Are you looking to launch an exciting career without a mountain of debt? A paid apprenticeship could be perfect for you, and in this interview with Isaac Morehouse, you’ll learn how you can find incredible opportunities at amazing companies.
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Good afternoon. This is Allison Dunn. I am your executive business coach and owner at Deliberate Directions. Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Isaac Morehouse. Isaac is the CEO of Crash, the career launch platform and the founder of praxis a startup apprenticeship program. Isaac is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. I am a New Hampshire girl Live Free or Die. So I love that. When he is not with his wife and kids are building his company he can be found smoking cigars, playing guitars, reading, writing, getting angry watching sports teams from his home state of Michigan and enjoying the beach. Thank you for writing that great intro. That was kind of fun to read. So your accar and guitar guy Yes.
Absolutely. If I get some time to relax.
Fantastic. Well, I just want to also quickly highlight as far as I can tell, at this point, you have authored eight books, is that correct?
Authored or co authored? Yeah, I don’t get all the credit.
Fair enough. So I’m going to hope I’m hoping we can dive into the some of the details that you’ve co authored or authored in those. So you are the founder of a couple of organizations. And I guess the first one I asked you about is tell us a little bit about Praxis.
Yeah, Praxis is an apprenticeship program that we’ve created about well, it’s been almost six years since we first got Praxis going. And the idea was, for young people who want to start their careers, you know, going and sitting in a classroom for four or five, six years, doesn’t really get you much closer to knowing the things you need to know to get that first job. It gives you this piece of paper, but you really don’t come in with very many skills and increasingly now No one is hiring you based on that piece of paper. And so I had worked with all these college students and seeing them graduate and seeing them struggle to find work or to put their skills to use. And business owners are always telling me, Hey, I’m always looking to hire good people. But you know, nobody has the right skills. And so I thought, what if we could create something that was in the shortest amount of time possible, actually delivering the skills that are relevant for professional careers and the idea of apprenticeship is very old, but somehow it’s kind of been relegated the only the only industries that still use that model are either the skilled trades, you know, plumbing, electrical, etc. or things like medicine, for example, which has a lot of schooling you have to do first, but then you do the apprenticeship, and anyone will tell you, it’s that apprenticeship component where you really learn it’s the on the job learning. And so, we put together this program where it had there’s a six month professional boot camp, which is all done remotely. It’s all done online, which is really just to get people the basic thing is that you need to function in professional roles. And the roles we’re mostly dealing with are at growing companies. They tend to be tech startups, but their non technical roles like sales, marketing, customer success, basic skills, like you know how to use basic software tools that are used in the workplace and you know, calendar scheduling and the mindsets of delivering value to customers. And then the second six months of the program, we place people with startups and they are apprenticing full time in those roles. And at the end of the program, 95% of our grads are getting hired full time.
What a neat model. Did you go about it to design it for those who are going to be the apprentice, or did you go about it designing it for those who needed? Or I mean, like where did it start?
Yeah, no, that is such a good question. And I we design it from day one, for the job seeker for the young person trying To start their career, and that’s been a big distinguishing factor, because I think a lot of the things out there, especially in the, you know, find a job sort of arena, whether it’s jobs boards or services, trying to, you know, help people prepare their resumes and things like that. They tend to start with the needs of the companies and say, Okay, what do companies need? How can we kind of get people to look like that? And that’s not a bad business. But we felt like there’s this huge void. There’s hardly anyone asking, what are the young people who are entering the market need, and really, before they can, can jump through all these hoops that companies want, they need to know what they’re looking for, and have a bit of a discovery process to even identify roles that are interesting to them. If you’re 19 2022 and you go scan a jobs board, most of those roles don’t mean anything, you know, business development representative, what does that mean? So trying to have more of a process of helping people say hey, give me You’re interested in this and your skill at this, you might want to look at this and look at this. And if you want that kind of role, here are some skills you’re going to have to show and some things you’re going to have to do to get it. And here, why don’t you take a chance take a six month apprenticeship, they’re treated experimentally. So it was definitely geared towards first and foremost, the pain point felt by young people who are looking to start their career and then as a secondary effect, it increases that, you know, the quality of talent that companies are able to get
Interesting. So you’ve created kind of this six month, two semester type bootcamp program, where half the time they’re in learning mode, and then there are they inside an organization for the entire 12 months.
