About Us

Merit America is a national nonprofit organization that creates fast, flexible pathways to family-sustaining careers for Americans stuck in low-wage jobs.

✓ Our “Why”

Our “Why”

The American economy is broken. Today 53 million working adults – nearly half of the U.S. workforce–do not earn a living wage. And these workers have few options to advance: college is too long and expensive, full-time bootcamp programs don’t offer the flexibility they need, and online courses don’t have the structure or support to translate learning into a new job. This catch-22 perpetuates a cycle of poverty – talented workers stuck in low-wage roles, with no way to advance their ambition for themselves and their families.

✓ Our Model

Our Model

By combining technical training from industry-recognized partners with best-in-class coaching and peer support, Merit America builds a pathway for hundreds of thousands of workers in low-wage roles to move into the middle class. Our fast, flexible programs prepare working adults to start careers in IT Support, Java Development, Data Analytics, UX Design, Cybersecurity and Project Management. We drive change by:

  • Partnering with institutions who serve low-income workers to efficiently recruit learners
  • Combining tech and touch to create the best learning experiences at the lowest costs per student
  • Working with employers like JPMC, Amazon, and IBM to introduce them to talent for entry-level positions
  • Collaborating with partners, such as Social Finance and Google, to provide $0 upfront training
✓ Our Impact

Our Impact

Merit America is on a mission to generate $1 billion of wage gains by 2025, connecting talented learners to in-demand career paths at scale. To date, we have served more than 9,000 individuals across multiple career tracks. An analysis by UVA found that, on average, our alums witness a $24,000/year wage increase three or more months after completing our program.

Most importantly, learners move from feeling stuck in a low-wage job to having a career they love, with growth potential for the future.

A Look Inside: 2023 Impact Report Highlights

Pictured on the cover, from left, are Merit America alums Henry Gage, Monique Harley and Alix Petkov.

2023 by the numbers

The results of our second longitudinal wage analysis with UVA show that we’ve maintained or increased our impact across all metrics, even as we’ve scaled 3x. Read More

Innovative Learner Financing

With the backing of the $100 million Google Career Certificates Fund, we’ve broadened our commitment to providing learner-friendly financing options.
Read More

Program Tracks: What’s next?

With the launch of three new tracks in 2023, our vision is to grow from primarily tech tracks to include a wide range of content and certificates. Read More

✓ Our History

Our History

Founded in 2018 by Rebecca Taber Staehelin and Connor Diemand-Yauman, leaders in education policy and online learning platforms, Merit America has been recognized by Fast Company as one of its 2022 Most Innovative Companies and covered by the New York Times, CNBC and the Wall Street Journal. Funders of Merit America include Blue Meridian Partners, Google.org, Walmart Foundation, Schmidt Futures, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, and Strada Education Network.

Learn more about our team –>

✓ FAQs
Two employees collaborating on a project.

Frequently Asked Questions

Not sure where to begin?

Learn more about how you can break into a new career