United Way Miami and Social Finance Launch Workforce Project Pilot to Upskill Miami Residents

Press Release

Project supported by a philanthropic gift from Mackenzie Scott; participants to be trained in coding for the pilot

MIAMI, (August 2, 2022)—United Way Miami, in partnership with Social Finance, a national impact finance and advisory nonprofit, today announced the launch of the United Way Miami Workforce Project, an initiative designed to upskill Miami residents and empower them to secure in-demand jobs that lead to economic mobility. This program is the direct result of a multi-million dollar gift made to United Way Miami in 2020 by philanthropist and novelist Mackenzie Scott.

“We conducted a comprehensive study that included focus groups with multiple stakeholder groups and a careful analysis of what is contributing to financial instability in our community. We came to the conclusion that a workforce development program with student-friendly financing is the best solution to help our residents develop valuable skills and earn higher-wage jobs,” said Mary Donworth, Chief Program Officer at United Way Miami. “We are extremely grateful to Ms. Scott for her incredibly generous donation and look forward to using it to empower the career advancement of Miami-Dade County residents. We would also like to thank McKinsey & Company for providing pro bono support for this important study.”

Social Finance is managing the United Way Miami Workforce Project, which has launched as a pilot program with training partner 4Geeks Academy to train Miami residents for careers in coding and programming technologies. Participants have the option to enroll in 4Geeks’ Full Stack Developer nine-week full-time program or 16-week part-time program at no upfront cost. More than 82% of 4Geeks students secure jobs in the field within a year of completing training. Interested participants can apply at

The United Way Miami Workforce Project has been structured as a Pay It Forward Fund to create a sustainable cycle of job training—the first of its kind in the state. Participants who find jobs earning more than a certain amount will repay the cost of their tuition via monthly payments, paying it forward into a common fund to support future learners. They may also be entitled to receive critical supportive services such as career coaching, living stipends, and emergency aid funds to help them graduate and succeed. The pilot will serve a total of 100 students. United Way and Social Finance anticipate the project will expand to training providers in other industries in the coming months, such as transportation and health care.

“We are excited to partner with United Way Miami and leverage generous funding from Mackenzie Scott to amplify economic opportunity in the Miami-Dade region,” said Tracy Palandjian, CEO and Co-Founder of Social Finance. “Through a Pay It Forward Fund, we will simultaneously help power the local economy and upskill workers to achieve economic mobility in a sustainable way, as successful graduates ‘pay it forward’ to support future learners.”

This initiative comes at a critical time, as Miamians continue to struggle with the social and economic upheaval triggered by the pandemic. More than half of households in Miami-Dade County are struggling to make ends meet or living in poverty. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, average weekly wages in Miami-Dade County are below the national average of $1,173, despite the fact that the cost of living exceeds the national average. Research shows that the pandemic has exacerbated already tenuous financial situations for the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) population.

“We are thrilled to be chosen as the first training partner for the United Way Miami Workforce Project,” said Marcelo Ricigliano, CEO of 4Geeks Academy. “The concept of upskilling our residents and empowering them with the tools they need to excel in their careers and improve their financial stability is one we have been committed to since we started in Miami in 2016.”

For more information about the program please visit

About United Way Miami

United Way Miami is a driving force in the community, successfully responding to emerging needs and transforming people’s lives. Since 1924, we have worked together with our network of donors, volunteers, and partners to generate and amplify resources and advocate for policies that improve the quality of life for all. We leverage our unique role as convener, strategic funder, service provider, awareness builder, and influencer so that everyone in Miami-Dade has access to quality education and the opportunity to lead healthy and financially secure lives—the building blocks of a thriving community. Learn more at

About Social Finance

Social Finance is a national impact finance and advisory nonprofit. We work with the public, private, and social sectors to create partnerships and investments that measurably improve lives. Since our founding in 2011, we have mobilized $350 million in new investments designed to help people and communities realize improved outcomes in education, economic mobility, health, and housing. In addition to managing the investment program funded by the Google Career Certificates Fund, our economic mobility portfolio includes the UP Fund, place-based Pay It Forward Funds, and the Dreamers Graduate Loan Fund. Learn more at

About 4Geeks Academy

Founded in 2016, 4Geeks Academy is a Miami-based coding school with campuses in the USA, Europe, and Latin America, devoted to empowering talent with code by providing flexible and premium educational experiences. 4Geeks is focused on becoming the most relevant career-boosting community for current and future developers. 4Geeks Academy is home-based in the U.S. with four coding programs available for students and has graduated over 2,650 graduates, and helped 82% of those completing the entire process to land a job in the field. Learn more at

Media Contacts:

United Way Miami
Stephanie Giner

Social Finance
Carrie Benjamin

Related News