Who we are

Our Story

We have been proudly a part of community efforts to improve education for all children, serving as leaders in New York City, Camden, New Orleans and across Louisiana. Because of those efforts, more young people in those communities  are proficient readers, have high school diplomas, and have gone on to higher education.

At the same time, we realize these improvements within the four walls of classrooms have yet to translate into a more equitable system of income mobility for our country’s most economically disadvantaged students.

America’s education and workforce systems have been failing to support low-income Americans, and it is hurting employers and our economy alike. Despite progress in national high school graduation and college enrollment rates, college dropout rates are tragically high – 40% at 4-year institutions and 70% at 2-year institutions – with the average dropout burdened by significant debt. Meanwhile, many employers struggle to find and sustain entry-level talent, especially in mid-skill jobs requiring a postsecondary credential.

We believe the answers to addressing these systemic challenges already reside within local communities throughout our country. High schools, employers, community colleges, and other training organizations have yet to maximize their collective impact because each institution, while uniquely powerful, is siloed and disconnected from the other.

Propel America brings together these local, pre-existing institutions into a unified system of career navigation, job training, job placement, and ongoing education. By systematizing the transition from high school to a career, we believe we can develop a new generation of upwardly mobile young adults throughout our country.

And we will do this by leveraging America’s greatest local assets, which simply need to be reoriented — and not “disrupted” or “reinvented.” Ultimately, we believe our work will allow for the whole of communities to be greater than the sum of their current parts, ensuring the next generation of low-income youth will fulfill their potential and lead prosperous lives.

John White
Propel America Co-Founder, Board Chair

Paymon Rouhanifard
Propel America Co-Founder, CEO







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