Today marks the beginning of our third annual Workforce Week at Workday. Across our company, employees are volunteering their time to mentor people seeking roles in the tech sector that offer thriving wage careers, rather than survival wage jobs.
In many parts of the world income inequality continues to grow, and tech companies and tech professionals can do more to be part of the solution. California’s Bay Area serves as the poster child for this problem, with tech industry employees for the most part living comfortable lives, while many outside the industry make barely enough money to survive.
While per capita income reached an all-time high of $86,976 in the Bay Area last year, income gains “varied significantly by race and ethnicity, with some groups losing ground,” and nearly one-third of the region’s households aren’t earning enough to meet their basic needs without public or private assistance, according to the 2017 Silicon Valley Index.
Workforce Week is one example of how we are trying to do our part in addressing this complex problem. From May 15-19, volunteers are participating with clients from community-based workforce development organizations to host workshops that offer resume writing, LinkedIn profile development and refinement, mock interviews, job search tips, and more. It’s highly likely that just like in past years, some Workforce Week participants will go on to take internships at Workday, many of which lead to full-time jobs.
Workforce Week is made possible by the Workday Foundation, which has a mission to transform lives by creating career pathways that unleash human potential. Since its formation in 2013, we’ve been providing job seekers with opportunities to build new skills, grow their social capital, gain internship experience, learn from mentors, and much more.
A key word in the foundation’s mission is “pathways,” because not all pathways to economic self-sufficiency are the same. A college degree by age 22, for example, isn’t the right pathway for everyone. If people are willing to work hard and put their intellect, skills, and natural talents to good use, there are pathways to success that don’t require a diploma that might cost up to $100,000 to achieve.
That’s why we’re so excited to host organizations such as Year Up, which aims to bridge the opportunity gap for people ages 18 to 24 who aren’t college bound. After six months of technical training and workplace skills development, Year Up participants are placed in internships in areas such as IT support and cybersecurity. Among the Year Up participants that took internships at Workday, nearly 70 percent have become full-time employees. The Workday Foundation has also provided $1 million in funding to this exceptional organization.
Other non-profit groups participating in Workforce Week that help create career pathways to employment include JobTrain and Stride Center, both of which provide training for adults in the Bay Area, and Upwardly Global, helping work-authorized, skilled immigrants build their careers in the U.S.
In order to maintain and grow our diverse communities, each and every one of us has a role to play. That’s why many of us here at Workday are so passionate about being able to contribute our skills and expertise—and help open doors for people to industries that can seem so closed—through programs such as Workforce Week.