoing about the potential for AI to replace humans in their roles or the eventual achievement of technological singularity (as predicted by the godfather of AI, Geoffrey Hinton), one thing remains certain: LLMs will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in expediting various tasks across a range of domains. They have the power to enhance efficiency, foster creativity and refine decision-making processes, all while simplifying complex tasks.
For professionals in various tech roles, such as data scientists, software developers and product owners, LLMs can offer valuable tools to streamline workflows, gather insights and unlock new possibilities.
Varshita Sher is a data scientist, a dedicated blogger and podcast curator, and leads the NLP and generative AI team at Haleon.
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Last winter, the unveiling of OpenAI’s alarmingly sophisticated chatbot sent educators into a tailspin. Generative AI, it was feared, would enable rampant cheating and plagiarism, and even make high school English obsolete. Universities debated updating plagiarism policies. Some school districts outright banned ChatGPT from their networks. Now, a new school year presents new challenges—and, for some, new opportunities.
Nearly a year into the generative AI hype, early alarm among educators has given way to pragmatism. Many students have clued into the technology’s tendency to “hallucinate,” or fabricate information. David Banks, the chancellor of New York City Public Schools, wrote that the district was now “determined to embrace” generative AI—despite having banned it from school networks last year. Many teachers are now focusing on assignments that require critical thinking, using AI to spark new conversations in the classroom, and becoming wary of tools that claim to be able to catch AI cheats.
Institutions and educators now also find themselves in the uneasy position of not just grappling with a technology that they didn’t ask for, but also reckoning with something that could radically reshape their jobs and the world in which their students will grow up.
Lisa Parry, a K–12 school principal and AP English Language and Composition teacher in rural Arlington, South Dakota, says she’s “cautiously embracing” generative AI this school year. She’s still worried about how ChatGPT, which is not blocked on school networks, might enable cheating. But she also points out that plagiarism has always been a concern for teachers, which is why, each year, she has her students write their first few assignments in class so she can get a sense of their abilities.
This year, Parry plans to have her English students use ChatGPT as “a search engine on steroids” to help brainstorm essay topics. “ChatGPT has great power to do good, and it has power to undermine what we’re trying to do here academically,” she says. “But I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
Parry’s thinking is in line with an idea that ChatGPT might do for writing and research what a calculator did for math: aid students in the most tedious portions of work, and allow them to achieve more. But educators are also grappling with the technology before anyone really understands which jobs or tasks it may automate—or before there’s consensus on how it might best be used. “We are taught different technologies as they emerge,” says Lalitha Vasudevan, a professor of technology and education at Teachers College at Columbia University. “But we actually have no idea how they’re going to play out.”
The race to weed out cheaters—generative AI or not—continues. Turnitin, the popular plagiarism checker, has developed an AI detection tool that highlights which portions of a piece of writing may have been generated by AI. Between April and July, Turnitin reviewed more than 65 million submissions, and found that 10.3 percent of those submissions contained AI writing in potentially more than 20 percent of their work, with about 3.3 percent of submissions being flagged as potentially 80 percent AI-generated. But such systems are not foolproof: Turnitin says there’s about a 4 percent false positive rate on its detector in determining whether a sentence was written by AI.
Because of those false positives, Turnitin also recommends educators have conversations with students rather than failing them or accusing them of cheating. “It’s just supposed to be information for the educator to decide what they want to do with it,” says Annie Chechitelli, Turnitin’s chief product officer. “It is not perfect.”
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SAN FRANCISCO, July 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Simplilearn, a global digital skills training provider, has teamed up with Google Cloud Learning to be able to reach over 5 million learners on the Simplilearn platform with the latest digital skills. This collaboration is designed to provide a high-quality upskilling experience to the learners with measurable outcomes, leveraging the best-in-class Google Cloud labs and content offerings. Simplilearn will integrate the guided labs and content into its programs (DevOps Engineer and Cloud Architect) in order to strengthen its learning paths to bolster its learners' digital upskilling experience.
The collaboration is a step forward in digital education and will enable learners to access a wide range of cutting-edge resources and training designed to meet the evolving needs of today's learners and professionals. This includes online courses, mentorship programs, and hands-on training, coupled with Google Cloud Labs, all tailored to address the most pressing skills gaps in the industry. Upon course completion, learners will be awarded a joint certificate from both Google Cloud and Simplilearn, which can be used to enhance career prospects and gain recognition in the marketplace.
Mr. Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO of Simplilearn, said of the collaboration with Google Cloud, "Simplilearn has always been committed to the mission of providing the best-in-class programs and content to our learners to change their lives. This collaboration with Google Cloud is another step towards our aim of bringing quality upskilling to learners in India and around the world. We will provide access to Google Cloud hands-on labs as a part of our existing upskilling programs. Through this initiative, our focus is to have 200,000 learners achieve the right skill set to create better opportunities for themselves in the industry."
"We are excited to launch our Google Cloud training content on the Simplilearn platform," said Lee Moore, Vice President, Google Cloud Consulting, "This collaboration presents a fantastic opportunity for learners around the world to access the training needed to pursue cloud computing careers and build generative AI skills on a global learning platform."
