Press Release: Workforce Partnership Awarded $1.2M to Connect Education to Employment Through Student Loan Alternative

February 20, 2019

UCSD and the San Diego Workforce Partnership Among First in Nation to Offer Income Share Agreements Thanks to Grant from Strada Education Network

SAN DIEGO, CA — The San Diego Workforce Partnership was named as a winner of a philanthropic funding contest by national nonprofit Strada Education Network. The Workforce Partnership was awarded $1.2M to increase access and diversity in tech through income share agreements (ISAs), a student loan alternative by which a student agrees to pay a small proportion of their income for a set period of time.


The Workforce Partnership will use its grant to stand up the Workforce ISA Fund, which will offer individuals from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in tech an opportunity to enter one of UC San Diego Extension’s distinguished certificate programs in areas such as front-end web development, Java programming, business intelligence or digital marketing. The workforce development board and public education institution will be among the first in the country to offer ISAs.


“With this investment, we are able to provide a new way for people to access opportunity and for businesses to find talent,” said Andy Hall, Workforce Partnership COO. “This project will provide access to the skills, opportunities and networks needed for people to break in to San Diego’s booming innovation economy. And then, when people are successful after the program, they will ‘pay it forward’ with a small percentage of their income for the students coming behind them, giving the project the ability to sustain itself long after the initial grant ends.”


“These anchor funds for our ISA partnership will expand the reach of the university and lower the barrier to underrepresented individuals in the tech sector,” said Dr. Josh Shapiro, UC San Diego Extension Assistant Dean of Research Affairs. “By shifting the financial risk away from students, this innovative partnership will provide equal opportunity and access to world-class education, while optimizing the university’s interest in student outcomes. This initiative embodies Extension’s mission to be a catalyst for inclusive economic, intellectual and cultural growth.”


According to recent data from the Strada-Gallup Education Consumer Survey, individuals who view their educational experience as relevant to the world of work are far more likely to complete their education and report that their learning was worth the cost. Employers also indicate that they prefer to hire people who gain practical work experience as they study. 


The Workforce Partnership was selected from hundreds of applicants in the “innovative solutions in education-to-employment” competition Strada Education Network announced in 2018, which prioritized investment in working adults required to upskill as the labor market shifts and “disconnected youth,” aged 18 to 24 years old, who are neither working nor in school.


“No one sector can close skill and equity gaps alone. All of the recipients share our commitment to engaging with an ecosystem of educators, community organizations and employers to help individuals bridge the divide between education and economic opportunity,” said William D. Hansen, president and CEO of Strada Education Network. “We’re excited to support the San Diego Workforce Partnership. They’re listening to education consumers as well as employers, and designing solutions that are relevant to the real-world challenges—and opportunities—today’s students face.” 


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MEDIA CONTACT: Desiree Roughton, (619) 228-2959, desiree@workforce.org


About the San Diego Workforce Partnership The Workforce Partnership is the leader for innovative workforce solutions in San Diego County. Since 1974, the organization has funded and delivered job training 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. Our 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 workforce.org.


About UC San Diego Extension UC San Diego serves the lifelong learning and skill development needs of individuals, organizations and the community. UC San Diego Extension offers year-round continuing and professional education through practical and applied learning designed to promote relevancy and currency in your career field or personal growth. The online and in-person formats for certificate and degree related programs, community partnerships, public-service lectures and special events meet the evolving needs of our students, businesses and the larger community. As an integral part of UC San Diego, Extension programs are developed with the same rigor and standard of excellence upheld by the University. For more information visit extension.ucsd.edu.


About Strada Education NetworkStrada Education Network® is a national nonprofit dedicated to improving lives by catalyzing more direct and promising pathways between education and employment. The Network engages partners across education, nonprofits, business and government to focus relentlessly on students’ success throughout all phases of their working lives. Together, they address critical college to career challenges through strategic philanthropy, research and insights, and mission-aligned affiliates — all focused on advancing the universal right to realized potential called Completion With a Purpose®. Learn more at StradaEducation.org.