Model & Strategy

Merit America programs combine tech-enabled learning with best-in-class professional coaching and peer support, helping participants build the mindset and grit they need to progress over time. They’re not just getting Americans back to work in the short term—they are putting them on pathways to more resilient, upwardly-mobile careers. Everything Merit America has built is designed to scale: over the next five years, they are on a path to serve 25,000+ learners and drive $1 billion in wage gains. There are three major components of the Merit America model:

  • They identify good jobs. Merit America regularly analyzes tens of millions of job postings across the country to map high-potential jobs markets and the specific jobs that offer the shortest path to higher wages.
  • They prepare workers for those jobs. Merit America builds flexible, part-time training programs that build on workers’ existing skills and address employers’ specific talent needs. Their programs are designed to work for people who work.
  • Merit America places their grads into those jobs. They partner with a broad constellation of local and national employers like JPMorgan Chase, Amazon, and Infosys to place learners into upwardly mobile careers.
Merit America logo
At a Glance
Founded: 2018
Economic Empowerment
Location of work: Domestic
Merit America
Washington, DC
Closing the skills gap at scale
A young sharp dressed black man stands at a podium to address a crowd gathered for a Merit America event
Meet Rebecca Taber Staehelin & Connor Diemand-Yauman

Rebecca has spent the past decade focusing on education-for-employment across the private, public and social sectors; working as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, serving as an education advisor for the Governor of Delaware, and working as Coursera’s Director of Government and Nonprofit Partnerships.

Connor charted a similarly wide-ranging career in education, co-founding Philanthropy U, leading the B2B vertical at Coursera, and founding “Speak Smart News,” an educational program distributed to 10 million East Asian learners.


Merit America launched cohorts with 1,000+ learners in multiple learning tracks: Information Technology, Java Development, Customer Success, Tech Sales & Project Management, and more to come.

80%+ of Merit America’s learners graduate and the majority of job-seeking graduates secure new careers within 6 months, with an average wage gain of $20.3K per learner placed.