RALEIGH, N.C., Aug. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Merit America, a nonprofit that partners with major employers to prepare workers to thrive in higher-wage jobs, today announced the expansion of its program to North Carolina. The Raleigh-Durham program, which joins Merit America’s existing sites in the greater Washington, DC region and Dallas-Fort Worth, was developed in partnership with major tech employers including Amazon, Google and Infosys.
«The Raleigh-Durham area’s fast-growing technology community has a critical role to play in ensuring an equitable economic recovery after COVID-19,» said Mary-Ann Baldwin, mayor of Raleigh. «Forward-thinking partnerships between local employers like Infosys, and training providers focused on the region’s most in-demand skills, can help create new pathways to opportunity for displaced workers across the region.»
«The turmoil of the past few months has exacerbated both the persistent talent shortages faced by Research Triangle tech employers, and the endemic equity gaps that are pervasive throughout the U.S. workforce,» said Steve Schewel, mayor of Durham. «Partnerships like this one are helping to not only address urgent economic needs in the region — but also begin the process of building a more just, resilient economy in the months and years to come.»
The Research Triangle has quickly become one of the nation’s hubs of tech talent: over the past five years, the number of tech jobs in the region has grown at double the rate of the country as a whole. Demand for tech jobs has continued even in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 20,000 positions still open across the state as of last month. In response, employers across the region are in search of new strategies that can both close talent gaps and build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
«For so many workers across North Carolina, the tech industry can provide a pathway to stable and fulfilling careers at a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty,» said Ravi Kumar, President and Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Infosys. «Merit America’s dynamic approach to skills-based training is enabling us to diversify our workforce and identify exceptionally qualified individuals in the region.»
Founded in 2018, Merit America works with leading employers to build new pathways to upwardly mobile careers for Americans without college degrees. Its unique model, which brings together career-aligned online learning programs with hands-on mentorship, has led to an average salary increase of more than $18,000 for hundreds of graduates in Washington, DC, and Dallas. In the months since social distancing measures have taken effect, Merit America has adapted all of its programs to continue serving working learners through an all-online model that incorporates both academic support and personalized coaching.
«Workers without college degrees have borne the brunt of the economic downturn from the pandemic — and often have limited access to the training and support that can help them shift into new careers,» said Connor Diemand-Yauman, co-CEO of Merit America. «As a hotspot of one of the country’s fastest-growing industries, North Carolina is uniquely positioned to provide those resources — in ways that can accelerate economic mobility for the workers who need it most.»
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SOURCE Merit America