Learn to Earn
How can we ensure that all Americans succeed in the future workforce? With a goal of creating 10 million more career-ready Americans by 2025, Learn to Earn works to catalyze holistic solutions that help learners from low-income and underrepresented backgrounds access upwardly mobile careers.
Systems Change: New Profit’s Learn to Earn Initiative
Learn to Earn is New Profit’s postsecondary and career strategy that delivers mutually reinforcing initiatives across the continuum of K-12 to mid-career. We see opportunities to equip all students with the education, skills, and opportunities needed to be career-ready – including the advent of more engaging technologies, hybrid supports, and shifting views among employer leaders about their training roles. But no single innovator can overcome the existing barriers and redefine what is seen as possible for low-income and underrepresented students. Learn to Earn is building a networked community of diverse innovators, systems leaders, funders, and learners to create holistic solutions that equip learners from low-income and underrepresented backgrounds for economic mobility.
We must focus on the social impact of seismic Future of Work shifts, because today the speed of change is far outpacing the solutions available to help people, especially the most vulnerable, learn and adapt.
Learn to Earn Initiatives
In 2019, PIE launched a public application process to award $100K each to 20 social entrepreneurs working to connect young adults from low-income communities with the postsecondary credentials and work experience they need to access upwardly mobile careers.
Over 80 percent of jobs that pay $35,000 or more to younger workers require a postsecondary credential. While most individuals from high-income backgrounds get a credential, only 35 percent of high school graduates from low-income backgrounds do so. This lack of credentialing prevents millions of capable, talented individuals from achieving upward mobility and is a key driver of inequality in America. New Profit believes that we can put millions more young adults on the path to opportunity by supporting the most promising entrepreneurs developing new pathways from high school and low-skill jobs into postsecondary education and upwardly mobile careers. PIE aims to back proximate entrepreneurs who share backgrounds and identities with the young adults the initiative aims to support, as they are strongly positioned to create solutions that will create better outcomes for underrepresented learners based on their own experiences.
PIE is led by Associate Partner Glendean Hamilton, who was formerly the program director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, and Social Entrepreneur in Residence Bill Jackson, the founder and former CEO of GreatSchools, the nation’s preeminent resource for information about preK-12 schools and education for parents in all fifty states.
Supporters of PIE include: Walmart, Walton Family Foundation, Lumina Foundation, and Siegel Family Endowment
In a time of increasing economic and employment uncertainty, New Profit is prioritizing potential future of work solutions that not only respond to the current crisis but also make lasting change in the workforce system and improve economic mobility for workers in the future. According to McKinsey, up to 86 percent of the initial coronavirus-related layoffs affected jobs that paid less than $40,000 per year. In the coming months, many of the more than 26 million Americans who have lost their jobs will have to adjust their skill sets for new positions. Further down the line, anticipated disruptions from AI, robotics, and 3-D printing manufacturing will require workers to learn new occupations at a previously unimaginable speed.
So, given these challenges, how can we equip millions of displaced workers for living-wage jobs in an economically viable way? What if we made critical life-long upskilling equitable accessible and affordable to all?
New Profit believes that despite the growing appreciation for the importance of lifelong learning and skills development to career success, there is a misalignment between employers, researchers, technologists, and funders around the skills that are most essential to success, creating labor market failures that keep the most vulnerable workers from accessing critical skills and career navigation advice. As such, New Profit is deploying a systems approach to its future of work strategy, acknowledging that this is a complex problem that will need old players to work together in new ways to meet the needs in the workforce created by COVID-19.
New Profit’s future of work strategy aims to align employer, nonprofit, philanthropic, and government sectors to create a new learning ecosystem that works for the most vulnerable Americans. We hope to incentivize innovators from across industries to bring their best efforts to solving future work challenges, all while raising the profile of the problem and the need for collaboration to create system-wide change.
The Future of Work is led by Partner Dr. Angela Jackson, a researcher, social entrepreneur, and experienced corporate executive who was formerly the founder and CEO of Global Language Project, an educational nonprofit leveraging world language learning to equip students for opportunities in higher education and the workforce.
Read Angela’s writing on the future of work on Medium
Supporters of the Future of Work include:
Walmart.org, Strada Education Network, The Joyce Foundation, Lumina Foundation, and Siegel Family Endowment
The Learning Lab is an innovation incubator made up of the nation’s leading college access and success nonprofits and funders working to transfer innovation from the field’s nonprofit organizations into K-12 and higher education systems.
Since inception, the Learning Lab has convened more than 200 social entrepreneurs, K-12 and higher education leaders, philanthropists, researchers and learners to identify common barriers and challenges in the college access/success field and, subsequently, to design and implement collaborative initiatives to address those challenges. Thus far, with New Profit support, leading social entrepreneurs and other field leaders have collectively designed and launched two initiatives: the College Success Awards and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Initiative.