Yes, so the first six months they’re not there, they can be anywhere and they’re engaging in everything online and they’re kind of building up a profile of skills. And then the second six months, they are living and working wherever their business partner is located, where we find them and apprenticeship and they kind of go through a process of interviewing with seven different several different businesses and sort of to pitch themselves and sell themselves until they get, you know, one or more offers, from companies in our network to apprentice with them. And so, you know, you either have to find a company, you know, in where you already live, or as is usually the case, you’re moving somewhere across the country for that six months and you’re living and working right there on site at the at the company.
So you’re working with apprentice is there? Is there a print I print I who are anywhere? Isn’t he? What’s, what’s the proper term for that?
Yeah, apprentices. Okay.
Yeah. That’s great. So, who, who right now is applying? And are you? Are you finding that it’s equally of interest to go through this type of boot camp, even if you’ve already been to college?
Yeah, that’s a good, that’s a great question as well. So I would say our application pool it kind of splits roughly into three segments and they’re more or less equal segments. So a third of it People are coming right out of high school and they already know, I don’t want to do college. I think that sounds like a lot of time and money that I don’t need to spend. And I want to jump into my career now. And then a third of them are in the kind of, I’ve done a little bit of college, I’m not sure this is really helping me that much. I’m kind of undecided. Maybe I’ll take a year break or a gap year or maybe I’m going to just stop going to college altogether, and see if I can get something going with a different approach. And then a third of them are college graduates who are Hey, I’ve gotten a degree but that doesn’t by itself first I don’t really know where to put it. If it’s like a degree in something like business or some kind of Liberal Arts, it doesn’t really give you a ton of direction and you don’t really know what skills you know you have or can can apply to different jobs. And so that’s you know, a good third of our of our participants are coming out of college and still need to figure out a way to get started in their career. Okay,
Fantastic. From so from the standpoint and forgive me if I’m asking this in a way in an element that you don’t handle, so are you working to help hire for organizations?
Yeah, so it’s not so much, you know, typically it’s not like a company will come to us and say, Hey, I need this many people in this role and we go and find him. It’s usually the other way around. And this is kind of what we’re trying to do is flip the, the career process on its head, and make it more individual centric, versus company centric. So what we do is we find people who are hungry and eager and willing to launch their career and they’ve got kind of the right raw attributes and you don’t need a lot of skills or experience ahead of time, but you got to have the drive and work ethic and be committed, almost like a fitness trainer, you know, would want you to be committed to the process, even if you come in and you’re not, you know, really fit to start with and so we help those seekers, figure out what they’re best at how to do some projects and learning that, you know, best showcase those skills. And then we go out to companies and we have a lot of them in our network that we’re always you know, that are have worked with us before and are interested in more and new companies that we’re always going out and getting and saying, hey, given that you’re looking for this, take a look at this person. And we try to show them something that is too good to ignore. You know, we have participants put together projects and pitches for them. Because they know if they’ve been, you know, in contact with practices, they know that we’re going to be sending them some people to take a look at. But it’s really us, pushing people that we think are a good fit to the right opportunities. It’s more of that then companies coming to us and saying, here’s what I need, and then us going out and trying to find it.
Interesting. So from the standpoint of your people who are going through the bootcamp, how many do they go through as a cluster or cohort or is it synergistic in that way collaborative?
Yeah, they launch in monthly cohorts. So every month there’s you know, 10-15, you know, just depends on the month new partners. Been starting. And they’re going through kind of these monthly modules to sort of build their skills and their profile and then to get into that apprenticeship, and they’ve got one on one coaching sessions twice a month with practice advisors, they have a weekly skills workshop. You know, some of those are just for their cohort. Some of them are broader where, you know, practice participants and alumni from all various ranges will come together. And they’re continuing to get that kind of ongoing support as they go through. But it’s they have that that group of peers, that cohort that they’re with each month, tends to be very tight. And then you know, people in other cohorts and even alumni from years past are also heavily engaged in the community, which is pretty cool to see how they kind of help and support each other.
