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Get smarter: New York's General Assembly will start offering classes in Boston next month

Posted by Scott Kirsner  May 4, 2012 10:34 AM

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Your tech education options will expand in June, when New York-based General Assembly starts holding classes in Kendall Square.

That's just a month after the launch of Intelligent.ly's first classes in the South End. Both entities aim to offer evening sessions, taught by professionals working at startups, on topics like technology, web design, and marketing. And both primarily focus on one-off courses, as opposed to those that meet multiple times, with price points starting around $30. General Assembly's classes will be held in conference rooms and event spaces at the Cambridge Innovation Center.

Adam Pritzker, a co-founder of General Assembly, tells me that his company's classes focus on "skills you need to thrive in the workforce," and that about 6000 students have taken classes at GA since it launched last year. The class roster for Cambridge hasn't yet been announced, but Pritzker says some of the more popular classes offered in New York have included "Programming for Non-Programmers," "Front-End Web Development," and "Introduction to Startup Law." One of GA's producers in New York is putting together the first few classes for Cambridge, but Pritzker says, "I think we'll hire someone locally in relatively short order."

"All of our offerings take place in a social environment," says Pritzker. "Everybody is building a project. They're very goal-oriented. People are looking to start a company, or level up at work."

In New York, in addition to offering classes, General Assembly is a bit like a mini Cambridge Innovation Center, in that it provides workspace to early-stage startups. GA raised $4.5 million last year from Jeff Bezos, Maveron, and Yuri Milner, among others.

John Harthorne of MassChallenge, a startup competition based in Boston's Innovation District, tells me that his facility could also host General Assembly classes in the future, though there aren't yet definitive plans. "It is possible and being discussed, but isn't certain," he writes via e-mail.

It'll be interesting to see how much demand there is in Boston from learners — and also, how General Assembly's Kendall Square location performs compared with Intelligent.ly's South End location, which is far from the T.

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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