Going beyond traditional corporate responsibility initiatives to expand talent pools.
The so-called “Great Resignation” has produced the tightest job market in recent history, giving workers the upper hand in hiring and prompting employers to drastically increase wages and benefits to attract talent and retain staff. Nevertheless, it is a disheartening reality that Black Americans are still far less likely than their white counterparts to find work in 2022.
The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report found a striking difference in unemployment rates between white and Black Americans—at 3.2% and 5.9%, respectively. A leading factor causing this disparity in workforce participation is the lack of career training and skill development available to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) and other marginalized communities in the United States.
As the number of job openings reaches historic levels and the labor market continues to tighten, companies struggling to fill job roles would be wise to refocus their efforts on bringing new people into the workforce who may otherwise be unable or discouraged from doing so. BIPOC communities have faced a number of systemic barriers to sustainable employment and participation in the workforce, such as a lack of access to reliable transportation, skill development opportunities, and educational attainment.
Companies who are seeking to expand their talent pools, while also making a commitment to inclusive hiring, would benefit greatly from investing in career readiness and on-the-job training programs aimed at these often-underserved communities. These programs are key to removing barriers to workforce participation for marginalized workers across the country. Randstad USA, one of the largest providers of human resources services in the U.S., has prioritized investments in hiring programs driven by diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
One such program is HireHope, an initiative launched by Randstad in 2014 to address the alarming rates of human trafficking throughout the Atlanta metro area, the location of Randstad’s U.S. headquarters. The program creates employment and education opportunities for women in Atlanta’s underserved communities who have aged out of foster care or are survivors of homelessness, domestic violence, exploitation, and human trafficking.
Randstad’s HireHope program provides 35 weeks of career readiness training, focusing on paid apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and job placement opportunities. In the first phase of the program, participants spend 12 weeks in classes facilitated by current Randstad employees focused on cultivating confidence, business acumen, team building, and interview preparation. The second phase is focused on growth and offers participants a 23-week paid apprenticeship, as well as various incentive opportunities for securing transportation, childcare, meals, and clothing. Upon completion of the program, participants are placed in a temporary or permanent employment opportunity and are offered six months of career transition support.
In addition to HireHope, Randstad also launched the TRANSCEND initiative, a best-in-class skilling program with the singular aim to address widening divides in both skills and opportunities in 2021. The program targets diverse and untapped communities with thousands of hours of professional development, mentorship, and training—working to meet Randstad’s goal of reskilling 40,000 American workers.
The TRANSCEND program offers its participants opportunities to learn new skills that are necessary for today’s in-demand jobs, engage with key industry leaders, benefit from virtual training, and work directly with companies that offer real career opportunities. The courses offered in the program align with the skills needed for employment in today’s hottest job sectors—including account management, financial services, nonclinical healthcare, and technology. Courses span career readiness skills, business agility and acumen, and reskilling development plans.
These programs can serve as a model for other organizations who are seeking to expand workforce development opportunities for traditionally underserved communities. Through high-value investments in skilling and career readiness programs, companies can help spur meaningful systemic changes, while also enjoying greater business success as an organization. As companies continue to navigate an unprecedented and unpredictable labor market, going beyond traditional corporate responsibility initiatives will be key to expanding talent pools and bridging employment gaps that exist within marginalized communities