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Building Inclusive Employment Pipelines | Mainstage


Dr. Eduardo Padrón, President Emeritus, Miami Dade College; Concordia Leadership Council Member

Joseph Kenner, President & CEO, Greyston
Allen Blue, Co-Founder, LinkedIn
Bertina Ceccarelli, CEO, NPower

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way we think about work and the workplace. It is also transforming the way we think about employment pipelines. 

Allen Blue, Co-Founder of LinkedIn, explained that the pandemic exposed a different way of working from home, opening up new possibilities for remote teams. Employment need no longer be geographically based. There were multiple lessons from the pandemic, said Bertina Ceccarelli, CEO of NPower. The economic downturn hit low-wage, low-mobility jobs first, so these require better employment security and opportunity for growth. The digital transformation will continue, scaling up demand for remote work. Finally, companies need to be more open to alternative pipelines that do not require specific degrees but, rather, sector-based skills programs. Joseph Kenner, President & CEO of Greyston, described how his company has a completely open hiring system that requires no interviews, resumes, or background checks. An inclusive approach is best for the 10 million unfilled jobs in the U.S. 

Dr. Eduardo Padrón, President Emeritus of Miami Dade College, asked the panelists to explore how businesses should be preparing as we emerge from the pandemic. Ceccarelli suggested that businesses should be prepared to face fierce competition for talent. They will need to commit to onboarding and retention, and measure their commitments to racial equity. Kenner explained that businesses need to look at employment more holistically and look at alternate job qualifications to challenge traditional models. Blue agreed that alternate pathways, including skills training, hold promise, while Ceccarelli suggested that apprenticeship programs are a great way to address the problem of inexperienced candidates.

Wrapping up the panel, Dr. Padrón asked if the panelists were optimistic about the future. Kenner expressed hope because leaders are discussing the issue, while Ceccarelli noted increased innovation around talent development, and Blue concluded that we are at a moment to make choices.

As we all know, the pandemic has completely transformed the way we think about work and the workplace.”

Dr. Eduardo Padrón

What’s happening now is a whole reassessment in terms of employers as well as employees.

Joseph Kenner

If employers take advantage of this moment, they can look for skills in places they had never looked before.

Allen Blue

The pandemic hit hardest those individuals in low-wage, low-mobility jobs, especially women and particularly women of color.

Bertina Ceccarelli

Key takeaways & next steps:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has uncovered vulnerabilities for those in low-wage, low-mobility jobs. Addressing the inequity will require a rethinking of the employment pipeline to include different backgrounds and forms of education.
  • Employers have a great opportunity to use new technologies to find talent anywhere in the world and build strong, remote teams.