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What Happens When Capital Catalyzes Critical Change

ECMC Foundation’s Partnership with ETF@JFFLabs Supports Entrepreneurs Driving Real Outcomes for Adult Learners.

April 20, 2020

By Yigal Kerszenbaum, Joann Chen, and Tyler Nakatsu at JFFLabs

Crisis calls for innovation. The public health crisis and economic shock brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic—and the acute impact the upheaval on both fronts has had on the most vulnerable members of our society—calls for innovation now more than ever.

Historically, traditional investors funding workforce innovations have overlooked the needs of low- and middle-skill workers, instead prioritizing solutions designed to deliver advanced training to white-collar workers in higher-paying professions. Over time, this has exacerbated already significant inequities in our workforce, leaving millions of low- and middle-skill workers on the sidelines of technological innovation. In the current economic downturn, these economic inequalities and disparities will likely deepen and leave millions more without access to quality employment opportunities.

This is a momentous challenge. But it also represents a significant opportunity to have a meaningful social impact by investing in technologies that help underserved adults develop valuable skills and gain access to meaningful work.

ETF@JFFLabs, the investment arm of JFF, is meeting this opportunity by providing financing to entrepreneurs who are building scalable, high-growth companies that assist underserved adult learners—those overlooked by traditional workforce and education systems, technologies, and market players.

We are proud to have partnered with catalytic sources of capital to support our work. One key partner is ECMC Foundation. With their support, we made our first set of investments in high-impact startups—Cell-Ed, Climb Credit, Embodied Labs, Nepris, NorthStar, SkillSmart, PAIRIN, and CareAcademy—all of which are creating a more equitable future of work. To celebrate its support of these efforts, the Foundation produced a video that profiles ETF@JFFLabs and our portfolio companies. Watch it here:

ECMC Foundation has played a meaningful role in developing the ecosystem of diverse entrepreneurs in the employment technology sector. Together, we’re able to support stellar entrepreneurs not only through financial investment, but also with advice and guidance regarding their operations, growth strategies, and impact. With partners like ECMC Foundation, we will continue to support world-class innovations that will lead to improved opportunities for underserved workers as they navigate the challenges ahead.

Learn more about ETF@JFFLabs, our portfolio partners, and the mission driving this work today.

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