pioneer talent financing
Opportunity@Work is pioneering new talent financing vehicles to ensure that talented people with the motivation and aptitude to learn can afford to take that risk. We have designed risk-sharing and income sharing models that are based on outcomes, not on prior credit history. After 2 years of incubation and testing, In 2017, Opportunity@Work launched the Learn and Earn Program in partnership with General Assembly to provide “talent financing” for currently low-income and overlooked Americans to skill-up or re-skill and be hired into middle-class jobs without bearing excessive risk. Our solution fundamentally re-aligns incentives of all institutional actors in the system (education and training providers, social investors, and financial servicers) around high-quality outcomes for the individual served.
Key elements of Opportunity@Work’s innovative financing model include:
- Inclusive selection: the underwriting process is based on the return on investment of the education pathway and an individual’s potential to succeed – not on past credit history or pedigree.
Payments tied to outcomes: students will pay a portion of their income – benchmarked to affordability - so payments are based on success and guaranteed to be affordable.
Risk sharing: a share of the revenue to the education or training institution will be tied to student graduation and job placement, aligning the educators’ incentive with student success
Wrap around support: low-income students receive funding to cover living expenses, transportation, computer access and other supports necessary for successful completion
Pay it forward: any surplus returns from repayments after net management costs flow back into the fund to support future students on their education-to-employment journey.
Opportunity@Work, along with General Assembly, is currently piloting the Learn and Earn Program in Washington, DC with an initial cohort of low-income students who are currently overlooked or underrepresented in tech occupations. We have plans for additional pilots in California and Colorado. The pilots will be conducted in partnership with leading coding bootcamps and accelerated training institutions (both nonprofit and for-profit) with proven outcomes - for example, high graduation and job placement rates into skilled jobs with strong future demand and salary growth.
We will use the learnings from the pilot to improve and deploy a solution that we believe can transform student financing – aligning incentives around upward mobility for the individual – not at their expense. It will allow low-income American strivers with the ability to to acquire skills for our dynamic economy to reach their potential, support their families, and inspire their communities as they “pay it forward”. Importantly, at a time of rapid disruption in our economy, we aim to prove a model that will allow low-income individuals and lower-wage employees to access effective (re) training for in-demand jobs and careers.