While many women have earned positions of leadership in the American workforce, women of color continue to lag behind. The fact remains that despite national conversations about diversity in tech, women — more specifically, women of color — are still underrepresented, underpaid and often discriminated against.
The C-suite is one such example. Women account for 21% of C-suite positions, while only 3% of that group are women of color. There is an extreme representation and pay equity gap but the good news is that the staffing industry is in a unique position to address it.
Let’s take The Mom Project. The company is and has always been about ensuring working mothers have access to opportunities to have meaningful careers and support their families. Our mission is to address this vast disparity faced by moms of color, who are incredibly talented and driven.
We found that what’s keeping them from their goals are personal and systemic barriers that require new, innovative approaches to overcome. And reskilling programs can help remove those barriers. Transformative career acceleration and reskilling requires a holistic approach to ensure success.
Enter RISE, The Mom Project’s reskilling program. While we were developing the program, we identified six pillars that, if successfully addressed, can bridge the gap from both ends of the talent pipeline.
- Community. Community support offers mentoring and coaching programs along with educational resources for her children which are critical for mom’s ability to successfully complete the program.
- Personalized path curation. Having a tool that identifies for moms of color programs through which they have the highest likelihood of success and growth. The Mom Project elevates and matches potential participants to scholarships, deploying our proven matching and placement infrastructure.
- Holistic approach. The goal is to make learning flexible, as mom is the breadwinner. While upskilling, she has priorities to earn income, as well as act as primary caretaker. Our “Whole Mom” approach enhances and elevates her career without compromising her authenticity.
- Scholarship. Often, cost is a barrier with this cohort. Staffing firms can ease that burden through scholarships. RISE offers fully-funded scholarship opportunities for highly sought-after certifications in the tech industry for both entry and midlevel professionals made available through program partners and corporate sponsors.
- Certification/graduation. It’s important to emphasize graduation rates and not just scholarship candidates.
- Elevation/placement. Once training is complete, the moms of color will need accelerated new job placement. This is where program partners, corporate sponsors advocates come back into play, elevating moms to consideration for where they could otherwise be overlooked on an overcrowded job board.
Take RISE, for example. Not only does it provide accelerated, in-demand upskilling certifications on full-scholarship, it elevates her while fully supporting her as a woman of color and a mother. Further, she is matched with companies committed to DE&I, creating opportunity, influence and a path to upward mobility.
With this method of reskilling, we facilitate DE&I in the workforce by helping build a rich pool of upskilled women of color, increasing representation, preparing them for leadership roles and getting women of color closer to realizing pay parity.
Moms of color are in greatest need of upskilling opportunities for jobs offering flexibility of remote working so they can continue to care for their families while earning income. The pandemic has proven remote working is here to stay and moms of color will be left behind if not offered the opportunity to reskill. What are you doing around reskilling?