transform hiring practices

If employers want to solve the skills gap, the solution is to hire for skills mastery rather than resume history.
— Byron Auguste

We are working with employers to change the way they hire. By building a hiring channel that focuses on skills and competency instead of pedigree and history, we are enabling employers to hire candidates who can do the job and may otherwise have been overlooked.

With a million IT jobs to fill over the next year, employers will need to tap into nontraditional and overlooked talent pools. Finding the right person for the job is essential for continued growth in the Tech sector and the American economy.

expand learning pathways

Closing the opportunity gaps will benefit companies and job seekers alike, empowering all Americans to create a brighter economic future for the country.
— Yolanda Townsend, Senior Vice President & General Counsel

There is an immense job training and education accessibility gap. Too many Americans do not know what the next step on their career ladder could look like. We work with community partners across the nation who are making information about training and education accessible to anyone who has the aptitude and motivation to learn to enable more Americans to take that next step.

TechHire is a national network of communities and partners working to create pathways for overlooked and underrepresented Americans so that they can  gain skills and access to open technical jobs across the country. Our TechHire Team works closely with local leaders to build inclusive communities that create access to training and connections to employers who are hiring based on skills. Building and supporting better aligned TechHire ecosystems makes it possible for Americans historically underrepresented and locked out of the tech labor market to have access, support, and clear pathways into skilled careers.

pioneer talent financing

We are re-imagining education financing with the individual at the center of the design.
— Karan Chopra

Opportunity@Work is pioneering new talent financing vehicles to ensure that talented people with the motivation and aptitude to learn can afford to take that risk. We have designed risk-sharing and income sharing models that are based on outcomes, not on prior credit history.  After 2 years of incubation and testing, In 2017, Opportunity@Work launched the Learn and Earn Program in partnership with General Assembly to provide “talent financing” for currently low-income and overlooked Americans to skill-up or re-skill and be hired into middle-class jobs without bearing excessive risk. Our solution fundamentally re-aligns incentives of all institutional actors in the system (education and training  providers, social investors, and financial servicers) around high-quality outcomes for the individual served.

Key elements of Opportunity@Work’s innovative financing model include:

  • Inclusive selection: the underwriting process is based on the return on investment of the education pathway and an individual’s potential to succeed – not on past credit history or pedigree.
  • Payments tied to outcomes: students will pay a portion of their income – benchmarked to affordability - so payments are based on success and guaranteed to be affordable.

  • Risk sharing: a share of the revenue to the education or training institution will be tied to student graduation and job placement, aligning the educators’ incentive with student success

  • Wrap around support: low-income students receive funding to cover living expenses, transportation, computer access and other supports necessary for successful completion

  • Pay it forward: any surplus returns from repayments after net management costs flow back into the fund to support future students on their education-to-employment journey.

Learn and Earn Program

Learn and Earn Program

Opportunity@Work, along with General Assembly, is currently piloting the Learn and Earn Program in Washington, DC with an initial cohort of low-income students who are  currently overlooked or underrepresented in tech occupations. We have plans for additional pilots in California and Colorado. The pilots will be conducted in partnership with leading coding bootcamps and accelerated training institutions (both nonprofit and for-profit) with proven outcomes - for example, high graduation and job placement rates into skilled jobs with strong future demand and salary growth.

We will use the learnings from the pilot to improve and deploy a solution that we believe can transform student financing – aligning incentives around upward mobility for the individual –  not at their expense.  It will allow low-income American strivers with the ability to to acquire skills for our dynamic economy to reach their potential, support their families, and inspire their communities as they “pay it forward”. Importantly, at a time of rapid disruption in our economy, we aim to prove a model that will allow low-income individuals and lower-wage employees to access effective (re) training for in-demand jobs and careers.