The Problem Meteor Learning is Addressing - Pervasive Talent Shortages & Skills Gaps
The world of higher education is being reshaped by adult learners seeking degrees that support their career progression, yet businesses consistently report that college graduates lack the competencies they need to be effective in their jobs - costing employers billions of dollars from productivity losses, lower retention rates, and increased costs of training.
Today’s workforce is particularly challenged with huge talent shortages and a mismatch of skills in the “Opportunity Jobs” category - positions with $57.5+ salaries. According to Indeed.com’s 2016 Labor Market Outlook, 71% of posted Opportunity Jobs are in categories where employer demand outstrips supply, in part driven by lack of appropriate skills.
While 74% of Opportunity Jobs require a 4-year degree or higher, a disproportionate share of cross-disciplinary competencies are required for Opportunity Jobs, including computer and electronics knowledge, complex problem solving, and social skills.
Employers Relying on Post-Secondary Institutions to Address Skills Gaps
Employers are increasingly relying on higher education institutions to address the huge skills gaps by delivering a highly skilled, job-ready workforce. Importantly, they expect post-secondary institutions to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees that fill their critical needs for T-shaped employees - those that have deep skills in a given area of expertise combined with the ability to think and apply expertise across topics.
Institutions’ Challenges in Meeting Employer Needs
For institutions, the pressure is high. They’ve got to deliver new learning models that demonstrate learning outcomes and align degree programs with employers’ requirements. Faced with time, resource, and capital constraints, institutions are often challenged to address the adult learner needs while serving the needs of their traditional students.
Meteor Learning Enables Post-Secondary Institutions to Deliver Workforce-Aligned Degrees
Meteor Learning is addressing the workforce skills gaps by enabling post-secondary institutions to deliver high-quality, workforce aligned degrees for working professionals that seek degrees to support their career progression.
Meteor Learning presents a compelling solution that generates an unprecedented return for post-secondary institutions, employers and working professionals - driving enrollments for institutions with differentiated workforce aligned degrees, closing skills gaps for employers, and supporting career progression for working professionals.
William Rieders, Chief Executive Officer
William leads the company as it develops and delivers student-centered educational experiences that drive life changing career opportunities for adult learners. In his role, William guides the strategic direction of the company and focuses on how to deliver value to Meteor Learning’s expanding group of partners as well building a culture of innovation at Meteor Learning.
He joined the company in 2014 as Chief Operating Officer and took on the CEO role in 2017. William is a proven, innovative, and visionary leader with in-depth experience in education, technology, data and analytics, and services. William joined Meteor Learning from Cengage Learning, where he was an Executive Vice President responsible for numerous strategic and operating roles. Included in his many accomplishments at Cengage is the successful development and launch of MindTap, and conceiving and leading Cengage Brain, a first-of-its-kind direct-to-consumer educational channel, and successfully operating numerous New Media businesses.
William was a Partner of The Parthenon Group, a leading global strategy consulting firm. While at Parthenon, he advised numerous clients across industries, including private equity, information publishing, and education. He was advisor to some of the most successful education players in the market. William’s work at Parthenon focused on corporate strategy, profit improvement, growth and innovation, and mergers and acquisitions.
William has been on several Boards including IMS Global Learning, CourseSmart, and Nelson Education. Mr. Rieders holds a BA from Connecticut College, and an MBA/MSIA from Carnegie Mellon University.
Donna Ritchie, Chief Operating Officer
Donna has raised the bar for what it means to put the student first. Focused on operational excellence, Donna leads a team that develops new program strategy and implements Meteor Learning’s partner programs. Donna also leads the technical strategy for the company.
Donna joined Meteor Learning in 2014 as the Chief Services Officer; and was named Chief Operating Officer in 2017. Prior to Meteor Learning, Donna served a variety of K-12 and higher education curriculum and technology companies through her market research firm, K-20Research. Before launching that venture, Donna was the Vice President of Financial Operations for Global Product Development and Publishing Operations at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt where she managed all K-12 product and platform investments and drove financial operations and strategy for the technology and content development teams worldwide.
Before working in education directly, Donna was a Principal at The Parthenon Group, a global strategy consulting firm, where she managed client engagements for a range of education and technology companies from startups to mature businesses. Donna holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania in Economics and Japanese where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and an MBA with Honors from Harvard Business School.
Chief Technology Officer / Chief Compliance Officer
Prakash is a seasoned technology innovator, with extensive experience across a variety of industries. Prakash has a proven track record of transforming ideas into technology-driven services. Prakash possesses a deep understanding of web and mobile technologies, system architectures, user experience design, enterprise integration, data security, agile processes and tools, SaaS, and DevOps.
At Meteor, Prakash is responsible for all aspects of technology, security and compliance. In this role, Prakash is chiefly responsible for on-going maintenance and innovation of Meteor’s platform, as well as all aspects of integration with our enterprise customers. His scope spans the entire student lifecycle from recruiting and enrollment, through employment.
Prakash also leads the cybersecurity and compliance for Meteor. In this role, he is responsible for establishing and managing the cybersecurity and regulatory compliance standards and procedures for the company, employees and vendors as well as ensuring an integrated approach with Meteor’s customers.
Prior to Meteor Learning, Prakash led the product engineering team at cutting edge data analytics startup, Alpine Data Labs (acquired by Tibco Software) in San Francisco.
In addition, Prakash has been a founding member of the energy analytics startup, Firstfuel Software. At Firstfuel he held leadership roles in product engineering and product management organizations. Prakash has played technical leadership roles at a mobile startup, Quattro Wireless (acquired by Apple), a software configuration management company, mValent Inc. (acquired by Oracle) and Fidelity Investments.
In his early career, Prakash worked as a research engineer and manager at world renowned AT&T Bell Laboratories.
Prakash hold a Bachelor degree in Engineering from Sardar Patel University (India) and a Masters degree in Computer Science from Illinois Institute of Technology. Prakash is also a certified AWS Professional Architect.
Sonja Visser, Vice President - Partnership
Sonja is passionate about education and helping adult learners excel. At Meteor Learning she leads the development of our employer ecosystem, where her team partners with employers to close critical skills gaps.
Sonja is an Ed Tech veteran, having developed, built and scaled sales teams (including Aplia, Cengage Learning, DigiExam, and Real Time Cases). In this capacity, Sonja has focused applying her talents on next generation opportunities aimed at serving learners, institutions, and employers in new and differentiated ways. For example, at Aplia, a business founded by Nobel Prize winner Paul Romer, Sonja developed new ways to sell an entirely new and innovation digital solution to faculty and students.
Interestingly, Sonja began her career in the cable industry working for CMT, TNN and Lifetime Television. These experiences honed Sonja’s employer skills, especially in an industry undergoing fundamental changes. Sonja holds a BA from the University of Mary Washington with a degree in Political Science and is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society.
August 29, 2018 - Help Employers Navigate Higher Ed Transcripts
September 22, 2017 - Transforming Healthcare
February 11, 2017 - New Director Hired to Lead Merrimack College's Online Master's Programs
August 11, 2016 - New Groundbreaking Online M.Ed. Exceeding Student Expectations
April 08, 2016 - Educate Online Announces New Name - Meteor Learning