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May 29, 2020
Workforce Week: Building a Future of Hope and Opportunity
By Ebony Beckwith
COVID-19 continues to impact the job market, and for people from underrepresented communities, the systemic obstacles they faced before COVID can add an additional layer of difficulty.
Salesforce recently participated in Workforce Week™, an annual program founded by Workday that equips people facing barriers to employment with the skills, training, and connections needed to gain lasting, meaningful employment. Together with Workday, DocuSign, LinkedIn, and Okta, and nonprofit partners, 10,000 Degrees, BRIDGEGOOD, COOP, Cal State East Bay, Job Train, JVS, San Francisco State University, and Upwardly Global, we hosted 400 job seekers from underserved communities. Throughout the week, they participated in workshops focused on learning about new career pathways, gaining in-demand skills, and expanding their networks.
Salesforce hosted two workshops focused on career exploration and networking, Careers in the Salesforce Ecosystem and Career Conversations. These sessions were supported by over 100 Salesforce employee volunteers who offered one-on-one meetings with attendees to share their career journeys and offer advice. Job seekers found time with employees to be invaluable as many do not have access to large professional networks that can help facilitate job referrals and build social capital.
When asked what she enjoyed the most about Workforce Week, Elena Pastukhova, a participant through Upwardly Global who is currently studying at City College of San Francisco, shared, “Most exciting was the opportunity to have one-to-one sessions with employees! I was so fortunate to get direct advice from employees in different departments who answered my questions regarding skills, tools, and resources that I personally can use to be more productive and empower my job search during this challenging time.”
Juan Trujillo, a participant through JobTrain’s IT Service & Support Training Program, also enjoyed connecting with employees. “Workforce Week has helped prepare me for my future by getting to look at what it's like in an IT environment. I really enjoyed the mock interviews,” he shared. “It was great preparation and practice for future interviews I will have.”
At the heart of Workforce Week is a call to action for employers to connect motivated job seekers with in-demand careers and generate economic opportunity for all. At Salesforce, we do this through our Future Ready program, which equips young people with the skills and experiences they need to reach their full potential.
As we look ahead to the future, as uncertain as it may be, I am optimistic about our collective ability to connect as many people as possible to professional networks and opportunities. Events like Workforce Week allow us to actively build a diverse workforce, something all companies need to thrive.
Though the event is over, the impact remains. The new skills, potential career paths, and relationships continue to grow – and that is what keeps me hopeful.