Non-profit workforce development organization Merit America has received a $10 million grant from Ascendium Education Group.
The grant was awarded to propel growth and impact, driving Merit America’s mission to provide affordable upskilling programs and personalized career coaching to adults without college degrees, helping individuals secure in-demand, well-paying careers in tech, according to a news release. The funding will be used to support Merit America in scaling its skills-building and career placement programs.
Founded in 2018, Merit America prepares workers stuck in low-wage roles for family-sustaining tech careers at scale. It offers fast and flexible training and job placement programs that work for working adults, and are aligned to the most in-demand roles in the fastest-growing sectors of the US economy. The organization now serves thousands of working learners across the country with an average annual wage gain of $19,000.
Connor Diemand-Yauman, Co-CEO & Co-founder of Merit America, said,
Ascendium Education Group’s backing has been game-changing for our nationwide scale. For every dollar Ascendium is investing in our work, we’ll put more than $20 into the pockets of hard-working Americans nationwide. We are driving $1b in wage gains, which will translate into down-payments for homes, rainy day funds, or just a bit of breathing room for thousands of Americans stuck in low-wage jobs.
The $10 million investment will supplement Merit America’s Google Career Certificates Fund, which was co-designed by Merit America in partnership with Google and Social Finance to support learners seeking Google Career Certificates. Merit America’s ability to leverage the full potential of the Google Career Certificates Fund depends on additional philanthropic dollars to help cover operational costs, and Ascendium’s increased investment will help accelerate the growth and the impact of Merit America’s programming, said a statement.
Carolynn Lee, Ascendium Senior Program Officer, said,
We couldn’t be more excited about the expansion of our partnership with Merit America. During the past year, Merit America has demonstrated a deep commitment to expanding opportunity for working adults stuck in low-wage jobs — a goal we share. Through one of Ascendium’s most significant philanthropic awards to date, we’re proud to help Merit America to reach sustainable, national scale and impact the lives of tens of thousands of workers through affordable, flexible, in-demand programs that lead to meaningful technology careers and increased wages.
Ascendium invests in initiatives designed to increase the number of students from low-income backgrounds who complete postsecondary degrees, certificates, and workforce training programs, with an emphasis on first-generation students, incarcerated adults, rural community members, students of color, and veterans. The non-profit organization has been supporting Merit America since 2021. The $10M grant is a tenfold increase from its initial grant of $900,000.