Episode 11: Eric Blum – Building a Better College


Eric Blum has been thinking about how to make the college experience more valuable to the students who are on the edges of academic success and failure. These are the students who have a brain in their head, want to use it to do something cool, but learn best from their experiences rather than their textbooks. His dream is Oak Valley College, and if the state of California could ever get the paperwork through, the doors will open in the Fall of 2015.

Four Pillars of OVC

  • Christian-based education
  • Liberal arts orientation
  • Work-College experience
  • Career orientation with the Launch Pad Program

In our conversation, Eric talks about all of the ways that Oak Valley College will be unique. First, students will graduate in three years instead of four, because the academic calendar will be year round. But this means lower costs for the students and the college. The programs are geared toward career-development and have real-world experiences baked into the three-year curriculum. And the best part, students will graduate debt-free!

The days of earning a bachelor's degree without debt are falling behind us, but Oak Valley College is making it possible through its work-college structure. Every student will be matched with a business or organization who will provide real-work experience that students can bring back to the classroom to use as learning case studies and discussion topics. Students win because they get applicable experience and earn money toward their bachelor's degree. Employers win because they will have a pool of employees who are engaged in helping them build a stronger business, and are committed to sticking around for three straight years.

If you're a student (or employer) ready to get started on your future, here's how to get connected:


Opening Music: "The Red One" by John Scofield and Pat Metheny off their album I Can See Your House From Here

Closing Music: "Magic Beans"  by Peter Mayer off the album Million Year Mind