‘Tis the Season: How Companies Can Change Lives Through Opportunity Onramps

Carrie Varoquiers reflects on Workday's impact in 2019 in creating economic opportunity for all, and shares three ways business leaders can diversify their workforces and join the Opportunity Onramps movement in the year ahead.

The end of the year is always a whirlwind of activity, with everything from annual budget planning to holiday celebrations to giving back to our communities. As we close out 2019, it’s worth taking a pause to not only reflect on where we’ve made an impact, but also identify additional ways to continue to create economic opportunity for all. 

This past year, I’ve had the privilege of meeting a lot of talented people—like Jesus Lopez, a smart go-getter without the traditional four-year degree. Jesus worked years in retail before finding his way into the corporate workforce with our Year Up program. I also met Wayne Ormond, who after a career in the U.S. military decided, at age 45, to bring his skills to the technology industry. After struggling to get hired due to his nontraditional background, Wayne found our Career Accelerator Program and is now a financial analyst. And Chris Lovelock, who stepped away from her professional career for nearly 16 years to help raise her family, and was able to jump back into the workforce as an HCM instructor on the Customer Delivery team through our Returnship Program

There’s one common denominator when I look at lives changed: access to opportunity. Looking ahead to 2020, I’d like to challenge all business leaders to continue to meaningfully innovate the way we diversify and hire nontraditional talent. Here are three ways organizations can join the Opportunity Onramps movement: 

Choose Year-Up interns for your Workday HRIS analyst roles. We recently introduced a new Opportunity Onramps program built specifically for our customers that marries a business need with social impact. The Workday and Year Up Internship Training Program trains young adults from under-resourced communities on the fundamentals of Workday Human Capital Management, and places them in HRIS internship roles with our customers. This is a terrific way  for our customers to gain already-trained talent, meaningfully diversify their workforce, and help change lives through work experience. 

Host a Workforce Week. A Workforce Week-style event is a way for your organization to join the Opportunity Onramps movement through employee volunteerism. We encourage you to host career readiness workshops that allow individuals who face barriers to employment to build confidence and get real-time feedback through things like mock interviews, resume reviews, and career conversations. We’ve built free, downloadable toolkits packed with draft agendas, communications, resources, and more so any organization can host a Workforce Week. After all, we’ve seen first-hand the impact that a 30-minute mock interview can have on someone’s life. 


Look beyond the degree. A perfect-on-paper resume doesn’t always translate to a perfect hire. We’ve heard from hiring managers that diversifying their teams with Opportunity Onramps hires have led to better business results.

When looking at a resume, consider the untapped potential behind a prospective hire. A degree isn’t always required. Also look beyond gaps in formal work experience on resumes. Experience comes in all shapes and sizes and valuable skills can be gained during time away from the formal work environment, such as in a caregiving capacity. 

At Workday, we’re committed to creating economic opportunity for all, but this requires collaboration with customers, like-minded companies, nonprofit partners, educational institutions, and government. A little shift in perspective on how we think about talent can go a long way. In fact, we’ve seen it actually change lives. 

As we head into 2020, let’s join forces. Let’s find that untapped talent pool to help our businesses solve more problems. Let’s build the Opportunity Onramps movement together. 

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