The $1 Billion Wage Gain Challenge
Together, we will drive $10,000 in annual wage increases for at least 100,000 low- and middle-income US workers by 2021.
The $1 Billion Wage Gain Challenge is a moonshot to address wage stagnation.
Our goal is to help fuel a movement that results in meaningful wage gains for workers across the country. Much like the concept of a $1 billion “unicorn” startup in Silicon Valley, this is a $1 billion unicorn to grow the middle class. We’ll encourage the workforce field to explore innovative approaches and call on players from other fields to address this challenge.
This challenge focuses on one tangible metric: raising the annual wages of at least 100,000 US workers by $10,000 or more by 2021. In doing so, we intend to identify, spotlight, and accelerate effective and promising ways to meaningfully increase annual incomes and expand the middle class.
Over 90 ideas were submitted. After review by thought leaders and subject matter experts, including JFF leadership, we selected seven finalists. These finalists presented their ideas in San Diego on April 8 at ASU GSV X Summit, a preeminent, international conference focused on education, workforce, and technology. The event served as a platform for finalists to get the exposure and traction needed to truly address the challenge of creating shared prosperity. The event included live presentations, judging, and winner selection.
The competition is supported by Schmidt Futures and was complementary and connected to its efforts in the Alliance for the American Dream. Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative, founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, that bets early on people who will make our world better — helping people to achieve more for others by applying advanced science and technology thoughtfully and by working together across fields.
Cell-Ed Works is an intelligent, end-to-end mobile solution that provides today’s workforce with access to personalized skill building, career coaching, and placement in higher paid jobs. It guides workers at scale in assessing their skills and potential to earn higher wages in their region.
The Economic Mobility Exchange
EMPath transforms lives by helping families move out of poverty and providing other organizations with the tools to do the same systematically. EMPath’s Mobility Mentoring is a 1:1 coaching model that helps participants cope with the stress of poverty and create a pathway to a better future.
Carolina Fintech Hub
In Carolina Fintech Hub’s six-month program, participants receive over 700 hours of software programming instruction, soft skills training, and on-the-job experience, all while being paid a living wage. Upon completion, participants will transition to full-time employment with a sponsor organization.
Code Nation’s program provides technical training, professional access, and creative competency-building to underserved youth in tech hubs across the country. The program operates with the support of over 300 volunteer tech professionals.
Complete Florida PLAN Program
Complete Florida’s Prior Learning Assessment Navigation program aligns workforce-relevant skills with academics by creating individual e-portfolio upskilling pathways and a database of industry training courses assessed for college credit equivalency.
Penn Foster Employer Network
Penn Foster will build on its success engaging and educating roughly 200,000 learners per year by strengthening employer partnerships, particularly in verticals with significant hiring challenges, and directly supporting learners with innovative, mobile, and VR technology.
Refactored.ai is an interactive, on-demand data science and analytics career training platform. Through a learn-by-doing approach, personalized learning paths, real-time data assessments and AI-driven feedback, learners are able to immediately grasp and apply new skills at all stages of their career.
Watch the Finalist Pitches
Maria Flynn, president and CEO of JFF
The challenge was based on the belief that wage gains are a linchpin to America’s long-term economic strength. Reversing wage stagnation is the domestic moonshot of our generation.