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Opportunity@Work Announces Tech for Good Partnership with Workday to Help Improve Economic Mobility for Workers

New marketplace platform looks to leverage Workday technology to help hire and place job seekers who are Skilled Through Alternative Routes (STARs) at scale

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Opportunity@Work today announced plans to establish a Tech for Good partnership with Workday, Inc. (NASDAQ: WDAY), a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources. The first-of-its-kind partnership looks to leverage Workday's skills cloud to support Opportunity@Work's marketplace, which will help match STARs – workers in the U.S. who don't have four-year degrees but are Skilled Through Alternative Routes – with employers in need of their skills, allowing them to work, learn, and earn to their full potential.

There are currently 71 million STARs in the U.S. today.1 Based on their work experience, roughly 30 million STARs already have skills that qualify them for better-paying roles within their geography2, but lack a way to 'signal' those skills to employers. By looking to leverage Workday's skills cloud – a machine learning-powered universal skills ontology that helps refine, understand, and relate job skills data – Opportunity@Work will be able to explore how its marketplace can best support job-seeking STARs and employers through skills matching.

"We are delighted to partner with a market-leading innovator like Workday as we prepare to launch this brand-new hiring platform focused on STARs," said Byron Auguste, CEO of Opportunity@Work. "As the U.S. labor market is disrupted by the unprecedented shocks due to COVID-19, employers face a fork in the road. Do they react to a surge of job applications by retreating to the old 'pedigree'-based screening, or will they be inspired by what we're seeing in this crisis: the adaptability, resourcefulness, and evident talent of so many 'essential' workers who are STARs? Exploring applications of Workday's skills cloud will help Opportunity@Work enable the latter path so we can accelerate the day when businesses can easily find and hire STARs; support more effective training programs to scale up successfully; and get millions of STARs into higher-wage work."

"The world of work is changing, and the recent uncertainties we've seen surface in the wake of COVID-19 have underscored the importance of enabling agility across the entire U.S. workforce," said Jim Shaughnessy, executive vice president of Corporate Affairs, Workday. "As a company with deep roots in talent management, we know one of the most effective ways to do this is through skills-based hiring, which puts more workers on the path to higher earnings so they can realize their full potential. At Workday – where innovation is a core value, and we share a common goal of creating meaningful employment opportunities for all – we're honored to further these commitments, this in-partnership opportunity with Opportunity@Work."

By streamlining and improving the matching process to more accurately reflect skills and readiness, Opportunity@Work's marketplace for STARs will enable businesses to meet their talent needs by hiring  STARs, while also opening up a wide variety of career pathways to higher earning for STARs across the country. Opportunity@Work's marketplace for STARs will be made available in the greater Washington, D.C. area this spring, and Opportunity@Work will extend access to its marketplace for STARs to San Diego, Calif. this summer, with plans to expand to several markets across the U.S. over the next few years.

"STARs represent a massive pool of talent – all too often overlooked by employers," said Auguste. "Our rigorous research demonstrates that low-wage work is wrongly equated with low skills of a worker, and the lack of a degree is wrongly presumed synonymous with a lack of skills. By teaming up with world-class partners like Workday, we can rewire this dysfunctional feature of our labor market to ensure that STARs' lifelong learning can lead to higher earnings, as they are rewarded for the skills they have and the performance they deliver – rather than excluded for the degree they lack."

Opportunity@Work is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization uniting companies, workforce development partners, and philanthropists in a movement to increase career opportunities for the more than 71 million adults in the U.S. who do not have a four-year college degree but are Skilled Through Alternative Routes - or, as we call them, "STARs."

For the latest Opportunity@Work news and information, visit the Opportunity@Work Media Center.

1, 2Reach for the STARs: Realizing the Potential of America's Hidden Talent Pool," Opportunity@Work, March 2020

(PRNewsfoto/Opportunity@Work)
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SOURCE Opportunity@Work