S5 E31 | Recruiting Community: Athena Karp talks Future of Work

Athena Karp joins the show to talk with Chris Hoyt about her latest work and Future of Work initiatives.

S5 E31 | Recruiting Community: Athena Karp talks Future of Work

Athena Karp joins the show to talk with Chris Hoyt about her latest work and Future of Work initiatives.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 
You know, I will say it’s like I was telling you I’m not. I’m not a huge minions fan, but but I guess they have a new movie out and I’m seeing them everywhere. Are you you’re not a minions fan either.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 0:11
I’ve never seen it but you’re gonna sing the minion song for us?

Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:16
You do that’s all I’ve got. I don’t know anything else about the minions there? Aren’t they bad? I think they’re like chaotic bad or some sort of lovable bad.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 0:25
It just No, they’re little creatures. I like em

Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:29
Are they? Are they the same as in Buzz Lightyear the claw the claw? Those little guys? Are they the same? Are those the minions?

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 0:36
You were asking the wrong person? You have the wrong guests on your show.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:39
This is not the show you signed up for. All right, well, let’s do this. You’re ready.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 0:48

Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:49
Here we go.

Announcer 0:51
Welcome to the CXR channel. Our premier podcasts for Talent Acquisition and Talent Management. Listen in as the CXR community discusses a wide range of topics focused on attracting, engaging and retaining the best talent. We’re glad you’re here.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:21
All right, everybody. Welcome to today’s edition of the CXR recruiting community podcast. It doesn’t actually have anything to do with minions, except I am I’m still crying actually, unfortunately. But on the show here, we will bring you each week mostly live broadcasts of quick and sort of snackable discussions, we think with industry professionals, personalities and friends. For your info tainment. I’d like to encourage you to please click on the Subscribe and Like buttons and to reach out to us directly with feedback about the show after I think a few 100 episodes, which of course can all be found at cxr.works/podcast, we have come to find an enjoyable rhythm in this fun labor of love. And of course, that’s exactly what this is. We do not have sponsors or ads or any paying guests. This is just us talking with folks that we want to connect with and share those conversations with you now. Today’s guest is no stranger to the CareerXroads community. She’s a bit of a titan in the space and a French German myself. Let’s welcome her to the show. And say hello to Athena Karp, Athena, how are you?

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 2:19
Thanks for having me, Chris.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:22
I’m upset you didn’t wear your minions hat. It seems you’re a hardcore fan.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 2:28
I was gonna quote you with the minions and I’ve never seen it.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:31
Well, now you’re gonna I’m gonna send you the DVD. Now you’re gonna have to watch it.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 2:36
Then I need to buy a DVD player.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:38
So that’s a good point. I’m aging myself. Thank you for that. I’ll send you the stream.

Look Athena for those who don’t have the pleasure and the joy of having met you, or maybe knowing a little bit about you, can you give us what I like to call an escalator pitch. So give us that quick pitch of sort of who you are and sort of what what’s really going on in your space right now. And then I think we’ve got a fun topic to talk about today that some folks might not be expecting. But let’s get to know Athena a little bit, who is Athena?

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 3:10
So I’m, I started Hiredscore this company that I’ve run for the last nine and a half years, really with one goal, and that was how do we make hiring promotions, workforce decisions more fair and efficient. We’ve been focused on that for a decade, hope to be able to focus on that for many more decades. What’s been really exciting for us today, we work with almost 40% of the Fortune 100, actually a number of enlightened CareerXroads leaders and professionals. We started in many ways with that, you know how hiring and recruitment processes could be more fair and efficient, leveraging augmented solutions, and really connected to the technology, stack the ecosystem, and then move to internal mobility, then move to total talent management, and now to workforce planning. And what’s been so exciting about that, Chris, is the amount of data that we’ve seen, we’ve seen over 600 million hiring decisions. We’re in 150 countries. And that data in so many ways has shown us this kind of clue to what no one seems to have the answer for which is what’s increasingly in demand, what’s in what’s staying the same. And on the other hand, I was part of I was on the board of a public school in Philadelphia that’s trying to really change job access and opportunity creation for high poverty communities, and build a different model. And it was like in my professional world, we’re having discussions all day long with heads of TA about what can’t be found in the market, and what skills they really do. Need versus don’t need and what qualification someone needs to come with versus don’t. And then I’m sitting in these school meetings, and they’re all asking, who could tell us the map of what our kids should and could know to be more workforce ready, but the to never speak and the dots are never connected. And so,

