Alvin Toffler said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” At Salesforce.org, we believe that every student should be given the support and access they need to get the jobs they want, but they should also be empowered to become lifelong learners, develop new skills over time, and achieve their life purpose.
One of the key findings of the second edition of the Connected Student Report, was that student career pathways are top of mind. Students are increasingly looking toward higher education institutions to prepare them for careers, yet 31% of students report not getting good value from their institution, citing a lack of job and career prospects as a top reason. In addition, 57% of students say their institution does a fair or worse job of preparing them for job interviews and virtual internships.
But here’s the good news: According to JFF, “the crisis surrounding the pandemic, recession, and awakening on racial justice has led to a creative disruption moment, and big employers are more engaged than ever in trying to find solutions.” Now is the time for higher education institutions and employers to provide a comprehensive approach to career planning, milestone tracking, coaching, and outcomes, leveraging technology as a force multiplier.
I recently had the pleasure of talking to Jarlath O’Carroll, founder and CEO of Jobspeaker — an organization that helps people find jobs by bridging the gap between education and employment. In our conversation, O’Carroll speaks to the company’s mission to enhance career readiness and streamline the job search process, Jobspeaker’s partnership with Salesforce, and future plans to help support a more comprehensive approach to career development and planning.
Navneet Johal (NJ): There are several stakeholders on a mission to improve college-to-career pathways and simplify the job search process. Why are you passionate about this part of that process, and how does Jobspeaker help?
Jarlath O’Carroll (JO): Throughout my career I’ve mostly had the luxury of moving from job to job as a result of getting recruited or introduced via a network. However, when I sought to change jobs or directions it was hard to find people to help because most of my network was in my previous industry. This is when I re-engaged in formal education. But even then it was hard, having had a very successful career in technology and now looking for a mid-career change.
Then during the financial crisis of 2010, I noticed the millions of people affected by that global recession had the same problem but each individual had much less control — the change was not voluntary, it was forced upon them. Those who could least afford it, were the most affected.
So I started digging a little deeper by speaking with community colleges and career schools across the country to see how they help their students make a transition into the job market, and then to. The disparity and quality of access to information, resources, and data was stark. It was then that I decided to build a company that would help democratize access to the labor market for all — to help people make transitions in their career, whether voluntary or forced, and whether they had 0 work experience or 30 years’ worth.
Since then, the job market has continued to dramatically change — particularly in the last year or so — towards a pattern where individuals need to be able to manage their career over their lifetime working in partnership with institutions and employers. That’s what we are solving for – helping individuals manage their career over their lifetime with our AI skills based platform.
NJ: Earlier this year, Jobspeaker joined the Salesforce AppExchange. What are the benefits of this new partnership?
JO: Salesforce is a platform, but it’s also a living, breathing ecosystem of connections, data, and people. As Salesforce usage in the nonprofit, education, and workforce landscape continues to grow, more and more of our customers are asking how they can see the data that we help them collect (on their students, employers, programs, partnerships and outcomes) that’s viewable within that more expansive Salesforce ecosystem.
Therefore, we are helping our clients deliver on a 360-degree view into their business, with granular data on student progress, skill acquisition, employer engagement, work-based learning, outcomes, and more.
NJ: What’s on your roadmap for future development with higher ed institutions?
JO: We are working with some schools now to support the student journey and to make sure they start preparing for the world of work by getting on the right path and staying on that path throughout their studies. Sitting alongside their academic journey, we are helping them understand the goal of that education, how the skills they are learning relate to work, the types of jobs that they will be qualified for within their pathway, and which skills/activities they can pursue to help them stay on the path and be better prepared once they graduate.
We’re also providing enhanced assessments which align students and prospective students with the right pathway based on their desires, interests, and skills. Then leveraging our AI Skills Transcript system to match students/alumni into their careers. In addition, we’re helping institutions easily align their student management and learning management systems in order to show progress along both their academic and career pathways.
With Salesforce, we’re planning additional enhancements to ensure we can share more data about the student and employer engagement and outcomes with deeper analytical tools to match.
NJ: How can our readers learn more about Jobspeaker?
Learn more by downloading the Salesforce career guide: From Service to Strategy: Rethinking Career Readiness
About the Author
Director, Industry Solutions at Salesforce.org
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