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Professional Diversity Network, Inc. Announces Commencement of its International Education Services Business

CHICAGO, July 05, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Professional Diversity Network, Inc. (NASDAQ:IPDN) (“PDN” or the “Company”), a global developer and operator of online and in-person networks that provide access to networking, training, educational and employment opportunities for diverse individuals, announced the commencement of its international education services business, through the formation of a new U.S. subsidiary and partnership with Jiangxi Ji’An College in China.  Combined, these developments will work to enable the Company to provide educational opportunities to Chinese students who seek a joint international degree program between U.S. schools and a Chinese school, international vocational training certificate program, students’ international study tour and other programs.

Highlights of Developments

  • On June 26, 2017, PDN finalized the formation of AETSI, Inc., a Delaware wholly-owned subsidiary which will operate the U.S. side of the Company’s international education services division.
  • On July 4, 2017, PDN (China) International Cultural Development Company, Limited, the Company’s wholly-owned Chinese subsidiary, finalized a partnership with Ji’An College in China to deliver educational services to Chinese students seeking an international joint degree program, international vocational training certificate program, students’ international study tour and other programs.
  • The Company is in negotiations with several U.S. schools and expects to finalize its choice of a U.S. college or university partner in the near future.
  • The Company expects its partnership to service part of the large demand for career based education in China and benefit economically from fees relating to advising students from application to graduation and ultimately for career placement activities.

Today’s announcement continues the Company’s delivery on its expectations regarding its new business operations in China.  PDN has previously announced its plans to commence business operations in three Chinese market sectors: (1) education and training for business people; (2) networking, skills and lifestyle services for successful women through the Company’s International Association of Women (“IAW”); and (3) international education services. 

First, on June 26, 2017, the Company updated its previous announcements on the success of what have now been six “Shared Economy Events,” the venue through which PDN is providing for-profit education and training for Chinese business people.

Second, the Company has launched its services for successful Chinese women by holding its first IAW event in China at the end of June.  The Company will disclose details in a separate release.

Now, the Company announces that its business in the third China market sector it identified – the provision of secondary school international education services – is well underway.  The provision of these services requires schools in the U.S. and China to partner with PDN.  The Company’s wholly-owned China subsidiary, PDN (China) International Cultural Development Company Limited (“PDN China”), has been working to secure the correct China partner school.  That work culminated on July 4, 2017, with a formal partnership between PDN China and Jiangxi Ji’An College.  A description of the partnership and its closing ceremony is included in the enclosed Chinese press release, which has been translated below for English-speaking readers and which will be released in China shortly after this release in the U.S.

This partnership provides the Company with the appropriate China education partner to help provide a supply of Chinese students seeking joint-degree programs, as well as with the expertise to develop and deliver a curriculum, which will be built and provided in cooperation with a U.S. education partner. Due to the Chinese government’s identification of nursing as a key sector for strategic development, the Company intends to first focus on joint nursing education using Jiangxi Ji’An College and its U.S. partner school.  The Company’s recent formation of its new, wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, AETSI, Inc. (the Association of Education and Training Schools International, or “AETSI”), allows the Company to formalize an agreement with a U.S. school or schools, the negotiations for which are already in progress and expected to be complete by the end of July.  PDN anticipates that it will begin to deliver these international education services during the 2017 academic year.

Jim Kirsch, PDN’s Executive Co-Chairman, said “We could not be more pleased with our progress and the delivery on our commitment to our shareholders.  We identified three Chinese market sectors and, with today’s announcement, are operating in each.  Our internal team has come together to provide the ideas, infrastructure and execution necessary to operate our new businesses, and we are all excited at the prospect of delivering results to our shareholders as we mature these new business lines.”

Text of Chinese Press Release – PDN China and Jiangxi Ji’An College

Based on Belt and Road Initiative strategy, PDN China works together with Ji’An College

On the morning of July 4th, 2017, Jiangxi Ji’An College held a strategic cooperation ceremony with PDN (China) International Cultural Development Company Limited, which is designed to provide international vocational education.  The ceremony reflected the official launch of an international cooperation project in domestic vocational education. Present at the event were Li Jialin, vice-principal of Ji’An College, Zhou Binyan, deputy secretary, Xiao Zhuqing, vice-principal, Song Jingbo, Chairman of PDN (China) International Cultural Development Company Limited, Wang Maoji, President of PDN (China) International Cultural Development Company Limited, Zhang Lin, chief planner and general producer of China's Millennium Culture Project as well as chief editor of China's Patriotism Educational Network and other leaders, as well as guests and media members.

The parties’ agreement is designed to allow them to partner on: an international cooperative education program, international vocational training certificate program, international study tour project, international volunteer participation activity program, faculty and management personnel foreign training and inspection program, international medical and high-end nursing program and other relevant issues of international education and training. This has paved the way for what PDN believes to be the sustainable, healthy development of PDN (China) Vocational Education International Cooperation Project while remaining consistent with China’s national strategic layout.

