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Education at Work Granted $500,000 from Salesforce to Help Students Earn While They Learn

The nonprofit organization Education at Work (EAW) has received a $500,000 grant from customer relationship management company Salesforce's charitable Salesforce Foundation to develop a hybrid "learn and earn" program to help students across the U.S. work part-time for Fortune 500 companies, learn new skills, and pay for college.

EAW will also build a new facility at Salesforce Tower in Indianapolis to provide opportunities for 200 area students by 2025 to learn and earn with major companies.

The work-based learning nonprofit allows students to earn up to $5,250 in tuition assistance while gaining valuable on-the-job skills. Recruitment and hiring of local students is currently in process during the last months of 2023, the organization said.

EAW will also design and build a technology platform for companies to hire and manage students remotely, it said. This will give students with tech skills opportunities to work part time on a flexible schedule.

"The traditional way that students earn money to pay for college is broken," said Jane Swift, Education at Work president and former Massachusetts governor. "We've found a way to flip the script by bringing employers to the table, helping to dramatically boost student earnings and significantly reduce financial barriers to college completion. This generous grant will accelerate our impact and help more students access flexible work experiences and earn money to offset the total cost of college attendance — all while developing transferable skill sets that will help them succeed in the workplace long after graduation."

In its decade of existence, EAW said it has funded over $100 million in combined wages and tuition assistance for almost 8,000 students, saving them nearly $15,000 in debt by the end of their college careers. Its campus-based partnerships include Arizona State University, Northern Kentucky University, and the University of Utah.

"Eighty-six percent of graduates are employed full time within 90 days post-graduation in comparison to a national sample of college graduates (69%)," the organization said.

"Empowering our students to become the workforce of tomorrow isn't just about imparting knowledge — it's also about increasing financial access to education and fostering opportunities for professional growth and connection," said Becky Ferguson, Salesforce Foundation CEO. "The Salesforce Foundation is proud to support Education at Work as they work to expand these pathways for student success."

About the Author

Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.

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