From the standpoint is the organization co sponsoring the apprenticeship?
Yeah, so the way it works is you know, once we place you in the apprenticeship, you are getting paid as an employee of the company, a minimum of $15 an hour. So that during that six months, you know, you’re earning about $14-$15,000. But you are still a participant in the program. And so how that works is, you know, we don’t want to make this like fake work like an internship where you’re just sitting around getting coffee. So you’re a real employee and doing a real role. And you’re responsible to your, you know, the person that you report to your boss there. But we also are in contact with that with your supervisor on a regular basis, getting feedback from them on how it’s going, and then we’re getting feedback from you on how it’s going. And so we’re able to kind of be a voice outside of the company, especially if it’s your first professional role for people to say, Hey, I’m really struggling with this, right? I don’t know Dan, this thing about workplace culture, and it provides support there. And then vice versa for the company. If they’re like, hey, this person is just really struggling with this thing. We have the ability to help work with them. help them improve in those areas in a way that sometimes you just may not have the resources for on staff within the company. So it’s kind of a partnership or you’re an employee there, but you still have this sort of ongoing six months of training and support throughout that time.
Okay, fantastic. Do. So do you have a Do you have a team of people around you? Are you working with these candidates one on one?
So we have a team, there’s about 12, full time team members for practice. And then we have a network of advisers that contract with us. And these are people that are usually kind of mid career not early career, but not super senior that are, hey, I was in your shoes 235 years ago, and they love working with us just on the side in addition to their full time role. So these are sort of working professionals, and they’re there. They have kind of a group of participants that they’re mentoring and they have one on one sessions with them and that makes it really cool because it goes beyond just practice employees and they get to kind of Have that mentorship with somebody again, who’s more advanced than they are, but not so far beyond that it’s hard to relate. And that network of advisors is a really a really strong part of the program.
That’s fantastic. So, did you just finish your newest book Crush Your Career?
Yes. came out just a few months ago, and it’s a very slim little boat. We call it a pocket book so that nobody quarters, it’s gonna be a book. It’s very thin. But it’s absolutely it’s kind of a new spin on the way that people approach getting their career started.
So who did you write, Crush Your Career for?
Yeah, so we kind of realize through the years working with people in practice, which is an incredibly intense, very selective, very kind of elite program. And again, the criteria is more that you’re, you’re able and willing to put in the work for that year, that very intense long year and if you do, it pays dividends. It’s out In amazing, incredibly successful program, but we found working with that, you know, we get thousands of people that apply. And we can only work with so many of them, that there’s some bigger, broader trends. And we often found that things that we were blogging about or things we were telling people who were applying to practice who didn’t end up doing it for whatever reason, that there’s a lot of value in just sort of giving away Hey, look, if you were to do it on your own, here’s the playbook. Here’s what you should do, right? Because we’re not interested in being some kind of, you know, we only tell you the secrets if you get into the program, and then again, I think the fitness analogy is really is really similar, right? Like, if you can work with a top fitness trainer, and you’re committed and you know that if they’ll work with you, you’re going to get results, by all means go for that but not everybody is in a position where they can do that. So the next best thing is to say maybe that fitness trainer is blogging or making YouTube videos telling you how they do what they do, and you can try to do it your own, you know, DIY at home. And so, the idea and this is what the new company crashed is all about in this book sort of kicks it off is what are the most basic things that we have learned working with practice participants that we can go tell to the broader world and say, Look, if you want to launch your career, even if you can’t do something like practice, you can still make this happen. And so it’s for anyone who’s really trying to get started and find their first professional job, whether they’re coming out of college or high school or grad school, whether they’ve been working for a few years at a coffee shop, or someplace that they don’t see as a real career, but it’s just kind of where they are now. And you’re ready to start on a job that’s kind of a stepping stone to a career, and you’re really not sure where to start, how to get started, how to compete with hundreds and thousands of people that apply for every job, how you know, you’re just tweaking your resume and sending it out and applying over and over and nothing is happening. There is a better way to go about that process. And this book is kind of for the people who are looking for that
You’ve led right into my next question. So when you’re One out of 100 applicants going after a job. What do you teach them? You know, like, what do you what do you teach them to get noticed?
