United Way Miami’s Human Resources and Social Finance Project Evaluation Presentation to Senior Miami Residents


“We are immensely appreciative of Ms. Scott’s incredibly kind donation and are looking forward to using it to support Miami-Dade County residents’ professional progress. We also acknowledge the free support McKinsey & Company provided for this significant project.”

The United Way Miami Workforce Project has been structured as a Pay It Forward Fund to create a sustainable cycle of job training – the first of its kind in the state. Participants who find jobs earning more than a certain amount, will repay the cost of their tuition via monthly payments, paying it forward into a common fund to support future learners. They may also be entitled to receive critical supportive services such as career coaching, living stipends, and emergency aid funds to help them graduate and succeed. The pilot will serve a total of 100 students. United Way and Social Finance anticipate the project will expand to training providers in other industries in the coming months, such as transportation and healthcare.

This initiative comes at a critical time, as Miamians continue to struggle with the social and economic upheaval triggered by the pandemic. More than half of households in Miami-Dade County are struggling to make ends meet or living in poverty. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, average weekly wages in Miami-Dade County are below the national average of $1,173, despite the fact that the cost of living exceeds the national average. Research shows that the pandemic has exacerbated already tenuous financial situations for the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) population.

“We are excited to partner with United Way Miami and leverage generous funding from Mackenzie Scott to amplify economic opportunity in the Miami-Dade region,” said Tracy Palandjian, CEO and Co-Founder of Social Finance. “Through a Pay It Forward Fund, we will simultaneously help power the local economy and upskill workers to achieve economic mobility in a sustainable way, as successful graduates ‘pay it forward’ to support future learners.”

Story Highlights

  • “We carried out a thorough investigation that includes focus groups with various stakeholder groups and a meticulous examination of what is causing financial instability in our neighbourhood. We came to the conclusion that the best way to help our residents get useful skills and land higher-paying employment is a workforce development programme with student-friendly financing “stated Mary Donworth, Chief Program Officer at United Way Miami.

  • The United Way Miami Workforce Project is being managed by Social Finance, and it has begun as a pilot programme to prepare Miami citizens for professions in coding and programming technologies with training partner 4Geeks Academy. The 9-week full-time or 16-week part-time 4Geeks Full Stack Developer programme is available to participants without any up-front costs. Within a year of finishing their programme, more than 82 percent of 4Geeks students land jobs in their chosen fields.

“We are thrilled to be chosen as the first training partner for the United Way Miami Workforce Project,” said Marcelo Ricigliano, CEO of 4Geeks Academy. “The concept of upskilling our residents and empowering them with the tools they need to excel in their careers and improve their financial stability is one we have been committed to since we started in Miami in 2016.”