The Learning Lab is led by Partner Kevin Greer, a partner and co-founder of Learn to Earn who has deep experience working with social entrepreneurs and other systems leaders in education, and Associate Partner Adetola Olatunji who has led the management of the network building efforts for the Learning Lab, centering an equity lens in partnership cultivation. She also leads the design of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Capacity Building Initiative, which was launched out of the Learning Lab.
The College Success Awards (CSA)—an effort designed by members of the College Access and Success Learning Lab network, implemented by GreatSchools, and operating in 25 states—incentivizes states to provide postsecondary and workforce outcome data to education leaders, students, parents, and policy makers.
The reality of our education system today is that high schools, colleges and universities, and alternative postsecondary providers operate in a black box when it comes to the long-term outcomes of their students. While the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to bridge their K-12 and postsecondary data systems and publish data on high school graduation and college enrollment, it falls short of providing the full picture. Without data on student outcomes at the school- and/or program-level, providers have little insight into how to better prepare students for success in college and careers. The College Success Awards demonstrates that if data is used to identify bright spots, uncover successful practices, and celebrate schools in new ways, rather than being in a punitive context, it can drive demand both for pathways that support student success and for the data needed to chart those paths.
CSA is overseen by Partner Kevin Greer, a co-founder of the Learn To Earn Initiative who has deep experience working with social entrepreneurs and other systems leaders in education.
To learn more about the CSA, explore the following resources:
College Success Awards Launch Announcement
College Success Awards: Celebrating High Schools That Prepare Students to Succeed in College
Indiana and Beyond: Using Data to Increase College Access & Success in 25 States
The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Initiative builds the DEI capacity and collective action opportunities for leading nonprofits, convenes a community of philanthropists committed to advancing equity in the social sector, and documents which types of DEI-focused efforts are most effective in advancing outcomes for learners who experience race and class-based systemic barriers as they navigate towards upwardly mobile careers.
Students of color and students from low-income backgrounds face a variety of systemic barriers as they navigate a postsecondary education system that was not designed for them. These systemic barriers lead to disparities in both experiences and outcomes related to support systems, matriculation, persistence, and graduation across race and class.These systemic barriers also negatively impact the potential for equitable career opportunities and lifetime earnings across race and class. College Access and Success nonprofits and philanthropists play a unique role in introducing and funding innovative, equity-centered support systems for learners navigating the postsecondary education system. Through parallel nonprofit and funder communities and a body of research and communications work that highlighting the impact case for equity-centered organizational efforts, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Initiative aims to:
- Increase the number of high performing nonprofit organizations in the College Access and Success field that share a commitment to DEI work, prioritize DEI efforts, and can inform and advise peer organizations on successful DEI efforts.
- Augment the evidence base. Specifically, spur research efforts to document the types of DEI-focused efforts that are most effective in advancing outcomes, and to develop evaluation frameworks based on true measures of progress.
- Facilitate a funder collaborative to increase philanthropic investment in DEI efforts in the College Access and Success field, and encourage philanthropic leaders to commit to grantmaking with a DEI lens.
The DEI Initiative is led by Adetola Olatunji, a systems-oriented thinker and strategist who formerly worked Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), a nonprofit strategy and research organization that encourages private sector investment in inner cities to create jobs, wealth, and income for local residents. Adetola has deep experience and expertise with centering an equity lens in complex stakeholder management and collaborative efforts across entrepreneurs, systems leaders, and philanthropists.
Youth Activation in Schools is a student-led strategy for developing agency in learners so they can navigate the bridges across the rapidly changing worlds of education and work.
Across America, from St. Louis to Parkland, young people are showing they can generate solutions to problems that matter to them. Through Youth Activation, young people create solutions to pressing challenges in their communities. According to research, when youth activate, they create a three-fold benefit: the Youth Activators themselves develop agency and social-emotional skills; measurable progress is achieved on the challenge; and within the school or college, a pro-achievement, peer-to-peer community improves climate. Click below to watch a video that helps answer the question, What is Youth Activation?
New Profit partnered with student leaders, PeerForward and Facebook Education to organize the first Youth Activation Summit at Facebook headquarters in 2018, and again in 2019 resulting in a field effort to develop a common measurement framework, and the design of student-led, Community College Persistence strategy, which was awarded the 2019 Lumina Prize for Postsecondary Innovation. Click below to watch a video that provides a recap of the first Youth Activation Summit held in 2018.
Youth Activation in Schools is led by J.B. Schramm, a co-founder of Learn to Earn and co-founder and former CEO of College Summit.
Supporters of Youth Activation in Schools include: Facebook Education, Carnegie Corporation, AT&T, and Ford Foundation