We provided the first funding to Merit America and have since supported its launch in New York City. Our catalytic grant led to Google creating a $100MM fund for three job placement programs, one of which is Merit America.
Merit America provides a path to skilled careers for those without bachelor’s degrees. The initiative offers deeper learning for underrepresented minorities and low- and moderate-income students through employer-aligned programming that includes mentoring and other support services. Merit America now partners with top employers to identify in-demand jobs for which they are struggling to hire qualified workers, to understand the specific skills needed, and to secure priority hiring commitments for their graduates. Merit America builds education programs backward from employers’ skill needs and co-locates in regions where jobs are available.
Professor Ben Castleman at the University of Virginia concluded an analysis of Merit America’s graduates and found that 3 months plus after completing the program,Merit America alumni experienced an average annual wage increase of $24,000 and moved from earning $26,000 to $50,000 average salaries. Further, it found that Merit America is on track to create $500M in wage gains by the end of 2024. See this Fourtune article for more details on the study.
Merit America has strong employer partnerships with companies like Amazon and JPMorgan Chase. In addition to building philanthropic support, Merit America has developed three earned revenue streams: 1) employer hiring fees from talent acquisition teams; 2) learner payment via a “Success Share Agreement”; and 3) upfront tuition paid by companies who want to upskill their workforce.