Mission

COOP / “ko-op” / helps diverse, low-income, and first-generation college grads achieve upward mobility through digital skills and peer networks.

 

Challenge

Black, Hispanic, first-gen, and low-income college graduates face significant barriers to promising entry-level jobs, even in dynamic tech hubs like NYC and the Bay Area.

  1. Social capital gap: Many lack access to the connections and casual favors that anyone needs to gain a foothold in the digital economy.
  2. Overstretched institutions: Most attend city and state colleges ill-equipped to provide high-tech curriculum and high-touch career services.
  3. Legacy hiring practices: Despite its size ($100b) and appetite for talent (175,000 job openings), digital marketing remains just 6% Black and Hispanic. Referral-based recruiting reinforces the status quo, amplifying residential and school segregation in the professional sphere.

Sources: Forrester Research, Burning Glass, US BLS

 

Approach

To close the gap, we recruit and invest deeply in diverse, low-income, and first-generation grads* from urban public universities. We’re equally dedicated to developing hard and soft skills.

  1. Digital apprenticeship: COOP’s flagship program is the rigorous, 200-hour Career Accelerator. Cohorts of 16 local peers meet nightly for 16 weeks to get certified in skills like Google Ads & Analytics, Excel, and client service (100 hours); develop a personal story and a professional network (50 hours); and deliver a perfect resume, linkedin, cover letter, interview, and 100 job apps (50 hours).
  2. Alumni leadership: Teams of four Cohort Captains lead all 200 hours of the apprenticeship, and other alumni provide a steady stream of timely tips and referrals.
  3. Strategic partnership: We help companies like Google, Microsoft, IPG, and Publicis hire, train, and retain excellent candidates from diverse colleges like CUNY and SFSU.
 

Impact

COOP has run 40 cohorts with over 550 apprentices since fall 2014. Thanks to alumni leaders, we achieve exceptional outcomes for less than $3,000 per apprentice.

  1. Full employment: 81% of alumni work full-time with salary and benefits, overwhelmingly in digital marketing and analytics; 70% reach this milestone within six months.
  2. Upward mobility: Full-time alumni earn $45k in year one (3x pre-program average), $54k in year two, and almost $70k in year three (roughly 2x average income of CUNY peer group).
  3. Forward-on-investment: According to independent analysis, “every $1 invested in COOP creates a permanent $9 wage increase” (Arbor Brothers)