We had the good fortune of connecting with Everett Swain II and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Everett, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I wanted to show black and brown people that they were being excluded from 6 figure jobs in tech that didn’t require a degree—I wanted to create the college for career switchers. UXD Academy develops and curates apprenticeship programs and self-paced courses to provide marginalized groups a real pathway to successfully transition into tech producing, designing, and developing digital products and services.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I believe the saying “college isn’t for everybody” is bullsh*t. College just wasn’t MADE for everybody, until now. How do we redefine Product Design that empowers marginalized groups as young as high school graduates to become junior-level designers with senior-level talent? Our programs frame learning the practice of critical problem solving, imagination, and elegant execution via design, implementation, and testing in a way that builds on the past experience of our apprentices regardless of background and demographics. Think college but only taking classes you’re interested in. Our courses and apprenticeship programs provide the skills and experience needed to successfully transition into tech producing, designing, and developing digital products and services. I am really proud of our 32% job placement rate for our product designers—to put things in perspective there are leaders in this space that are hovering around 16%. We have a scholarship that awards 5 high school graduates per year a 2-year career pathway—including a free laptop and software subscriptions—into the tech industry becoming a product designer. Our sister company, UX HER—a community for women of color in UX Design looking to jumpstart and grow their careers— serves as the sorority experience at UXD Academy.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
For brunch, we’d hit up Pink Magnolia, then take a walk around white rock lake. Then grab a few fuel city tacos as an afternoon snack. We’d then go to Knife Dallas for Dinner. Ending the night at The People’s Last Stand.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to thank AJ Simon for giving me my first role as a UX Designer. I want to thank Aaron Turner for sharpening my visual design skills. I also want to thank my former business partner for co-founding UXD Academy with me. The internet and the books: McKinsey Mind, Change by Design, and Sprint all deserve credit for my growth as a designer and entrepreneur.