Founded in 2020, the Takeoff Institute is on a mission to provide resources, mentorship, and financial literacy for Black undergraduates to equip future leaders of America. Its core program, the Takeoff Fellowship, is an eight-week summer bootcamp for 50 Black undergraduate students. The goal of the fellowship is to prepare these students for a successful career journey by providing them with one-on-one mentorship and support in career exploration, financial literacy, time management, networking, and more. To date Takeoff has graduated 100 students, many of whom have gone on to roles at Apple, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Tesla, and other big-name businesses.
The fellowship program only reaches 50 students per summer and there are 1.1M Black undergrads attending college/university each year. Takeoff plans to launch a free online repository called The Vault, with resources covering career exploration, financial literacy, personal brand development, and more. It will be the largest resource repository for Black students with easy access to information in one place. Takeoff’s goal is to have every Black student use the platform at some point in their academic journey and return as they build skills and a career, to attest that they developed skills that mattered greatly in the world.
Takeoff requested ACT’s help to understand the landscape and outline foundational elements to launch what they originally were thinking of as The Vault and evolved to be Takeoff University. This project might be followed by a business plan and/or marketing communications plan.
The team researched other resource repositories that could serve as good examples, gathered feedback from students and other relevant community members to shape what impactful resources need to be included in the repository, analyzed the costs and operating needs to set up the repository, and provided marketing and communication recommendations.
Based on interviews and surveys with key stakeholders, there are three key components to a successful Takeoff University:
- Self-paced skills training (How-To videos and readings)
- Live events, in-person or online, with keynote speakers
- Community-building infrastructure such as pods or local geographic meetups
The team provided specific suggestions in each of these areas.
There is a strong need for the support Takeoff is offering. By partnering with other organizations attempting to serve the same community they may be able to expand their impact.
Final Report Outline
- Review of Project Plan
- Focus Group learnings
- Comparable Organizations
- Next Steps