Get to know Julius Edu: Leading the green transition by demystifying green jobs & careers, providing employer-aligned skills training, and getting job seekers hired.
An interview with Matt Evans, Managing Principal & Co-founder of Julius
What is the inspiration behind starting Julius Education?
The climate transition is the greatest opportunity of our time, but we won’t achieve our climate goals without the workforce to power it. Julius exists to make sure we have the necessary talent to drive the green transition by helping diverse individuals start and grow green careers.
My co-founder Daniel and I started Julius to combine our shared professional and personal passions. I co-founded a water nonprofit called Imagine H₂O a decade ago and Daniel has a background in energy through his academic research. But much of our careers over the past 10–15 years have been spent in education. Daniel and I met while working as executives in Pearson’s Online Learning Division where we served 90,000 adults annually in online programs. We were both fascinated by the idea of bringing the best digital innovations to workforce development in mission-critical industries. We also wanted to dramatically expand access to bring more diverse pools of talent into green jobs and careers, while helping employers solve their hiring and talent needs.
What do you think is the unmet need or challenge that Julius is addressing?
The huge opportunity is to achieve our climate goals and ensure we have the necessary workforce to enable it. Today, 85 percent of energy employers are having difficulty hiring. And this hiring challenge exists even before we add millions of more new jobs in the green economy over the next decade to power the energy transition. Adding to this challenge, the industries in which we operate often have a significant underrepresentation of women and people of color.
To attract the necessary talent, we need to recognize that today, especially among younger generations, people want to understand not only the job they might go into but also the career that comes with it. More than 90% of millennials want to understand the job AND the career before making a job decision.
But the percentage of people that understand green jobs and the skilled trades is tiny, just in the single digits. So there is a significant gap between what people need to make job decisions about the sector and what they currently understand about careers in the green economy. Most career advisors don’t understand the exact skills needed for these jobs — for example, that the training required for a Solar Installer is very different from that of a Licensed Electrician.
Julius is turning this on its head. For the first time in the industry, our platform closes this career information gap for job seekers so they now understand all the incredible opportunities in the green economy where they can earn six figures without a four-year degree. We continuously talk with employers in the green economy who say that the only people who know about their jobs are those who have family working in the industry. If that doesn’t change for companies nationally, we’ll never get the needed influx of new talent into the sector.
What is unique about your approach?
In order to address the challenges faced by green employers and job seekers, Julius provides a first-of-its-kind, end-to-end digital platform that does three things: first, we “Demystify” green jobs and careers, bringing clarity to opportunities for all audiences; second, we “Develop” by providing job seekers with employer-aligned skills-training and industry certifications; and third, we “Place” by meeting the hiring needs of green employers with qualified and skilled talent.
We also have a wide breadth of strategic partnerships. Julius works hand-in-hand with many of the most significant industry trade associations in the sector. These associations have great insight from their members about the workforce needs and they partner with Julius to address critical talent shortages.
We also have a deep partnership with the GED Testing Service, the national high school equivalency organization. Since its inception, the GED has served 23 million Americans, and every year it graduates hundreds of thousands of students. The GED is doing terrific work providing employability pathways to its graduates and has partnered closely with Julius in bringing green job and career opportunities to its community. Most GED learners we speak with haven’t previously worked in green sectors, but they are excited to learn that you don’t need a four-year degree to embark on a great career and that you can often have a six-figure salary within a handful of years of entering the industry.
How are you thinking about the impact that your product creates for the world or the market that you are in?
For Julius, we consider impact through the lens of a quadruple bottom line. The first impact is our long-term environmental impact and our contribution to helping ensure we achieve our climate goals by having the required workforce.
The second impact is on job seekers. More than 65 million Americans have a high school diploma but no college degree. We’re providing clear career pathways to them so they have a vision for their future, and understand that they may have more career options than they realize. We’re also providing them employer-aligned skills training and certifications so they’ll be successful on the job.
The third impact is on employers, addressing their talent shortages and hiring pressures. With the Julius platform, we’re able to provide employers with the candidates they need for their mission-critical roles.
The fourth impact we see is more broadly on diversity, equity, and inclusion. A core part of Julius’ mission is providing much more job and career access for historically underrepresented groups in the green sector. Depending on the job, women and people of color are up to 30–50% underrepresented and so we’re committed to changing that. Some of our work includes purposefully forming partnerships with organizations that share our sense of urgency here, including with the GED whose learner base is quite diverse, with two-thirds people of color and even gender split.
What would you say is the next most important milestone for Julius?
We’re scaling to reach 10,000 people in the next year to provide access to green jobs and careers.