Since the day I joined Workday, I’ve had the privilege of meeting a lot of talented people from all walks of life. People like Sean, who served four deployments and moved 13 times during his service with the U.S. Armed Forces. And Nabil, who at one point worked three jobs to make ends meet to support his mom and brother. And Rebecca, who took nearly a 10-year career break to raise her three boys.
At Workday, people are at the core of our business, and every product we design has people at the center. We also believe that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not, whether it’s because of a person’s non-traditional educational path, diverse work history, or financial constraints. It’s our commitments to people and opportunity that served as the catalyst for the Opportunity Onramps™ movement.
We created our first internship program for individuals facing barriers to employment in 2014, and then formalized the function and hosted our Opportunity Onramps conference earlier this year. Since then, Opportunity Onramps has become a multi-faceted movement with one mission: to create economic opportunity for all.
As a collective society, we still have plenty more work to do to close the opportunity divide. Yet I’m humbled by the hard work of many people to make a difference both at Workday and within all the communities we’re a part of. Here are some of the key moments that stand out to me over the past year when it comes to solving this global problem:
We launched the Opportunity Onramps community. Everyone can get involved in the movement by taking our Opportunity Onramps volunteer pledge. It’s simple: volunteer 50 hours with workforce development organizations to help individuals secure lasting employment. As a member of the community, people lend their skills and knowledge to help connect driven individuals to in-demand careers, and if they so wish, bring the Opportunity Onramps movement to their businesses and organizations.
We welcomed our inaugural Returnship Program at Workday. For parents and other caregivers who have taken time away from the corporate workforce, a return to a career (not just a job) after a number of years can be both daunting and difficult. Oftentimes, caregivers face barriers to employment because of long gaps on resumes when they were busy caring for children or an aging parent. With our Returnship Program, caregivers who put their careers on pause can get a jumpstart back into the workforce. Our inaugural cohort of Returnship Program participants joined us this fall, and we’re thrilled to have such a talented group with us at Workday.
The Career Accelerator Program (CAP) is expanding into a new region. CAP helps military veterans facing barriers to employment transition into civilian careers in tech, with the potential to be hired as a full-time Workday employee following successful completion of the program. Having completed three successful cohorts at our headquarters in Pleasanton, Calif., with an 80 percent internship-to-employment conversion rate, we’re expanding the program to our Salt Lake City office in February 2019. We’re excited that the talent and innovation these veterans bring to our company continues to grow.
Our Year Up partnership continues to grow. We started working with Year Up in 2014, an organization that provides young adults from underserved communities with paid technical training and internship experience, particularly those who haven’t had the traditional four-year degree path into careers. Our partnership with Year Up has been a game-changer for our workforce. We’ve seen the value these young adults provide us first-hand, and we’re excited to welcome our next cohort of Year Up participants at Workday in January 2019.
We’ve created free Workforce Week toolkits. We started Workforce Week at Workday in 2015, our largest global employee volunteer workforce development program aimed at making a difference in the life of a jobseeker. We now offer a toolkit other organizations can download with guides for full workforce development training resources, including draft agendas, communications, and more. Through mock-interviews, campus tours, resume reviews, and mentorship, Workforce Week provides opportunities for companies and their employees to help connect motivated individuals of all ages with well-paying careers.
I’m excited to see the Opportunity Onramps movement continue to grow with program expansions, new cohorts joining us in 2019, and new talent that will undeniably add value and innovation to our workforce. Together, we can close the opportunity gap and create economic opportunity for all through creating career pathways that unleash human potential. Here’s to strengthening and building even more Opportunity Onramps in the year ahead.