Merit America, a national workforce development nonprofit, has announced the appointment of Lal Jones-Bey as its inaugural Chief Financial Officer (CFO). 

In his new role as CFO, Jones-Bey will oversee all aspects of Merit America’s financial management, working closely with the finance team and board of directors.

As a member of the executive team, he will also guide decision-making and financial strategy to meet and exceed the organization’s targets, which include driving $1 billion in cumulative wage gains for Americans stuck in low-wage roles by 2025. 

“Family-sustaining careers are out of reach for far too many Americans and, for the health of our society and communities, that must be addressed,” said Jones-Bey.

I look forward to working with the talented team at Merit America to build on the organization’s strong foundation and to help even more individuals unlock new career opportunities.

Jones-Bey brings a wealth of experience to the role, having worked for a range of education organizations, including charter schools KIPP Northern California and Making Waves Academy, as well as education technology companies Coursera and Schoolzilla. 

Most recently, he served as Chief Operating Officer with The Oakland REACH, a parent advocacy organization that works to ensure that children have access to high-quality education.

“Merit America is building a financially sustainable model with disruptively low costs to enable our rapid scale,” said Merit America Co-Founder and Co-CEO Rebecca Taber Stahelin. “Lal’s arrival comes at a momentous period of growth, and we’re thrilled to lean on expertise to transform our financial aspirations into operational realities.”

Jones-Bey holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Stanford Graduate School of Business. In his personal time, Lal enjoys spending time with his fiancee, Tanya, and his three children, Khalil, Khari and Chaya.



Merit America is a national nonprofit preparing workers stuck in low-wage roles for family-sustaining careers at scale. Named by the New York Times as “the hybrid future of training programs for the disadvantaged,” we offer fast and flexible training and job search programs that work for working adults, and are aligned to the most in-demand roles in the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy. Founded in 2018, we now serve thousands of working learners across the country, driving an average annual wage gain of nearly $19,000 for those who complete the program. We are on track to support $1B in wage gains by 2025. For more information, visit