About UpSkill America

UpSkill America supports employers and workforce organizations to expand and improve high-quality educational and career advancement opportunities for America’s front-line workers. We advance collaborative solutions that work for employers, employees, and communities, recognizing that shared value for workers, the communities where they live, and business bottom-line is the best strategy for long-term success — we believe in “doing well by doing good.”

We seek to create a movement of employers, civic organizations, workforce intermediaries, and policymakers working collaboratively to implement education, training, and development strategies that result in better jobs and opportunities for workers, more competitive businesses, and stronger communities.

UpSkill America supports education and advancement solutions that include:

Employer-Supported Education and Training

UpSkill America works to expand and continuously improve high-quality work-based learning models, including apprenticeships and education benefits programs, enabling working adults to earn a high-quality credential while working.

Recognition of Work-Based Learning

UpSkill America promotes policies, programs, and digital infrastructure that ensure learning and competencies gained through work can apply toward further education and employment and be recognized by education providers and other employers.

Environments for Talent

UpSkill America works with communities, regions, and states to create improved environments for investments in talent development, supporting policies, programs, and practices that enable more front-line workers and communities to benefit.

To achieve this vision, UpSkill America:

  • Facilitates dialogue across stakeholders, including employers, workers, policymakers, funders, and civic organizations to design solutions and achieve shared goals;
  • Convenes business leaders who are dedicated to advancing talent development and career opportunities for front-line workers;
  • Conducts original research to identify programs, partnerships, practices, and policies that result in more equitable opportunities and outcomes, uncovering innovations and emerging trends guiding the provision of education and training to working adults;
  • Identifies and elevates corporate leaders through learning and career development initiatives; and
  • Partners with employers and local, state, and national organizations and networks to provide technical assistance and capacity.


UpSkill America was created in January 2015 when President Barack Obama called on employers to come together to do more to provide opportunities for advancement for front-line and entry level workers at a time when many Americans were feeling left behind in the economic recovery. A coalition of businesses, education and workforce training, philanthropy, and human resources organizations joined together to help create UpSkill America as part of the Economic Opportunities Program at the Aspen Institute.

“Today we are partnering with business across the country to UpSkill America. To help workers of all ages earn a shot at better, higher paying jobs even if they don’t have a higher education. We want to recruit more companies to help provide apprenticeships and other pathways so people can upgrade their skills. We are all going to have to do that in this new economy.” — Barack Obama