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PelotonU equips adults for in-demand careers

Project overview

Through competency-based education and tailored support, PelotonU helps working adults earn a degree that aligns with their career goals and regional workforce needs. We partner with PelotonU to expand the program’s impact in Central Texas and other cities around the country.


Being older than the average college student and getting back into the rhythm of school was difficult. Having a mentor who holds me accountable and helps me set realistic goals has given me the courage to keep going.

Sheila Matthews, PelotonU Student

How it helps

Seventy-four percent of U.S. college students are post-traditional, meaning they are at least 24 years old, work full time, and have dependents other than a spouse. For them, the pathway to a degree includes many barriers that typical higher education models do not address.

PelotonU fills in this gap by helping adult learners identify their career goals and complete a degree program at their own pace. The program facilitates high-quality online classes that are competency based and regionally accredited — all while providing students with wraparound support to overcome challenges.

The PelotonU team builds partnerships with regional employers to understand workforce needs and match its students with in-demand jobs. PelotonU graduates with a bachelor’s degree gain an average wage increase of $18,324 per year, while graduates with an associate’s degree gain an average of $10,489.

Meet Sheila

Sheila Matthews, a site director for Open Door Preschool, is a 51-year-old mother, grandmother, and wife who knew from an early age that she wanted to be a teacher.

After earning an associate degree in human service, Sheila got a Preschool Certificate from her local community college, with the goal of earning her bachelor’s degree, taking one class at a time. Juggling work and family responsibilities with learning, Sheila struggled with the typical classroom setting and available course times. Despite the challenges, she was determined not to quit. The day she heard about PelotonU, she knew she had found a better path for herself. 

Through PelotonU, Sheila started attending College for America at Southern New Hampshire University to earn a bachelor’s degree. Though she still faces challenges like mental health issues in her family and work stressors, Sheila finds constant support through the PelotonU mentorship program.

PelotonU’s study space and resulting community is unique among online programs. Students can connect with other working adults on the same journey who are also overcoming difficulties.

“You’re never too old to learn, and you’re never too old to enroll in PelotonU,” says Sheila, encouraging others to pursue their dreams like she did.

Foundation Project Lead