Cell-Ed Works and EMPath Selected as JFF’s $1 Billion Wage Gain Challenge Winners at ASU GSV Summit

Published apr. 09, 2019

JFF powers leading ideas in a movement to increase wages of U.S. workers to drive transformational impact

San Diego, CA, and Boston, MA – April 9, 2019JFF, a national nonprofit that drives transformation in the American workforce and education systems, today announced Cell-Ed Works and EMPath as the winners of the $1 Billion Wage Gain Challenge. Supported by Schmidt Futures, this competition sought ideas to raise the annual wages of at least 100,000 workers by $10,000 or more by the end of 2021 for a total impact of $1 billion. The purpose of the challenge was to address the national issue of wage stagnation.

Cell-Ed Works was selected for its mobile-first career coaching and support service. EMPath won for its brain science-informed mentoring platform. Both focus on increasing the wages of low-income Americans.

Despite a healthy economy, many workers in the United States only receive a small slice of the nation’s income for their work and contributions to U.S. productivity. The wages of middle-class workers have grown just 6 percent and those of low-wage workers have fallen by 5 percent since 1979, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Additionally, according to the Pew Research Center, wages for the average U.S. worker have barely moved in 40 years. While there has been modest wage growth, it is not at the scale needed to make good on the American promise of opportunity and economic advancement for all.

We look forward to working with JFF to make progress on this national imperative.

Thomas Kalil, chief innovation officer of Schmidt Futures

“The challenge was based on the belief that wage gains are a linchpin to America’s long-term economic strength. Reversing wage stagnation is the domestic moonshot of our generation,” said Maria Flynn, president and CEO of JFF. “Congratulations to Cell-Ed Works and EMPath for their stellar ideas. And many thanks to all of the other finalists and judges who helped showcase the very best ideas to emerge from the challenge here at ASU GSV. We look forward to supporting this work in fueling a new movement to increase wages for American workers.” 

"It is exciting to see all of the creative ideas generated by the $1 Billion Wage Gain Challenge," said Thomas Kalil, chief innovation officer of Schmidt Futures. "We look forward to working with JFF to make progress on this national imperative." 

Launched at JFF’s national summit, Horizons 2018, JFF called on innovators, educators, policymakers, and employers to share their wage gain ideas as part of the challenge. The competition was supported by Schmidt Futures and the Alliance for the American Dream. More than 90 ideas were submitted. After review by thought leaders and subject matter experts, including JFF leadership, seven finalists were selected to present their ideas at the ASU GSV Summit. JFF is also a proud partner of the 2019 ASU GSV Summit.

About JFF

JFF is a national nonprofit that drives transformation in the American workforce and education systems. For 35 years, JFF has led the way in designing innovative and scalable solutions that create access to economic advancement for all. Join us as we build a future that works. www.jff.org  

About Schmidt Futures

Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative, founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, that bets early on people who will make our world better — helping people to achieve more for others by applying advanced science and technology thoughtfully and by working together across fields. Learn more at www.schmidtfutures.com 

Contact information:

Karyl Levinson

VP, Communications, JFF