Yeah, absolutely. So the first thing is to sort of step back and say, let’s, let’s not take for granted all the existing apparatus, this kind of idea of you sort of sit through the education process and get your various certifications and degrees and you add bullet points to your resume. And now your resume is ready and complete and you make sure it’s formatted. And then you go on to jobs boards, and you submit it to all these different applications. And it’s just a numbers game and you wait for somebody to call you back and it’s so painful.
And it’s so painful and we say scrap that whole thing. The average person is just looking up some of this data the average person applies to 150 jobs before they get an offer. Most jobs are not filled. 70 to 80% of jobs are not filled with people who Come through the application anyway, it’s usually word of mouth referrals or some side door so to speak. You know, people spend, it takes people, on average 92 days, I think it is to have job hunting to get that that interview or that first offer. You know, the average job gets 250 resumes for the one person that gets the job. So, when you hear some of this stuff, it’s like, Man, this, this is not really an exciting way to go about it. And so we say, Okay, let’s start from the beginning. First, identify just a couple roles that are probably going to be a good fit for you, or at least won’t be a bad fit. Because it’s a lot of pressure when you’re young to figure out, you know, what’s my calling? How do I put that into a job title? What are these job titles even mean? So we kind of try to put things in a larger buckets and say, Okay, well look, if you know, if you know that you hate working with data and you’re not that kind of a person, then you don’t want to do things like that, but if it’s not something that you know, you’re gonna hate, then it’s probably fair game. So there’s probably a lot of things you could look at, you could look at roles, like some of the things we specialize in the practice, like customer success, or sales or marketing, kind of entry level roles that are a good starting point. And you’re really looking in that first opportunity to find something that you don’t hate and that you can learn from and that has a potential to be a stepping stone to something different doesn’t mean you’re going to do it for the rest of your life. So kind of relieve that pressure. And then once you’ve identified something that’s kind of interesting to you figure out a few of the broadest skills and software tools that are useful in that role. So let’s say it’s an entry level sales role, where you’re going to be going out and trying to find a lot of whether individuals or businesses that could be a good customers for a company. So you’re going to use a lot of tools like LinkedIn to research people, you’re going to use various email tools to know you know, Excel spreadsheets, probably to track lists of people and kind of get familiar with some of the basic tools some of the basic skills necessary. They’re good communication skills, good research skills, persistence, competitiveness, optimism, right? Those are some things that are going to be key in a role like that. And then you find a way to demonstrate that you have those skills that goes beyond a resume, because just listing on a resume, like good communication. Well, what does that mean? You know, even just listening BA in marketing, what does that mean? If you can show me something, hey, I have a YouTube channel five videos. They’re all two minutes long. And each of them is me walking through, you know how to write a good email or whatever. Even if it’s not that good. The fact that you took the time to do that you sort of we say, learn out loud, that you showed what you’re learning or, hey, I’m reading through this book called, how to sell or how to win friends and influence people. And I’m going to write a quick summary of every chapter and what I learned and post it to my blog. That’s a very interesting piece of work that showcases a lot of things about you. Oh, interesting. This is someone who’s learning. They’re having They can write well, they’re thinking about how to apply these things. Those are really rare traits. And if you did something that simple, it would stand out. So find some ways to show those skills. And then pick a handful of companies that you are interested in, research a little bit about them, and send them something a tailored pitch, send something to them directly and see if you can find anyone that you know or that you’re connected to that works there. But if not even a cold email, and you are going to have better results if you send five tailored pitches than if you blast out 50 or 100 resumes. If you send an email directly to someone that says, hey, I love your company.