About Google Cloud Learning
Google Cloud Learning provides customized, accessible, and engaging learning content that allows individuals to get real-world, hands-on experience to ensure learners have the latest in-demand skills that can make the greatest impact.
Founded in 2010 and based in San Francisco, California, and Bangalore, India, Simplilearn, a Blackstone portfolio company, is the world's #1 online Bootcamp for digital economy skills training. Simplilearn offers access to world-class work-ready training to individuals and businesses around the world. The Bootcamps are designed and delivered with world-renowned universities, top corporations, and leading industry bodies via live online classes featuring top industry practitioners, sought-after trainers, and global leaders. From college students and early career professionals to managers, executives, small businesses, large corporations, and governments, Simplilearn's role-based, skill-focused, industry-recognized, and globally relevant training programs are ideal upskilling solutions for diverse career or/and business goals.
For more information, please visit www.simplilearn.com/
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In the aftermath of her death, friends, family and colleagues of Cornelia Vannessa Spinner continue to remember her as a pioneer in adult education who helped District adult learners strengthen their capacity for 21st-century employment and postsecondary education.
A decade ago, the beloved figure known to many as Connie Spinner launched Community College Preparatory Academy (CC Prep), the District’s first Southeast-based adult public charter school designed specifically for adult students who aged out of K-12 education without a high school diploma.
Since its inception, CC Prep has helped hundreds of adults acquire their high school diploma from its headquarters on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, and more recently Wheeler Road in Southeast, in preparation for the rigor of college and career. For some people, like Shannon V. Webster, the program’s success and longevity highlights Spinner’s passion for helping adult learners reacclimate to a classroom environment that might not have been the most welcoming to them during their childhood.
“It was Connie Spinner’s vision to establish an institution that served people from Wards 5, 7 and 8. It was [located] east of the Anacostia River and we were the first. Ten years later, we’re still here,” said Webster, CC Prep’s wellness manager and Spinner’s niece.
In her role, Webster established student support services that addressed adult learners’ socioemotional needs as they reengaged an academic environment. She said the arrangement reflected Spinner’s insistence that adult learners be able to own their unique experiences while obtaining a high school diploma and career and technical credentials.
“You’re not pouring into adult learners like children. You’re extracting from their experiences and making [education] relatable to their lives,” Webster said as she explained Spinner’s philosophy. “Adults have a sense of immediacy when responding to their needs. Adults bring their former learning identity with them and if it isn’t positive you have to work with that.”
On July 7, Spinner died at the age of 77. At the time of her death, CC Prep had been approaching the end of its 10th year as an institution where adult learners could further prepare for postsecondary opportunities.
At the time of its 10-year charter review, CC Prep had an enrollment of more than 600 students. Adult learners who enroll in the program embark on pathways to college and career, or certifications in healthcare, information technology, construction, Google analytics and administration.
Another important element involved student support services, through which students developed life plans and strengthened their connection to CC Prep. Spinner, known to introduce adult learners to new words while conversing with them, often extended her advocacy to the courtroom where she spoke on behalf of students.
Thomas Gore, CC Prep’s former student support services director, said that Spinner took steps to ensure that students had collective ownership of the school community and could learn comfortably and confidently.
“The adult learner should have a clean, safe and welcoming environment that produces the ability to learn, “ Gore said. “Connie Spinner created spaces that were immaculate and well-lit. People [in the building] are respectful of students. She created an atmosphere for adult learners and provided them with resources to be successful in achieving their outcomes.”
Spinner, a lifelong D.C. resident, was born on May 25, 1946. She lived in the Deanwood community as the oldest of eight children. Upon her graduation from the now-shuttered Spingarn High School in Northeast, Spinner attended what was then D.C. Teachers College on Georgia Avenue in Northwest.
There, she earned an education degree and became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Years later, Spinner went on to learn various languages and earn a master’s degree in educational leadership.
Early on in her teaching career, Spinner served as an English teacher at the Franklin School for Adult Education in Northwest. She also established the Frederick Douglass Early Childhood Learning Center on Stanton Road in Southeast. That project would count among many on which she served as a consultant in organizational development.
In 2013, Spinner opened CC Prep in 2405 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, right in the heart of the Anacostia community. This endeavor followed her years of service as director of the D.C. State Education Office under D.C. Mayor Anthony Willliams. At the University of the District of Columbia – Community College, Spinner served as dean in the Division of Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning.
Over the past few weeks, CC Prep students, alumni, staff members and community members have honored Spinner’s memory. The most latest function took place at the pavilion of Sycamore & Oak in Congress Heights in Southeast. During the two-hour program, CC Prep board member Monica Ray offered reflections, as did business magnate Phinis Jones, CC Prep executive director Dr. Wallace Henry III, writer Elijah Moses, CC Prep student success specialist Norm Nixon, and Alicia Harris, along with several other community members.
D.C. Council member Vincent C. Gray (D-Ward 7) also provided comments via his chief of staff Sheila Bunn.
