Per Scholas Featured on Award-Winning Podcast Tight Knit

Per Scholas Chief Enterprise Solutions Officer Damien Howard was a featured guest in the award-winning podcast Tight Knit. A project by The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, season two of Tight Knit is centered on workforce development and explores the many ways people are working to build stronger relationships and communities. The series follows teens and adults as they navigate the various pathways that can lead to good jobs and careers, and the systems that can support or impede their success. 

Episode 6, titled “Who Are You Willing to Hire,” dropped July 20 and tells the story of many individuals in Michigan trying to break into work.  Host Shannon Casey and Supervising Producer Sea Stachura start the episode by talking to job seekers at a good, old-fashioned job fair and discuss the barriers that exist to their entry to America’s workforce, which leads into an enlightened discussion about what changes employers must make if they want to remain diverse and keep their talent pipeline filled. 

Highlighting leadership perspectives from Johnny C. Taylor, President and CEO of SHRM as well as the Community Engagement Manager for Project Clean Slate in Detroit, Shannon and Sea have a deep discussion about how business leaders must shift perspective to employ a diverse workforce that leads to business impact. The episode centers around the idea that If businesses want to find enough workers, they’ll need to change their hiring practices, thus examining programs that provide job opportunities for untapped workers, why things have changed in hiring, what it means for business, and how nonprofits are stepping up to give those often overlooked an opportunity for a brighter future.

Damien Howard reflected on encouraging employers to consider job qualifications and job readiness differently, saying, “You’re just not a good steward as a business leader if you’re not looking far and wide to find the best and brightest talent. We emphasize that we show the proof of preparedness, not a proxy of preparedness – to show that training, job readiness, and certifications are just as valuable as a college degree.” 

In addition to speaking to Per Scholas technologists’ experience and abilities, Damien discussed changing the narrative of job seekers without degrees. “As soon as we talk about what they bring to the table, how brilliant they are, what they can actually do inside of those roles – now we’re speaking to what was a pain point in a real way that was based around what this diverse talent can actually do for their company,” Damien stated. 

If hiring managers start considering new ways of sourcing diverse tech talent to include skilled, experienced individuals trained by programs including Per Scholas, companies can diversify their workforce while filling the hundreds of thousands of open tech positions. 

Listen to the full podcast episode here!


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