Edupoint Links Students With Continuing-Education Programs

Internet start-up hopes to become the one-stop online shop for continuing-education programs.

The site, which launched this month, lists more than 1.5 million degrees, training programs, certificates and courses mined from 3,000 of the 3,600 learning providers in the United States.

Through resale agreements with 120 institutions, it will allow working adults to enroll in nearly 50,000 courses.

“Roughly 40 percent of the adults in the U.S. are involved in some type of continuing education every year, so we’re talking about bringing efficiencies to a market that has the potential to reach a huge population,” said Jeff Creighton, chairman at Edupoint.

Edupoint, Solana Beach, CA, spent 18 months culling pertinent continuing-education data from learning institutions’ catalogs and Web sites.

The site includes a ZIP code search for learning institutions within a 15-mile radius, financial-aid program information, industry-specific Web pages, online class registration and career counseling.

“Our intentions are to find out all of your professional aspirations, personal goals and what you’d like to do, and then begin to feed you information on courses that fit those requirements,” Creighton said.

Edupoint charges learning institutions a per-student fee ranging from 6.4 percent to 12 percent of the tuition cost. Also, EduPoint will give institutions the option of paying to have their names listed first in search results.

Creighton expects heavy demand for courses on business management, computer science, engineering and teacher training.

Much of the focus is on corporate education. EduPoint has employed three people in its call center to sell its concept as a training tool for companies. Approximately 25 Fortune 500 companies have shown interest, including Intel Corp., Motorola, Hewlett-Packard Co., Sun Microsystems, Pacific Bell and Boeing Co. Many of these companies have free access to EduPoint’s database through a search box in their respective corporate intranets.

Edupoint will soon launch a learning expo which allows potential employees and students to interact with counselors and educators at learning institutions.

“Once we get inside the company, there’s a lot of direct marketing which you can do,” Creighton said, adding that Edupoint will spend around $25 million this year before it can turn a profit.

Intel, for example, is going to promote Edupoint to its 33,000 employees through internal communications. Boeing is running ads in its internal newsletter, and will insert a note in every employee’s pay stub before the company’s Edupoint-customized Learning Expo launches.

Virtually every one of Boeing’s 130,000 employees receives some kind of training each year, costing the Seattle company more than $200 million annually.

“That’s training and educational reimbursement,” said Ric Erdman, Edupoint’s president/CEO. “The piece we can go after to sell classes is at least $75 million, and the range is $75 million to $100 million. So what can Boeing be worth to us? A lot.”

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