Meeting the upskilling moment
This is the July 12, 2022 edition of the Opportunity Miami newsletter written by Matt Haggman, which we send every Tuesday. Click here to subscribe to get our weekly updates in your inbox.
Opportunity Miami x Refresh Miami Startup Series
Miami startup Career Karma is upskilling workers — and uplifting communities along the way
How do we harness the power of everyone?
With Jacky Wright, Chief Digital Officer, Microsoft
As technology invades every part of our economy, the demand for jobs with digital skills rises. Yet, the number of people with those skills remains low.
Around the world — and across Greater Miami — a critical challenge is the digital upskilling of countless workers. To put it in perspective, the World Economic Forum says more than half of employees worldwide require new training.
But, as ever, our greatest challenges present our biggest opportunities.
This week, for our latest Opportunity Miami x Refresh Miami Startup Series, reporters Riley Kaminer and Nancy Dahlberg profile a company and entrepreneur leaping into the middle of the challenge: Career Karma and its CEO and co-founder, Ruben Harris.
Founded in 2018, Career Karma helps people build tech careers by pairing them with the right boot camps or education programs. Coaches are provided to mentor and guide students through determining what training programs, amid a rapidly growing array of options, make the most sense.
Career Karma is now partnering with employers to help employees find the best training programs too. Harris thinks a company’s education benefits will ultimately be as important to an employee as healthcare or 401(k).
Currently, Career Karma is making some 25,000 matches each month between prospective students and job training programs. To fuel its growth, it has raised some $52 million from investors including Kapor Capital, Emerson Collective, and Y Combinator, among others.
“My goal is to help a billion people in the next ten years,” Harris said, who has long been active in Miami but officially made the move from the Bay Area the past year.
You can read the story here:
This is the second installment in our series in which we’re highlighting startups focused on solving problems pivotal to our economic future in Miami. Last week Kaminer profiled Living Seawalls by Kind Design, which is led by CEO and co-founder Anya Freeman. You can read the story here about how the company is using 3D printing to more sustainably and affordably produce seawalls that better mimic the natural environment and come with sensors to measure water conditions.
Just as adapting to rising seas and — more broadly — transitioning to a net-zero economy presents a huge economic opportunity, upskilling a majority of the workforce does too.
But it’s an opportunity so vast that it’s likely more than traditional education can handle, according to a recent study by think tank RAND Corporation. Instead, it requires both the traditional bachelors and graduate degrees provided by colleges and universities, as well as certificate programs, boot camps, and apprenticeships found in non-traditional education.
Since launching Opportunity Miami, we’ve highlighted a host of efforts by non-profits and startups to propel tech education in South Florida. This includes a Q&A with Michael Ellison, founder and CEO of CodePath, who moved to Miami during the pandemic. An essay by non-profit America On Tech, which recently expanded to Miami, as part of our Future Focus essay series with Tech Equity Miami. Or profiling in our weekly newsletter the startup, Bootup, and its founder, Chandler Malone, who also moved to Miami during the pandemic.
Malone warned that cities “like Miami” are “at risk of falling victim to some of the same plights” as cities like San Francisco if they “don’t take an aggressive approach to closing income inequality by getting more local citizens into tech careers.”
Indeed, the stakes are so high because the social consequences are so real.
It’s a topic we took up in our recent Opportunity Miami podcast with Jacky Wright, Chief Digital Officer for Microsoft. Wright, who lives in South Florida for part of the year, talked about how it’s incumbent for corporations to lean into talent development. She talked about the launch of Accelerate Miami-Dade, which is part of Microsoft’s Accelerate America upskilling program, that’s now in seven cities.
A key, fundamental question for South Florida, and communities around the world, Wright said, is “how do you harness the power of everyone?”
The cities and communities that do it well will benefit enormously.
As always, we want to hear from you, whether it’s ideas for upcoming podcast guests, feedback on our new series with Refresh Miami, or something else. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or engage with us on social media. Please invite your friends to subscribe to the newsletter here.
P.S. This Friday check out Seaworthy Collective’s second cohort of Sea Change Makers. Ten startups will share their climate tech solutions. You can learn more and RSVP here.