Publication Date: August 31, 2017
The guiding creed behind skills-based hiring is “if you can do the job, you should get the job.” Whether you learned web design by maintaining your church’s website, or you learned to code in the army reserve, or you graduated with a degree in computer science from a top-tier four-year college, equal skills should mean equal opportunity. And what’s exciting is that following this approach is win-win. It broadens access to our economy and promotes social justice. And, at the same time, companies that tap into this pool of applicants who took less-traditional paths to build their skills find that they have uncovered a significant competitive advantage, especially in markets where the cost of the most sought-after tech hires is constantly escalating.
[email protected] and other organizations such as Skillful, Innovate + Educate, Year Up, and Hope Street Group are finding ways at the grassroots level to surmount the obstacles that have led us to put more emphasis on rough proxies for skills (like degrees) rather than skills themselves. For example, the skills-based economy needs a way for job seekers to prove their abilities to potential employers. That’s why we built the validated hiring website, techhire.careers, where candidates can take assessments to prove their skills, and companies can hire individuals with confidence. The skills-based economy also needs local ecosystems where job seekers, training providers and employers work together to match training for in-demand careers with motivated individuals and skilled job-seekers with open positions. This is the inspiration behind our TechHire initiative, which builds these grassroots connections.
TechHire has been a contributor to one of the more remarkable tech revivals in the country in recent years. Under the leadership of Governor Gina Raimondo and other leaders in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, Rhode Island has seen its tech sector boom. Time Money listed Providence as one of the top 20 hottest cities for tech jobs in June, and over April and May the Rhode Island economy added nearly 1,000 tech jobs. As more companies have sought to expand in Rhode Island, TechHire has been a partner on the ground, connecting them with an untapped source of high-quality tech talent. Building skills-based hiring ecosystems like TechHire will be central to reproducing this success.