SAN FRANCISCO – May 14, 2024 – Merit America, a national nonprofit dedicated to preparing workers in low-wage roles for family-sustaining careers, today announced a strategic partnership with Crankstart through a $15,600,000 multi-year grant to build a ladder to economic mobility for Bay Area residents who are stuck in low-wage work by facilitating tech skills training and providing career coaching. Merit America’s partnership with Crankstart has the potential to reach over 2,000 individuals across the Bay Area and California, driving approximately $200 million in wage gains.

“Busting out of the confinement of low-income jobs is one tough task, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is why Crankstart has teamed up with Merit America which, over the past few years, has helped members of low income communities across the nation improve their standard of life,” said Michael Moritz, Co-Founder and Chairman at Crankstart Foundation. “Merit America’s presence in the Bay Area–where the costs of college tuition and rents continue to rise–attends to the urgent need for effective programs to help low wage earners along their path to a brighter future.”

Since its founding in 2018, Merit America has served 10,000 learners across the country, helping them move from low-wage jobs to family-sustaining careers. Crankstart’s philanthropic support allows Merit America to formally launch and expand its services in the Bay Area through strategic partnerships with community organizations, education systems, and employers.

While the Bay Area has one of the most highly educated populations in the country, half of its residents still do not possess college degrees. For local residents who completed high school but do not have a bachelor’s degree, the median annual salary is $31,400. As a solution, Merit America’s programs provide a pathway to family-sustaining wages for workers stuck in low-wage roles. To date, more than 700 California residents have completed the program, and a recent analysis by the University of Virginia found that, on average, Merit America alumni experience a $24,000 wage increase three or more months after completing the program.

“We’re deeply grateful for Crankstart’s commitment to support the future of the Bay Area workforce,” said Connor Diemand Yauman, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Merit America. “As a Bay Area resident myself, I’m honored to contribute to the advancement of a region that holds such a special place in my heart. Through this partnership, we’ll create economic opportunity for thousands of talented residents stuck in low-wage roles while potentially driving hundreds of millions of dollars of wage gains into California’s economy.”

To learn more about Merit America and its programs, visit



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 access to 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 adults across the country, driving an average annual wage gain of $24,000 for alumni three months or more after program completion. We’re on track to drive $1B in wage gains by 2025. For more information, visit