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Launchpad is a leadership academy at Clayton State University that helps students and faculty adapt to technical, social, and business expectations of the 21st century workforce. 

Joe Uhl, our Chief architect and VP of Operations, has served as an advisor to the university’s Computer and Mathematical Sciences Department (CIMS) since 2016, so we were able to effectively design this program from the inside out. Through Launchpad, Mailchimp is investing $300,000 over 3 years to support dozens of Clayton State students as they grow their careers.

Final student presentations at Mailchimp headquarters

Clayton State proudly serves a student body that reflects the local community: about 40% of its students are the first in their families to attend college, and a significant number are over the age of 25 when they matriculate.

Our company purpose is about empowering the underdog, so knowing that programs like Launchpad tend to arise at internationally renowned institutions with huge alumni networks, Clayton State felt like a perfect fit. Talent comes from everywhere, but metro-Atlanta’s under-tapped southside stands in stark contrast to the opportunity-rich communities north of I-20.

A Launchpad student

First, we spent the summer of 2018 getting a better understanding of what students and faculty wanted from our time together. We arranged for the class to hear from senior company leaders, shadow our staff, and visit one of our data centers.

Abu Hassan

The students asked for more opportunities to apply their technical knowledge to a business environment and for deeper exposure to teams they weren’t familiar with. With this feedback in mind, we helped the CIMS faculty design an experiential course for the fall semester. The final product blended classroom instruction from university faculty, primary source learning from Mailchimp employees, and project-based learning.

Eight student leaders enrolled in the pilot and spent the Fall 2018 semester applying what they’d learned in their classes to the environment of a quickly growing software company. We hired 3 summer interns from our first class, and hired each of them back for a fall internship, too.

Bonnie Williams

In January 2020

We made our first full-time hire from that class.We’re looking forward to empowering more groups of students with leadership and technical knowledge that will help them succeed in the ever changing modern business environment.

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