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Cell-Ed Works and EMPath Selected as JFF’s $1 Billion Wage Gain Challenge Winners at ASU GSV Summit

April 9, 2019

JFF powers leading ideas in a movement toincrease wages of U.S. workers to drive transformational impact

San Diego, CA, and Boston, MA – April 9, 2019JFF, a national nonprofit that drives transformation in the Americanworkforce and education systems, today announced Cell-Ed Works and EMPath asthe winners of the $1 Billion Wage Gain Challenge. Supported by SchmidtFutures, this competition soughtideas to raise the annual wages of at least 100,000 workers by $10,000 or moreby the end of 2021 for a total impact of $1 billion. The purpose of thechallenge was to address the national issue of wage stagnation.

Cell-Ed Works wasselected for its mobile-first career coaching and support service. EMPath wonfor its brain science-informed mentoring platform. Both focus on increasing thewages of low-income Americans.

Despite a healthyeconomy, many workers in the United States only receive a small slice of thenation’s income for their work and contributions to U.S. productivity. Thewages of middle-class workers have grown just 6 percent and those of low-wageworkers have fallen by 5 percent since 1979, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Additionally, according to the Pew Research Center, wages for the average U.S. worker have barelymoved in 40 years. While there has been modest wage growth, it is not at thescale needed to make good on the American promise of opportunity and economicadvancement for all.

We look forward to working with JFF to make progress on this national imperative.

Thomas Kalil, chief innovation officer of Schmidt Futures

“The challenge was basedon the belief that wage gains are a linchpin to America’s long-term economicstrength. Reversing wage stagnation is the domestic moonshot of our generation,” said Maria Flynn,president and CEO of JFF. “Congratulations to Cell-Ed Works and EMPath fortheir stellar ideas. And many thanks to all of the other finalists and judgeswho helped showcase the very best ideas to emerge from the challenge here atASU GSV. We look forward to supporting this work in fueling a new movement toincrease wages for American workers.” 

“It is exciting tosee all of the creative ideas generated by the $1 Billion Wage GainChallenge,” said Thomas Kalil, chief innovation officer of SchmidtFutures. “We look forward to working with JFF to make progress on thisnational imperative.” 

Launched at JFF’snational summit, Horizons 2018, JFF called on innovators, educators,policymakers, and employers to share their wage gain ideas as part of thechallenge. The competition was supported by SchmidtFutures and the Alliance forthe American Dream. More than 90 ideas were submitted. After review by thoughtleaders and subject matter experts, including JFF leadership, seven finalists were selected to present their ideas at the ASUGSV Summit. JFF is also a proud partner of the 2019 ASU GSV Summit.

About JFF

JFF is a nationalnonprofit that drives transformation in the American workforce and educationsystems. For 35 years, JFF has led the way in designing innovative and scalablesolutions that create access to economic advancement for all. Join us as we builda future that works.  

About Schmidt Futures

Schmidt Futures is aphilanthropic initiative, founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, that bets early onpeople who will make our world better — helping people to achieve more forothers by applying advanced science and technology thoughtfully and by workingtogether across fields. Learn more at 

Contact information:

Karyl Levinson

VP, Communications, JFF