Chris Hoyt, CXR 5:20
You know, it raises a really good point, because we’ve been talking to a lot of members, and we see this a lot in STEM. And I think in healthcare specifically for for nursing, a lot of employers have have moved sort of prior to college, right, they moved into early, earlier stages of recruitment into high schools, and even in some cases, middle schools just to spark an interest in these fields, right? Just to get students, young students minds thinking about what it could be like to work in technology field or to work in nursing as a career. And so you’ve got, you’ve got this initiative that you’re talking about and a future of work literacy for America, that I think, is taking a more aggressive approach across the board that might be a little more holistic is that I don’t know if that’s a little too ambitious, but it seems to be a little more holistic of an approach?

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 6:16
Well, I don’t know if holistic for us, it’s more long term oriented of the problem is much deeper than how can we all hire the same group of diverse talents between employers and, you know, there’s a lot of job boards and technologies and solutions that can help you do that. But we thought a lot about, you know, the, the topic I care most about is this job access to those that aren’t in those pools that aren’t in those funnels that aren’t finding those jobs. Because they don’t have the mentors, they don’t have the knowledge, they don’t know what that job could or would lead to versus alternative jobs that they’re selecting. And so the way we’re approaching it is saying, you know, this, there is no silver bullet here. And there is no shortcut. It is a 10 20 30 year commitment to how we find better ways of taking the data. And here’s the great news, most of our clients do three to five year plans. So actually, it does make sense for business. I read an article the other day that Amazon said in 2025, there’s not going to be the workers, they need to power the workforce that they need in the US. So like, we all know, the delta between what you need, and what people are going to on their own naturally come to you with is wider and wider. And that’s why it’s kind of like, if we don’t get ahead of it, it’s not going, it’s just going to get worse. And so in my mind, it’s a longer term. But it’s a longer term, because the problem is just going to escalate up. And shortages. And the disconnect between the populations that could do that work is just going to escalate in the other direction. So in many ways, it’s like, how do we build the infrastructure to be able to take to any school in America, especially schools that have these kind of lack of access, and lack of know how, and lack of opportunities, data around what employers increasingly need you to actually come with. It’s not just skills, it’s more than skills, sometimes it’s that certificate, sometimes it’s that, you know, nursing degree, sometimes it’s the something you can learn in a vocational school, well, whatever that is, and funnel that so that the students have the clarity of what is in what will be in demand, and what will that career path look like? Right.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 8:45
So I think so You said something kind of interesting earlier that that was surprising to me. And I don’t know if I should be embarrassed that I didn’t know this. But it was a little surprising to me with regards to the level of tech literacy programs and training. That is in today’s education system, at least in America. Can you talk a little bit a little bit about that.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 9:05
So I was shocked by this. We got a gift at our school, at the School in West Philadelphia. It’s an a and an Obama area of promise. So it’s a population that has has been underserved, we say by the education by the community by the you know, the government by the services across all pillars. And from that standpoint, what we found was there are zero hours of technical literacy in the public school curriculum, not in the city, not in the state and not federally so we have math and reading literacy, but we don’t have technical literacy, so not getting that

Chris Hoyt, CXR 9:48
But, this blows my mind because all the talk of STEM for the last number of years and all the talk of the government on investing in this this area for students especially like when we do The whole thing about girls in STEM years ago, right, we’re gonna ramp this up, we’re gonna get more women in technology. But what I hear you saying is there’s still zero, that system still has zero hours of any tech literacy training.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 10:13
Yeah. And then you take that, let’s say, global perspective in China, of not just stem training, artificial intelligence courses, curriculum certificates being brought across the entire education system. So like, we were not even addressing phase one, which is digital and technical literacy, let alone AI in computer vision and computer, you know, the advanced things. And so I Yes, it’s it’s shocking, but then what it just becomes is yet another challenge that based on you know, where you live, and and what community you’re born into, you will have either yet another advantage or yet another disadvantage, which to me is we know, technology is not going away, we know these jobs of the future will have some foundational digital literacy requirements. So how are we not, in real time funneling the information and as it evolves and changes? Because it’s, to me, it’s just a matter of connecting two dots that have the exact same desire intent and will suffer from the same problems? Just in a proactive way. Right?

