Model & Strategy

Propel America brings together high schools, local employers, community colleges, and other training organizations into a unified system of career navigation, job training, job placement, and ongoing education for recent high school graduates, thereby meeting employment needs and helping young adults navigate the path from high school into a locally in-demand career.

The Propel model enables students to consider a variety of pathways while still in high school or soon after high school. Then, it supports them as they secure relevant credentials, covering the cost of their training and helping them launch on a path to a strong middleskill job with professional growth potential. At the same time, Propel addresses the middle-skill worker shortage by helping local employers find employees who are informed and prepared.

At a Glance
Founded: 2018
Co-founder and CEO: Paymon Rouhanifard
Education
Location of work: Domestic, Northeast
Propel America
Boston, MA
Aspiring to the day when there is a viable path to prosperity for every high school graduate in America.
Meet Paymon Rouhanifard

Prior to starting Propel America, co-founder and CEO Paymon Rouhanifard spent nearly a decade working in and leading major urban school districts. He worked in the New York City Department of Education, was the Chief Strategy Officer for Newark Public Schools, and most recently served as the Superintendent for Camden City Schools in New Jersey.

It was in Camden where Paymon began thinking more about what he perceived to be a false choice facing his and so many other high school students across the country. Students were either forestalling income and accruing debt toward a traditional degree that many would not complete, or forestalling education to work in low-wage, low-mobility jobs.

He saw top students struggle, many of whom enrolled in college only to de-enroll and work in entry-level retail or service-oriented jobs. Through it all, he saw potential for a way forward. Across his career, Paymon had met employers that spoke of well-paying, hard-to-fill jobs requiring a postsecondary credential with opportunities for advancement. He came to realize there was a “third way” — a postsecondary option that involved both college and an affordable, quicker path to financial stability.

Alongside Louisiana Superintendent John White, Paymon decided to create a system through which more students could access well-paying middle-skill jobs, with many options for post-secondary success.

Prior to his tenure in education, Paymon spent several years in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and AEA Investors. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science from UNC Chapel Hill.

Impact

For the 2020-21 school year, Propel America will serve over 800 students across 28 high school partnerships and boot camps in Propel’s four states (Louisiana, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island).

Propel America has partnered with 10 community colleges and training partners and 20 employers, through which they will place approximately 200-250 fellows into careers in healthcare, advanced manufacturing, information technology, auto mechanics, and the building trades.

  • Our team came together last week for our first in-person all-staff retreat in over 2 yrs! Thanks to our PHL team fo… https://t.co/Z9fz9hDRQo
  • RT @ASA_Impact: Many of today's education & workforce challenges stem from an outdated mindset that positions college as the only path to s…
  • Why wait? We're accepting applications for our fall fellowship. Deadline is July 8th. Apply today!… https://t.co/PwnL4zwuyf
  • Excited to be in New Orleans for #JFFHorizons! Our President, Chad Rountree, and Chief Ex Aff Officer, Claire Denni… https://t.co/Q1Bxl6RY6s
  • Next week, one of our partners, @SWPN_Newark will be hosting a webinar entitled “ADVOCACY IN ACTION: AFRICAN-AMERIC… https://t.co/tOf9pmAOxr
  • Train debt free. Learn with support. Earn a stipend during training. Start your career in 2022. Apply today at:… https://t.co/tbD3KSTFv9
  • RT @NationalLouisU: We invite you to join us tomorrow for NLU’s Virtual Open House to access your many educational opportunities. Drop by b…
  • Are you ready to start your healthcare career this summer? Our summer application deadline is today! But don't wo… https://t.co/WhNYkiaFx9
  • If you are between 18-24 and ready to begin your career in healthcare, our deadline for summer start is Tuesday, Ma… https://t.co/aPhM4Glro9
  • Meet one of our newly accepted Newark fellows! Welcome, Jalen! We are so thrilled to have you in our program! Have… https://t.co/UM6tPgnFyn
  • At Propel America, our coaches take the lead in teaching, guiding, and supporting our fellows to reach their career… https://t.co/A9dgGZCSO8
  • Propel is conducting interviews for our programs. Do you get nervous before your interviews? We are sharing a few i… https://t.co/M1PnKrOrC5
  • Big shout out and thanks to @MPTCS for inviting us to attend the Life after Graduation Fair. We love meeting future… https://t.co/6NkPjXg4tJ
  • Our accepted fellows will be receiving letters of congratulations from our team through the mail! Will you be getti… https://t.co/D2sZiJWTA2
  • RT @SWPN_Newark: In partnership with #NBOEParentUniversity, the K-12 CAN's #TodayMatters Webinar Series will be hosting its THIRD webinar o…
  • Our fellows are consistently putting in the work to practice their newly learned skills. Our Camden, NJ fellows wer… https://t.co/FB97HLksV7
  • Coaches at Propel America ensure recent high school graduates are hired by employers into thriving wage jobs and ea… https://t.co/ESsLufud60
  • Wondering how our program works? Do you have unanswered questions? Join one of our information sessions to learn a… https://t.co/0FEgqboVYj
  • Great news! You still have time to apply to Propel America starting this summer! Our application deadline has been… https://t.co/oVF52UKrsy
  • It's always a pleasure meeting prospective fellows and speaking to you about your goals! Big thanks to… https://t.co/zNlwJ0RGjr