I see you’re hiring for this role. I’m really interested. Here’s a few things that I’ve created. By the way, I made this PDF for you that describes what I think you know your customers love about your product. Let me know if we can talk. Doing something like that. It makes somebody it makes it really hard for somebody to say no to you are going to be I mean like wow, okay, well, this person took the time to make this for me. I guess I should at least give them interview. And we use the dating analogy a lot. Like if you’re trying to get a date with someone, you don’t walk up and hand them a list of bullets and say, these are the 10 reasons I’m highly dateable. Give me a call. Instead, you walk up and you say, Wow, you are interesting to me, tell me about you. I’m very interested in you. I like these qualities about you. I would love to get to know you more, right? You talk about them. And companies are the same. People tend to approach it and say, here are the things that make me a good candidate, please hire me. And that doesn’t come across like it’s very generic. It feels like you’re blasting this to everybody, because most people are versus if you come and say, Wow, Isaac, I heard you on this podcast interview. I’m really interested in your company, I took the time to look at your website and learn these things about it. And I made this for you. I would love to talk more. Now I’m going to have a really hard time not at least giving that person a chance. And so just seeing the process in that way. That’s kind of the basic formula that’s outlined in this book and that we’re trying to help people with.
That’s awesome. I have to admit I think every position I’ve ever gotten has been through a tailored pitch of some way. I’ve never actually sent my resume anywhere. And my resume is really bad. Actually. I had to, I had to say I went to find mine, I can’t remember. It’s been probably 15 years since I ever like updated one or used it. And I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a job from submitting a resume. It’s always been, somebody told me Hey, this job is really you know, I know somebody they’re looking you might be a good fit. And then I asked them, tell me more about I t. What do they want to see? And then I try to pitch them something.
So the statistic is 3.6 million students will be graduating this month from high school. So what would you suggest that they do coming into the workforce?
Yeah, I think the first thing is try to get out into the world and get some experiences of any kind, some professional experiences because that’s the way you’re going to start to learn where you’re interested in building Cities intersect with opportunities in the market. It’s really hard to sit in a classroom or look through a classical course catalog and try to decide, oh, what are going to be some good professional opportunities, whether you’re going to go to college or not to have an idea of where you might want to look for your first steps. And again, this isn’t talking about what you’re going to do in 20 years that probably doesn’t exist yet. It’s really what is your first sort of career step what might be a good place to start? And the best way is to go and try things. It’s amazing to me and frankly, kind of tragic how many people I meet who might do something very, very high in high cost, like say law school, and they go, they go to college, they go to law school, and they come out. And with law school in particular, you’re going to have like a quarter million dollars in debt most of the time, and they start working that first law job, and only then do they realize it and they’re like, oh, maybe this was a mistake, but now there’s no other way to pay back. That debt. And so if you could say before you make all those steps, go spend go volunteer at a law firm for the intern to job shadow to apprentice for a summer for a year. And then you can find out, oh, I actually don’t like this, well, what might I like, now try something else and to, to sort of get some of that experience. So you have context for these things. And so that you also know what is valued on the market, because it’s very different from what’s valued in the schooling system. And that’s the sooner you can realize that the better otherwise, if you come out and you’re like, I got my shiny degree, I got good grades. What nobody wants to pay me for that. It can be very hard. And it’s just it’s a lot of disillusionment. So get as much experience in the market you can and today that’s really easy. And you can even go on like a like a freelancing website, Fiverr, whatever, and say, Oh, I think I like designing graphics for people. Let me just post and say I’m willing to do this for 50 bucks and let’s see, maybe nobody responds. Let me test out some different things. Maybe somebody does respond, and I realize it’s not fun designing graphics for people or maybe people are paying me tons of money for it. And I realized I can go all in on this, like, have a more experimental exploratory mindset, I think rather than this pressure to like, look at books and majors and pick your future.
for sure. One of one of my common things that I realized when you know, I work with a lot of business owners and not all of them have, you know, certainly most of them don’t actually have college or university experience. And even going through the process of you’re gonna learn some way you’re gonna learn by doing or you’re gonna learn by paying, you know, the education side and much of this, you know, if you want to buy a restaurant or lunch or restaurant, you should have worked in restaurants first, right, from someone else, for sure, as from the standpoint of just internships and apprentices, you know, I know that there’s a ton of college students who work for free on internships, right, they run and get coffee and don’t have a lot of descriptions. So I love the shift of that tonight. Practice ship. How accepted has that been in the market?
