Teachers face a captive audience for their talents every day. But it’s not the kind of audience that can point them to the next networking event or business opportunity — or raise their professional profile.
That’s what led York County teacher Erin Lapore to create Noble Space, a professional networking site designed with educators in mind.
“We really need to rethink the way that we’re offering educators opportunities for connection with the community,” said Lapore, who teaches second grade at Roundtown Elementary School in the Central York School District. She began working on the site about three years ago.
To advance development of the site, she recently took up residence at the J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship at York College. The move offers Noble Space access to students who could intern in areas like computer programming, web design, education and business, according to York College.
The move also helps to raise the startup’s profile and get feedback from other entrepreneurs, Lapore said.
The company’s team includes a chief technology officer, Matt Klinepeter, who has worked on site development, Lapore said, She also has enlisted two teaching colleagues for her business development team. They are Rob Donatelli, a business teacher in the Dallastown Area School District, and Emma Melhorn, an English teacher in Northeastern School District.
The goal of Noble Space is to help teachers connect to the community and vice versa. Teachers can learn of job opportunities for former students, hear from business people about skills needed in the workplace, or even find their next job.
Teachers entering the profession today may be less likely to follow in the footsteps of their older peers and work in the classroom for 30 or more years, Lapore noted. They would benefit from opportunities to network outside educational circles.
“It’s time for us to think differently about this profession,” Lapore said, adding that a site tailored for educators is better than Facebook or Linkedin.
Businesses, meanwhile, may find it useful to reach out to educators. Manufacturers, for example, have been trying for the last few years to revise their image among younger people in a bid to attract a new generation of skilled workers.
Noble Space is currently free to use. But Lapore is hoping eventually to generate revenue from subscriptions.
About 200 educators have joined the site so far, as have some business people. One is Michele Thomas, business manager for York Precision Machining & Hydraulics in Manchester Township, York County. The site has posted job openings for the company, which has had positive experiences in hiring people with a background in education, Thomas said.
“There’s a fit between Noble Space and us,” she said.
— By Joel Berg, editor of BizNewsPA