merit america participants on stage


Social Finance Leads a Conversation with Merit America Graduates Amy and Brandon at SOCAP22

Jake Edwards

Impact Investments, Workforce & Economic Mobility, Education, Talent Finance

Key Takeaway

We will only be successful at expanding economic opportunity if we reform our workforce and training system—bringing employers to the table to actively invest in the talent and skills they’re looking for, and providing people with the support they need to upskill and find good jobs.

Corporate employers nationwide are embracing innovative talent financing to fill job openings and drive economic mobility. Google is blending balance sheet dollars and philanthropy to invest in America’s workforce, while OneTen and Merit America are partnering to prepare workers without college degrees for tech careers. From Johnson & Johnson to Verizon to Walmart, countless companies are making similar commitments. At SOCAP22, Social Finance Vice President Jake Edwards sat down with Justin Steele, Director,, Americas and Leila Makarechi, Chief Business Officer, Merit America to discuss learnings and best practices from such employer-led investments. The session kicked off with a brief virtual conversation with Amy and Brandon, two Merit America graduates.

I came from a point in my life where I was going through a dark tunnel ... not knowing if I was going to make it, if I was going to be able to pay my rent. Now I'm a lot more comfortable and a lot more stable.Brandon Heslop, Tech Support Associate and Merit America Graduate

Photo courtesy of Merit America.

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