“Connie dedicated her career to the pursuit of excellence in education; particularly adult education and lifelong learning. Countless people were uplifted and empowered by her commitment to delivering knowledge, skills and inspiration to students of all ages,” Gray’s statement read.
“Connie saw the need for, and therefore worked tirelessly to create the Community College Preparatory Academy, which has changed the lives of adult students for the past decade,” Gray continued. “Our beloved city and schools were made better by Connie.”
CC Prep counts among nine adult public charter schools in D.C. It, along with Academy of Hope PCS and Maya Angelou PCS – Young Adult Learning Center, are located east of the Anacostia River. Adult learners who attend CC Prep attend classes at their own pace and during one of three four-hour increments allotted.
Earlier this year, the D.C. Public Charter School Board (DCPCSB) voted to continue CC Prep’s charter.
CC Prep adopted DCPCSB’s Peformance Management Framework as its charter goals, which means that, in order to stay open, the school needed to score at least 50% in three out of four categories in the Adult Education Performance Management Framework. It also could not mismanage funds or be found in violation of the law or its charter.
To further support evaluation during the COVID-19 recovery period, DCPCSB also collected 2021-2022 school year transitional data, including adult basic education growth, attainment of career and technical education certification, attendance and persistence.
While at the helm of CC Prep, Spinner, along with her colleagues, developed close relationships with residents in the surrounding community. Prospective students, whose ages ranging from 18 to the 80s often walked into CC Prep after learning about it from those who stood along a strip of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue that was often saturated with police activity.
Another aspect of CC Prep’s progression as a premier adult public charter school, as explained by former CC Prep employee Monica Jones, was Spinner’s ability to articulate to DCPCSB the differences between adult public charter schools and conventional K-12 institutions.
Jones said that Spinner’s advocacy compelled DCPCSB to adopt the Adult Performance Management Framework for adult education public charter schools in 2018.
In 2013, Jones joined CC Prep as the director of operations. She served in that role until 2020 when she became CC Prep’s board liaison. Earlier this year, Jones once again became director of operations, a role she would serve until July 7.
As director of operations, Jones worked closely to ensure that CC Prep met benchmarks set by DCPCSB, reached its annual enrollment projections, and demonstrated fiscal sustainability. Even with slightly lower per-pupil funding allocated to CC Prep than what K-12 public charters received, CC Prep still fulfilled its mission due to what Jones described as Spinner’s insistence on heavily investing in student services, keeping a small administrative team, and surpassing yearly savings goals.
Jones said she and Spinner spent much of their time together. If they weren’t delving into finances and operations together, they traveled to other jurisdictions to check out other adult education programs, or crafted plans to ensure CC Prep’s longevity and that of other adult public charter schools.
“We did a lot of masterminding around a program that could be duplicated for any adult learner,” Jones said.
“What’s unique about any charter school, but specifically adult public charter schools, is that they supply residents the same level of education that’s given west of the Anacostia River,” she continued. “It’s where students feel like we care [because] they don’t feel acknowledged and cared for like [students would be] in Ward 2 and 4.”
Some people, like Deborah Wells, echoed those sentiments, telling The Informer that CC Prep served as a launching pad for a new life.
In 2015, Wells stepped into CC Prep at the age of 58. Though she had already obtained her GED, Wells recounted wanting to reacclimate herself to the classroom environment in preparation for community college.
While at CC Prep, Wells took in Spinner’s messages about resilience while re-learning algebra and sharpening her essay writing skills. She went on to earn her associate degree from UDC – Community College in 2019. In May, she earned her bachelor’s degree in English from UDC.
These days, Wells serves as an advisory neighborhood commissioner in single-member district 8E01, which includes portions of Southern Avenue in Southeast. She credits CC Prep with preparing her to effectively write and speak to people. Wells also gave credence to Spinner, whose vision allowed her to fulfill her long-term education goals.
“Ms. Spinner had a love for education,” Wells said. “I’m grateful that she had a vision for CC Prep and I was able to attend there. When I get down and low and ready to quit, Ms. Spinner’s words come to mind. I remember her for how she told us to be resilient. That gives me the strength to carry on.”
Staff members say that up until its move to the campus of KIPP Legacy Prep Academy on Wheeler Road in 2015, CC Prep staff members hadn’t reported any issues with members of the Anacostia community.
Dr. Wallace Henry III, CC Prep’s current CEO, credited this phenomenon to the ease with which Spinner connected with students.
Henry came into his role in the spring of 2022 after initially serving as CC Prep’s director of academics and training. Under Spinner’s direction, Henry attempted to strengthen CC Prep’s leadership structure and create situations where team members can collaborate. Henry said Spinner broke similar ground before the pandemic with leaders of other local adult public charter schools.
“I saw Connie Spinner’s impact with students and the tremendous amount of respect that each person had for her,” Henry said. “I’m glad that we got to celebrate here last year [while] going into our tenth year and doing several things to let her know her support and wisdom was appreciated.”
Based in London, Jake Redfield has been working as a video games designer since 2009. In addition, he has written articles for many computer based online and offline publications. Redfield holds a degree in computer game design from Newport University.