Proficiency Trumps Pedigree

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Skillful.ly’s “Great Degree Reset” moves the needle for Employers and Job Seekers

The Skillful.ly team launches new school partners regularly, but a session in November 2021 at Bronx Community College (BCC) and City Tech, a pair of two-year public community colleges and members of the wider City University of New York (CUNY) college system, presented new possibilities. The meeting launched their work with the New York CEO Job Council (NYJCC) and signified a change in the tide for a number of the country’s biggest employers who were making moves to remove their four-year degree requirement for the first time.

This represented a tidal change for the future of workforce development. Skillful.ly was now working with a group of employers at the forefront of what has become known as the “Great Degree Reset.” This cohort represented the first program designed specifically for non-traditional students, where the absence of a four-year degree no longer limited the job prospects of otherwise qualified candidates.

Skillful.ly is the equitable employment platform where we match learners to job opportunities purely based on their skill proficiency, validated on our platform. Learners demonstrate their proficiency through virtual “Workplace Challenges” completed on our site that simulate actual tasks they would be expected to perform on the job. We launch new school partnerships like this one with BCC and City Tech regularly, creating a new link between classroom instruction and workforce demands. But that November 2021 session was different.

In this case, students who had never before considered pursuing a career in technology consulting joined Skillful.ly to get first-hand exposure to the type of work that job entails. Successful students then had the opportunity to apprentice with top-tier employers, such as Ernst & Young, who never had before hired students from two-year associate’s degree programs like BCC and City Tech. Skillful.ly’s role was to validate learner skills and offer those with the right skills for the job - regardless of where they learned them - then connect them to employers eager to expand their talent funnel to include more highly skilled, driven, and diverse candidates.

Our goal at Skillful.ly is to create a more fair, efficient, and equitable employment marketplace by shifting employer focus from where candidates learned their skills to how well they can put those skills to use. We’ve built Skillful.ly as a shared virtual workplace, freely available to all interested job-seekers, where aspiring workers can come to develop and demonstrate the skills employers actively want in a safe environment. By focusing solely on validated skill proficiency, we open the door for learners of all backgrounds to be considered on the merits of their ability, and we give employers the data-driven tools they need to make effective hiring decisions.

This connects learners who may have never considered high-potential careers in fields like finance, consulting, accounting, and data science to employers who may have never recognized that candidate's potential through other resume-driven hiring platforms.

So how does it all work?

Schools leverage Skillful.ly to bolster professional development and job placement opportunities, essentially relying on Skillful.ly to bridge the gap between what it means to be a student and what it means to be a thriving, empowered professional.

Learners join Skillful.ly and journey through three phases:

  • Discovery: proprietary self-discovery assessments
  • Growth: virtual skill validation, collaborative group work, and mentorship
  • Hiring: interview prep and employer introductions

This is supplemented with workshops by Skillful.ly’s heads of science of the UC Berkeley Becoming Superhuman platform and sessions on navigating traditional workplaces while fully embodying your identity and how to ask empowered questions in a new setting.

Employers then access this talent pool, meeting a new set of candidates than they meet through target school recruiting or traditional hiring platforms.

With this in mind, the NYJCC tapped Skillful.ly to do what they do best - break all the barriers to prove that skills supersede pedigree.