Nas performs at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival Kick Off

April 16:  Nas performs onstage at the Opening Night Concert after a screening of his film "Time Is Illmatic" kicking off the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival at The Beacon Theatre in New York City. 

Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Rapper partners with educational firm Koru to provide scholarships, real-world coaching for college grads.

Rapper and entrepreneur Nas adds another business venture to his portfolio. He is partnering with educational company Koru to assist top graduates in making successful college-to-career transitions with high-growth firms. The Nas Scholarship Fund will provide financial aid to selected students, with the legendary rapper also doubling as a real-world coach. Additionally, Nas and his investment company Queensbridge Venture Partners have made a significant investment in Koru.

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"I know how hard it can be to carve out your path and purpose in life," says Nas in a statement announcing the partnership. "The young people going through Koru are gritty, book smart and street smart. The program gives them an opportunity to put those smarts to work. I can’t wait to work directly with them and share what I’ve learned through my own life experiences."
 
The Nas affiliation is the latest step in the expansion of Koru’s employer-embedded, month-long training programs. Launched last October by co-founder/CEO Kristen Hamilton and co-founder/chief learning officer Josh Jarrett, Seattle-based Koru is working in tandem with such high-growth companies as zulily, Payscale and REI. Among Koru’s 13 founding college partners in the enterprise are Bates, Pomona, Brown, USC and Georgetown. The goal is to rectify a sobering fact. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 50 percent of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed.

"We're thinking about education in a different way," Hamilton tells Billboard.biz, "because it's a tough go after college. Nas was especially interested in how we’re focusing on the real world; on learning outside the classroom while partnering book smarts with street smarts."
 
The first Nas scholarship recipients will participate in the June program. That session as well as the July session will take place in Seattle. Come September, Koru will begin offering programs in Seattle and San Francisco.