Compass UOL's Alexis Rockenbach is Training the Next Batch of Tech Leaders – Yahoo Finance

The company’s academy has granted more than 2,600 scholarships in more than 100 partner universities across Brazil, Rockenbach told Verb.Company. With the program’s recent expansion to more countries, the journey is just getting started.
NEW YORK, Oct. 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Alexis Rockenbach, co-founder and CEO of Compass UOL, told Verb.Company he has a plan to avoid the next big crash by training young people to think about the future. He has already hired the first 5,000 and he is now expanding the scholarship program of his company’s academy to other countries.
Alexis Rockenbach, of Compass UOL, allocates at least 50 percent of academy openings to women and minorities.
They’ve come a long way. When Rockenbach started his digital consultancy, he and his co-founders took five years to draw their first salary to give the business runway. To pay the bills, he started teaching computer science at a local university while landing their first customers.
At one point he realized that his corporate customers needed something that his students had: passion about the future. And that’s why he set up Compass Academy, to plug the talent gap in the information technology industry.
Against so many odds—financial and political instability in his home country of Brazil, yet a vast powerhouse of potential—Rockenbach’s vision paid off. The internal academy he created to put the idea into practice now provides 70 percent of new hires to the company, helping them grow to 5,000 employees by partnering with 100 universities in six countries.
It’s a major feat when you consider the cutthroat competition for technology hires worldwide. In the U.S. alone, technology association CompTIA says the industry had 3.6 million job postings in 2022 and already pays 125% of the national average salary.
Here is what sets Compass, a digital transformation company, apart from competitors. Most companies are fighting to recruit the best talent, which leads to a more competitive environment and high attrition rates. Compass has opted for a different approach.
CompTIA also estimates that for each industry job there are 4.8 additional tech jobs in other industries like manufacturing, retail, and services. Clearly companies are poaching tech talent from each other. “Instead of getting hires willing to take a risk, companies are hiring people with everything to lose,” Rockenbach said.
Societies worldwide are then left discussing the legs of metaverse avatars or the annoyance of shifting charging cables while speculative tech bets plummet. Rockenbach explained that “to succeed with technology, companies need not just crazy new ideas but crazy new people to implement them.”
To nurture a diverse talent pool, Rockenbach dedicates at least 50 percent of academy openings to women and people of minorities. Candidates then join a paid training program in one of forty tracks like ecommerce, mobile apps, blockchain, and others.
The 60 percent of graduates who follow their passion by joining Rockenbach’s company are more than enough to give them an edge. For example, they created a program with customer Natura & Co., owner of The Body Shop and other beauty brands, and the University of Amazonia, to use technology for rainforest sustainability.
Rockenbach doesn’t see the academy graduates who decide for other companies as a loss. “We are recreating the bridge between business and academia that made Silicon Valley, at the scale of an industry that now spans the globe. It’s the work of a lifetime and I’m grateful every day that I get to do it,” he told Verb.Company.
How it started
With more than 2,600 scholarships granted in over 180 editions and over 100 partner universities across Brazil, and more recently Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, Compass Academy is on a successful and sustainable journey that is just getting started.
Officially launched in 2013, Rockenbach’s concept of Compass Academy dates to the early days when he cofounded the company in 1996. Armed with a degree in Computer Science, he took on much larger rivals in Brazil and the U.S.
At the time he juggled his work as a startup businessman with his job as a professor at the University of Passo Fundo, his alma mater and where he first imagined the ideas he brought to fruition a decade later.
It was then, too, he started recruiting among the most promising students. Many continue to be a part of the company more than 25 years later, holding leadership and management positions, such as Fernando Marcondes, a former student and now the director of Compass Academy.
For over a decade now, the academy has committed itself to a strategic effort to build a consistent and sustainable network of knowledge development. It leads several initiatives that integrate the greatest technology companies in the world and a wide range of partner universities.
These partnerships offer the academy a much stronger capacity to stay ahead of the curve in the delivery of knowledge on cutting-edge technologies. It enables them to provide disruptive digital innovation to the market, with the transformation it brings to society at large.
Through the partnership with Natura & Co and the University of Amazonia, Compass has been offering scholarships and job opportunities in the technology field in the Amazon region, integrating global corporations and local educational institutions to prepare professionals for the market with a focus on sustainability.
Sustainable economy, collective growth
It is not a stretch to say that each region in Brazil represents a country within a country, which makes for very rich if unequal contrasts.
In recognition of that, since 2020 the company has strengthened its policy to reflect the country’s demographics and diversity inside the program and company, with an ongoing commitment to gender, ethnicity, and wage equality.
In each edition of the academy scholarship program, 50 percent of openings are saved for women, and an additional variable percentage to non-whites, set according to the official figures of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, or IBGE.
In Rockenbach’s view, people and creativity are the company’s main assets, and their development means collective growth. That’s why his company fosters local development, creating learning and working opportunities, and stimulating knowledge exchange and continuous growth, thus developing a sustainable culture and economy.
Into the future
In 2022, Rockenbach led the expansion of the Scholarship Program. The Compass Academy team created a Latin American edition, with the goal of diversifying even more its cultural and talent pool with people from elsewhere.
With the support of a group of higher education institutions with presence in countries like Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Chile, and Mexico, Compass launched its first regional edition, enrolling 189 students.
And Rockenbach has now ensured not only the continuity but the exponential growth of this project. In partnership with AWS, he has already secured support for 2023, with 1,000 scholarships to be funded by AWS in addition to another 2,000 already confirmed by Compass, signaling for the following years even greater records and transformed lives.
“I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, because I’ve always believed that our market is filled with opportunities,” Rockenbach said, “I’ve always believed that we could find excellent talent outside these large urban areas and people who wanted to stay in their city of origin.” His company, he added, “created opportunities in these regions so that people could have the chance to work with cutting-edge technologies, earn good wages, and develop their careers on another level, generating decentralized wealth.”
SOURCE Verb.Company; Compass UOL
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