Our Bold Idea
Promoting economic advancement for all is JFF’s singular focus—and we’re transforming the American education and workforce systems to get there. We’re working with schools, corporations, government agencies, and philanthropies to design and scale new ways to help individuals achieve their goals.
But it’s not enough to seed boutique programs or models that are forever dependent on philanthropy. We need to develop programs and tools that can be financed by governments, employers, businesses, and capital markets—an approach that can unlock trillions of dollars to help make impact at scale. We will do so as a way to close the employment opportunity gap faced by millions of individuals nationwide.
JFF is launching the Financing the Future initiative, a robust national conversation and call to action on reimagining the way that we finance education and skills development. Tinkering around the margins of our existing systems will not make a dent in the massive training needs of many Americans who cannot advance economically without the right skills or get those skills without incurring insurmountable debt. We must modernize education financing structures to ensure that everyone has access to the financial support they need to learn the skills required to be successful.
Financing the Future will take a big-tent approach, bringing together the perspectives of stakeholders from across the political spectrum, with input from educators, financiers and the private sector, policymakers, and students themselves. We will grapple with the social contract and the role of public support for education and training. We’ll also examine what roles individuals, corporations, and philanthropies must play if we are to realize our goal of equal opportunity for all.
Over the next few years, we will spur conversation and action across an array of innovative approaches to financing—from income share agreements (ISA) to blended-finance vehicles, individual training accounts, and expansions of federal aid. We know there will not be a single solution that will meet the needs of every person in every situation. There are no silver bullets here. Our work will explore each innovative financing approach and identify the opportunities, the challenges, and the individuals most likely to benefit.
One of our first efforts will explore income share agreements. This emerging approach is heralded by some as the solution to all of the challenges of education financing, but is seen by others as a dangerous and exploitative way to transfer the burden of financing to individuals. The truth is surely somewhere in the middle. Through our engagement, JFF seeks to clarify the issues, help identify guardrails that ensure responsible innovation and experimentation, and catalyze new scalable and equitable ISA models—all with the goal of keeping the needs of students and families at the center of the dialogue.
Why JFF Supports an Income Share Agreement
Our team is made up of individuals who are experts in the fields of policy, education, technology, workforce, human capital, economic development, and corporate consulting. Together, we bring a diverse set of experiences and skills that amplify the guidance we can offer corporate partners, ensuring that the impact is felt across workers, businesses, and communities.
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