September 21, 2020


Current approaches to financing education and career readiness fail to meet the needs of the labor market

Groundbreaking initiative explores new private sector-led solutions and innovations in finance to invest in people

Washington, D.C.– The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation today announced a new initiative, Talent Finance, to explore new ways to invest in people and skills that keep pace with innovation and advance economic opportunity, inclusion, and competitiveness. In the 21st century economy, jobs—and the skills required to fill those jobs—change rapidly, but the preparation of students and workers is based on a different era and economy. The Chamber Foundation is launching this initiative to catalyze business-led solutions to close that skills gap.

American students have been saddled with more than $1.5 trillion of debt (second only to mortgage debt), and in 2019, businesses spent more than $80 billion on training in an ever-changing workforce, yet these efforts have not produced the desired outcomes for workers or employers.

"Public and private sector financing innovations combined with access to better data and more robust employer leadership, set the stage for restructuring how we finance and manage the risks in talent development for all relevant stakeholders," says Jason Tyszko, vice president of the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce. "Therefore, we need a talent finance approach fit for our time, not one built for past economies and labor markets."

Current approaches to talent development—like preparation of students to enter the workforce or re-entry of the unemployed—fail to fully address needs and emerging risks of the labor market, such as changes in employment and frequent fluctuations in income.

Constant innovation and investment in the economy’s most important resource—human capital—is needed to build the workforce of the future. Talent Finance will develop new ways for employers and the financial services community to work together to identify innovative private sector tools for financing talent, develop new strategies for managing risk in the labor market, and manage how to pay for workers to get and constantly refine the skills they need.

"We at the Atlanta Fed are excited to be a partner in the Talent Finance initiative," said Raphael Bostic, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. "I am confident our partnership will spur innovative public-private collaborations that will advance opportunities for workers. Importantly, the initiative’s commitment to finding new financial models means that we will be able to bring successful innovations to scale, thereby helping to provide significant capacity for small and mid-sized businesses."

This framework is outlined in a landmark white paper, which includes recommendations for how to design and implement real-world solutions to these challenges. Over the next several months, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Greater Houston Partnership, and WorkingNation, the Foundation will host a series of virtual forums for employers across the country to share strategies to better prepare today’s workforce for the future.

Talent Finance is made possible by funding from JPMorgan Chase, MSFT Philanthropies,, Cognizant U.S. Foundation, and Schmidt Futures. To learn more about this initiative and the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce, visit

About the U.S. Chamber Foundation

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness. We educate the public on the conditions necessary for business and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future.