Helen Adeosun (political science and Arabic studies, class of 2007) founded CareAcademy in 2015
|Company Founded:||CareAcademy||Year Graduated:||2007|
|Title:||Co-founder and CEO||Degree:||B.A., Political Science and Arabic Studies|
|Location:||Boston, MA||Residence Hall:||Howard|
When Helen Adeosun graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2007, she walked away with more than a degree. She left with the belief she could fundamentally change the world.
Adeosun credits her confidence to two things: her Nigerian immigrant parents who believed education leads to opportunity and Notre Dame’s rigorous academics and high expectations for its graduates. “From the very beginning, I equated learning with success. It’s why my parents came to America and why I chose Notre Dame. Both taught me the importance of faith and persistence. God will bring me opportunities, but it’s up to me to persist,” she says.
While in high school and college, Adeosun worked as a home health aid to earn spending money. As a child, she observed her family members advancing their careers by continuing to learn. Among them was her stepmother who is now a hospital administrator. “The path to a better job was clear,” recalls Adeosun, “but it was a struggle for my family to work full time and go to school.”
She adds, “Still, they persisted.”
As did Adeosun. After Notre Dame, she earned a masters degree in education policy and management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She then held a series of positions in schools and non-profit organizations that broadened her perspective and strengthened her belief in education’s power.
In 2015, she founded CareAcademy, which provides online professional development courses and certifications to teach and up-skill people who want to work in the healthcare industry, but often don't have time for traditional school. CareAcademy is largely focused on home healthcare, which primarily serves America’s exploding senior population.
“The world is in the midst of a fast-growing senior population,” says Adeosun. “We don’t have enough trained direct caregivers to allow people to age with dignity in their homes. With CareAcademy, we have a unique opportunity to standardize training, make it accessible, get people in well-paying jobs and out of poverty, and help seniors.”
What makes CareAcademy’s online classes unique is its format as well as its platform. The videos are short and succinct. They can be viewed on a desktop, tablet or smartphone. And, they’re available on demand. “Our goal is to get more qualified people into the home health workforce so our classes have to be easy to access and affordable. Surprisingly, as many as 85 percent of the people using CareAcademy do so on their smartphones,” she says.
Adeosun received validation of her company in 2018 when CareAcademy was named the Global Grand Prize winner of MIT’s Inclusive Innovation Challenge in the Skills Development and Opportunity Matching category. The annual competition recognizes organizations with transformative innovations intended to build the future economy in the digital era that work for all.
“All over the world, countries are wrestling with an aging population and how best to care for older adults. CareAcademy’s vision is to turn a challenge into an opportunity. The future of work is in health care. Making professional development mobile and accessible 24/7 solves two problems at once: the demand for qualified caregivers and the desire of older adults to remain in their homes. The MIT judges recognized what a game-changer our approach is,” Adeosun says.
As of recently, CareAcademy has trained 75,000 people across the United States. Adeosun seeks to train one million people by 2021. The goal is ambitious, admits Adeosun, but not insurmountable. CareAcademy now boasts a team of 35 people and is working with home care associations across the country to promote its career-building curriculum. Adeosun also does speaking engagements and hosts webinars on health care and aging.
The seemingly tireless Adeosun says her “hunger to tackle issues” was born during her time at Notre Dame. While CareAcademy’s success is satisfying, her desire to transform more lives through education is insatiable. She encourages others who want to start companies to hunger for more.
“Notre Dame instills in its students the need to work for the greater good. Not only is entrepreneurship a muscle that needs to be used, it’s a way to think about the world. If you want to do start a company, find something that challenges you in your life and get excited about solving the problem. You have to believe you will find a solution.”