ICS Learn was originally founded in 1890 in Scranton, Pennsylvania by journalist and editor of the Mining Herald*, Thomas J. Foster. Alarmed "by the frequent mine accidents causing serious injury or death to his neighbours," (Kennan,1940) Foster played an instrumental part in setting up statutes to safeguard the welfare of miners. The new requirement for miners to be certified led to a new Question and Answer column in the Mining Herald, which educated his readers on the certification test they had to pass in order to qualify as mining workers. Due to popular demand Foster eventually opened an education institute offering one course: Mine Safety Engineering. By 1901 International Correspondence School was incorporated in the US.
Source: Wikipedia (ICS Learn)
ICS appeared in the Chinese newspaper Shenbao in 1924 only. Surprisingly enough, the copy was written exclusively in English. This suggests that these courses specifically addressed Chinese elites.