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Pursuit looks to create a job training market


Pursuit looks to create a job training market


The Future. Non-profit organization Pursuit is expanding its job program, which teaches coding skills for free in exchange for a cut of their salary once they land a high-paying job. It’s a win for workers looking for upskill training but can’t afford college and a win for companies looking for a fresh pool of employees. With companies like Slack also expanding a similar program for those that need it most, job training in coding may soon become one of the most reliable ways to move up the economic ladder.

Code investment
Non-profit Pursuit believes that there is an entire financial market ready to scale in the world of job training.

  • Pursuit runs a job-training program that runs on a financial model called an income share agreement (ISA), which stipulates that once someone completes the subsidized free program, they’ll repay the costs from a percentage of their new higher earnings.
  • The job training is specifically designed for tech jobs, especially coding — one of the hottest job markets.
  • Participants must pay 5% of their salary if they make over $50,000, 10% if over $60,000, and 15% if over $70,000 for four years.
  • But if a participant doesn’t score a new higher-paying job (anything under $50,000), they don’t need to pay back a dime.

Started in 2016 with 104 participants; 89 completed the program, and 78 were hired. The average participant entered the program with about a $12,000 salary and graduated the program to take a job with a salary of $85,000. That’s life-changing.

The non-profit is funding the next iteration of the program (over 1,000 participants) via a $10 million bond to an investment firm and several philanthropic organizations at junk-bond interest rates (because betting on individual people is risky). But with Pursuit’s current results, that’s a risk community-minded investors may be willing to take.

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