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Changing tech hiring will require orienting each stage of the process toward equity.
It’s by now familiar that there are more tech jobs than available workers with the credentials to fill them, and this has held true even in an economic downturn like now. Yet a recession can also be a chance to think about resources: If more underrepresented groups can gain those skills, the thinking goes that it could help close the gap. But at The Allegis Group, the team saw that this was about more than providing access to skills and resources, CareerCircle Managing Director Kimberly Sneeder said.
“What started off as an upskilling mission really became about a movement and truly driving change in the space,” said Sneeder, who worked within The Allegis Group for 23 years before leading CareerCircle.
So along with skills training, CareerCircle is intentional about seeking out underrepresented groups, and seeing the candidates through into roles to ensure they can obtain roles in these fields.
It starts with specific outreach to folks in underrepresented communities, both through its own outreach and partnerships with orgs like The Mom Project and Hire Heroes USA. Once candidates show interest, they go through an assessment that’s designed to uncover skills, which CareerCircle conducts with Canton-based Traitify. Then CareerCircle provides training in soft skills. For technical training, it’s equipped to offer discounted or at times free courses through partnerships with a variety of national orgs including Microsoft, Grow With Google, Salesforce and WozU.
Among a variety of roles, CareerCircle provides training that can lead to Google IT certification such as IT and desktop support, Salesforce certification for roles like app builder and administrator, and software development. It also works to design a career trajectory that’s built both around skills and passion.
Building a talent pipeline can help to expand the network and ensure there's a pool of folks ready to fill open roles.
Along with making the connections, the platform also looks to see the hiring process through. CareerCircle’s platform includes AI matching with specific roles that are designed around fit and aptitude, addressing the biases that so often come along with a resume. And CareerCircle helps the candidates land these roles by advocating for them and introducing them to hiring companies once they’ve obtained the credentials needed. (The intent to bring diverse talent into the workforce and apply AI to eliminate bias is in some respects similar to Baltimore-based Catalyte, but the training approach and broad IT focus in the eventual roles make it distinct.)
In turn, CareerCircle works with the companies that have openings to think about their own strategy. Often, networks don’t expand because hiring ends up being reactive. Roles open up, and they need to be filled ASAP.
“I think there’s an opportunity to be more proactive with this approach,” Sneeder said. “What are the skillsets you want to build? What does that workforce development strategy look like?”
Building a talent pipeline can help to expand the network and ensure there’s a pool of folks ready to fill these roles, she said. And refocusing around communication skills and aptitude can help create more meaningful matches in the process.
Since March, more than 11,000 people joined the CareerCircle platform who were seeking training and roles, and 4,500 members are currently trained and ready to be hired. So far, 74% of the people who were hired as a result of placements made through the platform are women, veterans or from underserved communities, the company said.
Based in Baltimore, the company’s own nine-member team is a diverse group that is primarily people of color, reflecting a desire for the team to look like the community they’re serving. The company sees Baltimore and D.C. as key markets, while also looking nationwide. CareerCircle is working this year with Baltimore brand development firm Backroom and recently launched a new brand identity.
The team’s approach is a sign that workforce development can not just be adapted for tech roles, but use a tech-enabled approach. With the tools used by the platform and the partnerships with some of the big names in the industry in place, it shows a path to scaling by bringing more jobseekers and employers onto the platform.-30-
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