Yeah, that’s a it’s interesting because in practice, the companies that we place people with, they love this. And they’re absolutely loving it, they’re finding a lot of success with it in terms of the way that they experience it. Now the label apprenticeship, which is what we use, and we kind of use that to define the structure like, Hey, this is somebody who, it’s not just an intern, they’re not just kind of here for a summer and gone, you can sort of maybe they get some real work, maybe they don’t know this, there’s accountability, they have a deliberate intention to try to turn this into a full time role if they if they find out that they’re a fit, and they’re doing well, and that the employer sees this as sort of onboarding someone to stay at the company long term. But during this phase, this six month apprenticeship phase, we understand that they’re going to have a higher learning curve, we’re going to be getting a lot of feedback and trying to make that that work, when we structure it that way. It’s very, very successful in Companies are responding very well. Now that hasn’t really translated much into a broader market awareness of the term apprenticeship like if you use that term, almost everybody’s gonna think you’re talking about like,27:12
Exactly. Yeah, absolutely, exactly.
So, you know, we’re kind of trying to bring that out mainstream and to try to get more people thinking that way. But what you find is a lot of entry level jobs, basically, are apprenticeships because people sort of know that you don’t really know much coming in unfortunately, and that you’re gonna have to be ramped up. It’s just that we there hasn’t been a lot of explicit, explicitly labeling and treating them that way. And we’re kind of trying to move things that direction with with mixed success.
Fantastic. We’re kind of coming near the end. So I have one more element to the other business that that you’re the CEO of and I went online this morning. So I went on to crush.com, I think is what it is, and I took your online assessment And I was shocked at the outcome of it. So is that a free tool to anyone who goes on? And is there a detailed report that comes with it? I got the summary level of it before we hopped on to this interview.
Yeah, so crash.com Thank you. There’s no m on it. Okay. Yeah, crash.co. And yeah, we have this free career discovery tool. And it’s really to help kind of what I talked about there narrow down, hey, given your personality, here are some sort of big buckets that we can put a lot of roles into, that you might want to look at. And we, you know, we’ve worked on this over months to kind of try to create something that’s it’s similar to some personality tests and sort of big five traits and whatever, but it’s kind of got a unique flavor, because it’s specifically focused on those early career opportunities. And we found that like, largely, it’s been it’s been pretty accurate for people pretty useful. But I’m curious, maybe it tells you something.
Was off base.
I wasn’t suggesting it. I was just surprised. And what’s interesting is I have not retained the actual archetype name as it was, but it was suggesting software engineer, which makes me laugh.
Hey, you never know. Yeah, we break it down into. And again, I think the further you are in your career, probably the less useful it is because you already have more specific information about how your skills can be applied. But the earlier you are, the more that I think something like this can help you at least hopefully, eliminate a few things that are probably not a really good fit. Like you’re really, really introverted, really detail oriented. You know, there are certain things like, you know, sales, for example, that probably won’t be that good of a fit, or you’re going to need to work really hard to make them fit. Yeah, yeah, if you’re very outgoing and competitive, you like to talk and communicate a lot. You work fast. It’s kind of my then sales might be a good place, you know, so It’s kind of a fun tool, I encourage everybody to go to go check it out at crash Co. And that’s just sort of the first like, exploratory component of this. And then we have a skills profile that we’re continuing to work on and refine and find better ways to help people use it. But essentially, instead of instead of a resume, if you can create something tangible, that has a little bit of a, you know, you just describing who you are in a video so people can see and hear you, showcasing some of the things you’ve done, whether it’s blog posts, or book reviews, or some software tools that you know, and then the ability to actually create tailored pitches for individual companies on top of that, you can do all of that for free at crush.co
That’s fantastic. Those are some fantastic tips, especially for our graduates that are coming into the marketplace. Isaac, thank you so much for your time this afternoon. I definitely want to make sure that we include a link that you would like our listeners to check you out. What would that be?
Yeah, they can go to crash.co and I think there’s a you Know the blog is there there’s a link to the book there some podcasts resources. I mean, my personal website, I blog there every day, but it’s not always related to this kind of stuff. So if you’re really curious, you can go to Isaacmorehouse.com But I would probably just say go to crash.co be the most relevant.
Okay, fantastic. Well, I again, appreciate your time today and I am excited to see your future growth.
Thank you so much. Thank you.