Response from the Author:
Thanks for the comments, and I agree with you that a combination of both academic and professional training is important when making your way into this field (or any other field for that matter). I'm also well aware that there are many educational programs that provide training in the skills needed for PID practice. What IS new and 'first of its kind' about this program is that it will bring together 20+ of the most well respected and accomplished leaders in the field, all of whom are coming with the express purpose and intent of helping to train and educate future leaders and foster supportive networks among them. As far as I'm aware, this type of incubation-like environment has never before existed for the public interest design field, but if you know of any other cases please let me know!
My point in writing this article was to address the fact that many recent design graduates and young professionals want to forge careers in public interest design but dont quite know where to start. I did not imply or state anywhere that this program prepares you to open your own public interest design firm, the title pretty clearly states "Here's a first step." This program will not prepare you to open your own firm, but it IS a first step. And it's by no means the only first step, just one option for students to consider, particularly students who can't get this type of training at their own school. I think what this program offers is a unique immersive experience in which students gain lots of valuable knowledge that can help put them on the path towards eventually starting their own firm.
Would love to hear more from you, especially considering your login name 'publicinterestdesigner', I'm guessing your pretty immersed in this field yourself. Let me know if you'd like to talk more, I'd be happy to!