Boston Globe Profiles Rob Sheppard

QARI's senior director of adult programs, Rob Sheppard, was recently profiled in The Boston Globe business section.

Five things you should know about Rob Sheppard

by Katheleen Conti

Demand for free courses in English as a second language continues to rise, as public funding for such programs steadily dwindles. Waiting lists for classes can be as long as two years for non-English speakers hoping for better jobs or who simply want to feel more confident performing day-to-day tasks. Rob Sheppard witnesses this struggle on a daily basis as the senior director for adult education programs at the nonprofit Quincy Asian Resources Inc. Out of frustration, Sheppard was inspired to create Ginseng, an online English school that will charge market-rate tuition to some students, using the money to subsidize class slots for those who can’t afford to pay. Sheppard recently spoke with the Globe about his new venture and why he is moving to Asia to make it happen.

1. Sheppard has worked in both for-profit and nonprofit English-language programs. He says they both fall short of meeting the overwhelming demand from low-income populations. For-profits can be expensive and tend to cater to highly educated international students trying to enroll in American graduate programs. Nonprofits have a logjam of applicants, most of whom are looking for jobs where they can speak English for the first time.