Ji’An College, which was established upon approval of Jiangxi Provincial Government in February of 2014, is a public college and university for junior college diploma-level education in industrial, agricultural, business, art, and normal studies, and is registered by Ministry of Education. In accordance with the positioning plan as Mountainous Campus with Luling Academic Institute to construct the campus, the college is located in Ji’An South Avenue in the center of Ji’An City with accommodation for 15,000 students. Ji’An College was chartered to deepen the reform of higher vocational education under the state council, to implement ideas, to further the innovative vocational education reform, to accelerate the transformation and upgrade vocational education, and to improve the quality of vocational education colleges, as well as to serve China and its people.  Ji’An College works with PDN (China) school enterprises to take the lead in the country for the exploration and research in brand new concepts, models and contents in higher vocational education school faculty, subject setting and student learning, as well as to strengthen international cooperation in education and inject fresh energy to the vocational education for our country.

PDN (China) International Cultural Development Company Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary founded in China by Professional Diversity Network, Inc., which is listed in America NASDAQ as IPDN. The company, with its commitment to the construction of "international education ecosystem and cultural social platform”, intends to provide customers with the internationalization of education, training and service as the core, to integrate of global resources across the industry, is an international social platform for International Association of Women, high-end business training and services, education and international cooperation. In order to speed up the vocational education reform of our country, to promote vocational education transformation and upgrading, to realize the integration of educational resources, PDN (China) intends to leverage the national "Belt and Road Initiative" strategy to implement international cooperation projects in vocational education nationwide. It will lay a solid foundation for our country to realize the Chinese dream as soon as possible and build a firm foundation for cultivating professional, sophisticated and elite prodigies. PDN China will work closely with Ji'An College to use modern advanced vocational education concept which highlights the "combination of engineering, integration of production and education”, to explore modern vocational education personnel training modes, to deepen the school/enterprise cooperation, to build internal and external training bases, provide independent colleges and professional characteristics and to create a high level of part-time teachers.

At the National Conference of vocational education, General Secretary Xi once said: "we must firmly grasp the development direction of running service, promoting employment, deepening institutional reform and innovation at all levels of various types of vocational education mode. We must adhere to the integration of production and education, school enterprise cooperation and we have to stick to the concept of combination of engineering and practice, learning by doing and thus guide the community in particular industries and enterprises to actively support vocational education as well as make great efforts to build vocational education system with Chinese characteristics. Efforts should be made to increase support for vocational education in rural areas, ethnic minority areas and poverty-stricken areas so as to enable everyone to have opportunities for nourishing their life.” Strategic cooperation between PDN (China) and Ji'An College gives full play to their respective advantages and to achieve a win-win situation. The two parties intend to improve vocational skills and cultivate a high integration in vocational spirit. The development of higher vocational education is in response to the call of the country. The two parties will take advantage of “Belt and Road Initiative" strategy and combine import and export strategy to integrate international education resources. With school enterprise cooperation as the core, they insist on promoting employment as the orientation of running a school, and strive to improve the level of training skilled personnel, so as to create a distinctive teaching staff with distinctive characteristics of vocational education.

About Professional Diversity Network (PDN)

Professional Diversity Network, Inc. (PDN) is a global developer and operator of online and in-person networks that provides access to networking, training, educational and employment opportunities for diverse professionals. We operate subsidiaries in the United States and China including National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), which is one of the largest, most recognized networking organizations of professional women in the country, spanning more than 200 industries and professions, and Noble Voice, a career placement and career counseling call center. Through an online platform and our relationship recruitment affinity groups, we provide our employer clients a means to identify and acquire diverse talent and assist them with their efforts to comply with the Equal Employment Opportunity Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program. Our mission is to utilize the collective strength of our affiliate companies, members, partners and unique proprietary platform to be the standard in business diversity recruiting, networking and professional development for women, minorities, veterans, LGBT and disabled persons globally.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements based on our current expectations, forecasts and assumptions that involve risks and uncertainties. This release does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of offers to buy any securities of any entity. Forward-looking statements in this release are based on information available to us as of the date hereof. Our actual results may differ materially from those stated or implied in such forward-looking statements, due to risks and uncertainties associated with our business, which include the risk factors disclosed in our most recently filed Annual Report on Form 10-K and in our subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding our expectations, beliefs, intentions or strategies regarding the future and can be identified by forward-looking words such as "anticipate," "believe," "could," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," “plan,” "should," and "would" or similar words. We assume no obligation to update the information included in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Our most recently filed Annual Report on Form 10-K, together with this press release and the financial information contained herein, are available on our website, www.prodivnet.com. Please click on "Investor Relations."

CONTACT: Professional Diversity Network, Inc.

Chris Wesser – EVP and Secretary
cwesser@prodivnet.com
516-659-8560

Jim Kirsch – Executive Co-Chairman
jkirsch@prodivnet.com
312-614-9021

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Professional Diversity Network, Inc.