Welcome to TEL Library.
People often ask me, “What problem are you trying to solve?” It’s a standard question that investors and donors ask startup leaders. They want to know if the need for my solution or product addresses a big enough market opportunity to sustain financial success.
For the first time in my career, I feel like I have a truly satisfying answer to that question.
What problem are we trying to solve at TEL Library?
We’re working to solve the problem of hopelessness.
It’s a problem rooted in a lack of opportunity and options. In fact, hopelessness may also be the single biggest crisis in our society today.
We see it in the lives of people struggling to earn an adequate living.
We see it in the faces of young people in dead-end, low-paying jobs, who know they have no hope of ever moving up or achieving their dreams.
We see it in the struggles of middle-aged workers who realize they’re being left behind by technology and automation.
We see it in the circumstances of the millions who populate our correctional centers.
Hopelessness is the harsh reality for a growing segment of our society. This is a group whose members are convinced that they are too poor, too old, too unprepared, have made too many mistakes, or have too many things going against them to improve their situation in life.
It is a group of people who feel stuck, and because they feel stuck they grow despondent, fatalistic, and, often, angry. They may make bad choices, due to a lack of information or understanding, but seem to care less and less as time passes because their choices have such little impact on their futures.
Well, at TEL Library, we believe the problem of hopelessness can be solved.
It can be solved, in part, by equipping people to think differently, to see the world differently. It can be solved by offering people the options and opportunities that they believe have passed them by.
Our mission is to help people acquire the knowledge and skills they need to flourish in the 21st century. Our goal is to “unstick” people from a mindset that says, “I don’t know and I’ll never understand, so I’m giving up,” to one that proclaims, “I may not know, but I can figure this out and I will definitely keep moving up.”
I feel incredibly fortunate to be leading this organization and to be working with such a talented and passionate group of people.
Together, we’re working on a number of initiatives to realize our mission and to address the problem of hopelessness. I’d like to take just a moment to share a bit about some of those efforts.
First, as of today, we’re officially launching a free Reference Library containing lessons in a broad spectrum of core subject areas. Each of our lessons is a stand-alone, self-contained learning opportunity designed to give people the information and explanation needed to understand a specific concept. These lessons will always be available for free, to anyone, through our Reference Library. People can also earn free badges, make their own learning collections, and keep track of their personal learning journey. Teachers and instructors can use our lessons as free supplemental resources in their courses.
We’re also working on several initiatives to support underserved adult learners. We’ll launch our Career Foundation program this fall to help undereducated, underemployed, and under-skilled adults prepare for successful careers and higher-paying jobs. A related initiative is our Communities of Hope program. This initiative will introduce our Career Foundation Program into correctional institutions — diversion centers, prisons, and re-entry centers — and involve volunteer communities of support, including mentors, employers, and support groups. These programs will be extremely affordable and we will provide some scholarship opportunities.
At the same time, we’re using our Stackable Lessons™ content model to build affordable, online learning products that support institutions, instructors, and students at the high school and college levels. This support includes textbooks for high schools and college students that cost $9.99, as well as affordable self-paced, college-level courses and services.
At launch, we have lessons in Writing, Literature, Economics, History, Religion, and Computer Technology. Throughout the summer, we will be adding content in Math, Science, Government, and Business Communication.
There is so much more on our roadmap, but I think these brief descriptions provide some insight into our purpose and vision for TEL Library. I look forward to sharing additional announcements in the near future but, for now, let me close with this thought.
Every community, culture, and civilization faces challenges. Central among those challenges is the need to produce an educated, productive populace. This means finding ways to pass along wisdom. It also means ensuring that community members have the foundational learning and skills to be productive members of society, to contribute meaningfully, and to feel that they are valued for their contributions.
TEL Library’s mission is to provide the foundational learning and skills that make it possible for anyone in our country to flourish both professionally and personally, to help them reach that point where they know they have value and that they are making valuable contributions.