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December 10, 2019

SAN DIEGO, CA — The Workforce Income Share Agreement (ISA) Learning Community, a project of the San Diego Workforce Partnership, has released its first resource for workforce boards and other entities interested in standing up student-centric income share agreement (ISA) funds in their local area—ISAs in Workforce Development: A Statement of Principles.

In the midst of a growing student debt crisis, ISAs offer a way for a students to transfer the financial risk of education to the educator, public sector and/or social impact investors. Under an ISA contract, a student agrees to pay a set percentage of future income only if they earn wages above an established threshold after graduation.

Those who fall below the threshold pay nothing, providing a sort of “insurance” against downturns in the labor market and unexpected personal events. These attractive characteristics have garnered increasing interest in ISAs over the last few years as an alternative mechanism to finance education.

The San Diego Workforce Partnership launched the Workforce ISA Fund in July 2019. It is the first ISA fund originated by a workforce board and presents a new tool for funding workforce education and training.

As with any tool, even promising solutions like an ISA can be misused without proper guardrails to ensure it is centered around student protections and success. Though a bill on ISAs was introduced in the Senate earlier this year by U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), legislative guardrails do not officially exist at this time.

To design ISAs in Workforce Development: A Statement of Principles, the Workforce Partnership collaborated with other workforce agencies who are exploring ISAs, including:

  • Colorado Workforce Development Council
  • Commonwealth Corporation (Massachusetts)
  • City of Minneapolis/City of Saint Paul/Greater Metropolitan Workforce Council
  • New York City Economic Development Corporation/New York City Department of Small Business Services
  • Philadelphia Works, Inc.
  • Workforce Centers of South-Central Kansas

It serves as a practical toolkit for workforce agencies seeking to implement ISAs in their local area.

This document also serves as a guidepost for consumers considering an ISA program by highlighting a list of the core features that the learning community believes all workforce development ISAs should include. The organizations acknowledge that ISAs are an evolving part of the field and intend the principles to be practicable and concrete without closing the door on new approaches to shared objectives.

About the San Diego Workforce Partnership

The Workforce Partnership is the leader for innovative workforce solutions in San Diego County. A joint powers authority (JPA) entity and 501c3 nonprofit, the Workforce Partnership funds and delivers programs that enable all job seekers to develop the skills and knowledge needed for in-demand careers. The Workforce Partnership also provides ongoing labor market research on the region’s workforce trends and key industries. Its vision is to ensure that every business in our region has access to a skilled workforce and every job seeker has access to meaningful employment. For more information, visit

About Lumina Foundation

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. The foundation envisions a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. Lumina’s goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.

Brooke Valle

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