The Future of Upskilling is Here: Webinar Recap

Voices August 25, 2020

“On Aug. 20, Blue Meridian Partners, General Assembly, and Social Finance hosted a webinar on the Career Impact Bond (CIB), an impact-first income-share agreement (ISA) that helps people who are underemployed or unemployed access career training and get good jobs.

Blue Meridian Partners Chief Investment and Impact Officer Jim Shelton moderated the conversation, which included General Assembly Co-Founder and outgoing CEO Jake Schwartz, Social Finance CEO Tracy Palandjian, and Branden LaCour, a General Assembly CIB graduate and software engineer at HGS Digital in Chicago.

Shelton, formerly the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, began by providing some important context on the current education and job training landscape: Both public and private institutions are paid for getting students in the door, but are not similarly incentivized to achieve key student outcomes like graduation or job placement.

‘We have lots of reasons to be proud of higher education,” Shelton said. “We created a system to create real pathways to upward mobility built into our middle class. And we created real on-ramps for access for many people and we forgot one really important thing: graduation. The mechanism for financing schools today allows people to get paid whether students actually get a good outcome or not. The question is, can you realign the incentives so that the students’ best outcome is the best outcome for the institutions?’

The CIB is designed to realign incentives to achieve the best outcomes for students like LaCour, who kicked off the discussion by talking about his past life as a part-time bartender and engineer.”

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