Axis U aims to help Iowans with job training, finding employment
The following article was originally published by the Cedar Rapids Gazette on August 11, 2021.
Axis U is hoping to be a game changer when it comes to job placement, especially for those candidates who don’t have a college education.
CEO and founder Christian Gray learned about apprenticeship programs by working on the education committee at the Iowa House of Representatives in 2017.
“That’s where I got my knowledge and understanding of the apprenticeship system,” Gray said. “What are the pros and what are the cons of that system.”
Axis U can help connect job seekers with the resources and contacts for a job in manufacturing or health care, providing training and day-in-the-life videos or through meeting with employers and receiving on-site training.
Axis U was established in April 2020, when many office workers first were switching to working online.
Gray noted the annual rising cost of college is a large factor that discourages many people from enrolling, forcing them to settle for a job they may not want.
Through Axis U, those seeking a job that requires more skill can receive the training necessary to do so.
“We offer our related technical instruction all online and then when our individual is on the job, we have on-the-job training and exercises to allow them to demonstrate their skills or what they’ve learned,” Gray said.
Axis U is “trying to democratize the cost of education but really eliminate it for the job seeker, which will allow a larger portion of our population to participate in the workforce.”
Employers “pay a monthly subscription for us to provide recruitment and online training for their employees,” Gray said.
The application is online for job seekers and employers to go through the process of seeking a job or potential employees.
They can take “feeler” courses to get a better sense to which profession or field they might want to apply, then they work with the employer to complete their training, he said.
Gray believes in this model because of his own experience in receiving a non-traditional education. After dropping out of college after his sophomore year, he started a business in St. Louis that eventually failed.
After interning with the education committee in the Iowa House of Representatives and working for Jobs for Americas Graduates in Washington, D.C., Gray saw a need for a system such as the one he created.
“It was a very non-traditional education for me and I think that kind of reinforces what we’re trying to do,” Gray said. “How do we make non-traditional, not necessarily the norm, but a very viable alternative because right now there is no alternative?”
Gray will be speaking about starting Axis U on Wednesday, Aug. 18, as part of the 1 Million Cups Founders Fireside series. The Gazette is a media sponsor of the event.