Chris Hoyt, CXR 11:30
Yeah. Yeah. So well, let me ask you this. So so this future of work literacy for America, this program, you guys are working on? How does how does this organization respond to maybe the naysayers responded? The people that say, you know, what, Kid kids just don’t want to work today. Right? Or they just don’t want to do the work? I mean, are you seeing something that sort of flies in the face of that?

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 11:56
Yeah, so we actually had some, some fascinating data during COVID. That our high school students, when we were told that kids don’t want to work, or these kids don’t want to work. And then we actually looked at the year of the lockdown, you know, what percentage of our kids went and got jobs that were in, I think, 11th and 12th grade, and we had over 90%, went and got some type of work. So it’s not about they don’t want to work at all. I think the bigger question became, are they doing the work that they desire to do? Is it the work that’s meaningful? Is it the work that’s going to put them on the trajectory to have the opportunities they want? And the answer to that is often no. So then it becomes they have the desire, they’re putting in the effort? How do we connect more of those dots, and that kind of becomes the call for the program. I was lucky enough to be part of the Aspen Institute in a fellowship to develop this over the last three years, the Henry Crump fellowship. And what we found was actually, corporates, especially fortune 500 have a lot of content around this entry level jobs and these entry level career paths and these entry level skills. How do we get that content to the exact populations they dream of attracting and provide that vehicle so that if you wanted, you know, your workforce to be more diverse, and to have a more diverse population, not just applying to your jobs, but when they apply, be ready for what those jobs need? How do we funnel that content into high school, many of our students didn’t want to do SATs, they don’t want to go to a four year degree or program. They want to work or they want vocational or they want skills and they want a number of other things. It’s not a one size fits all education system. Right?

Chris Hoyt, CXR 14:00
Yeah. Well, that would that’s kind of where I was gonna ask you next is the impact of because, you know, we still have employers that are struggling with how much education should I require versus skills I should expect to require right for those roles. And I’m just wondering, like the students who will come up through this, through this program, how does this impact them you think long term, is it about getting employers on board and saying that four year degree is great for some or for many, but not necessary, not truly necessary for some of these jobs that will maybe have some folks who have some specialized, targeted training, right, that they’ve actually gone through to to be applicable.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 14:36
So and our goal with with the Belmont school, that’s the school that we’ve we’ve got received an innovation charter so we can, you know, give, give the students what they want and what they need, not what some model built 40/50 years ago thinks they want or thinks they need. Let’s let’s personalize. it’s personalize to needs and desires and so the model For us is not building a separate after school program, because that has a whole different type of access requirements that you don’t have to support your family. You don’t have to help out at home, you don’t have young kids, you have to, you know

Chris Hoyt, CXR 15:11
More time away from where you need to get home and help from Yeah,

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 15:15
Exactly. So our vision is how do we incorporate this into the curriculum of the school and provide this as a scalable model that any school that wants to replicate what we’ve done, could take our playbook, take our content, take our learnings, and then bring that into their school and program. So it’s a matter of for us kind of a few different pilot zones to be able to show, you know, we have an incredible school, amazing teachers, just an incredible environment for learning and growing and feeling support. And now for us that last piece is about how do we kind of take employers that have the desire to access that population and say, I don’t care if they want to go to college or not. That’s okay. Especially if because we hear more and more employers saying, we’re not just targeting colleges, we’re even targeting high schools for some of these jobs and roles. We’ve rethought that the college degree is not a necessary thing for certain jobs and opportunities, or this alternative, one year certificate program. Well, can our seniors know about that? Know what that will mean for salaries know what that will mean for job security know what that will mean for job trajectory. And get that? Well, they’re in 11th, and 12th grade. So they come in, they hit the job ready without having to take one year off in between and take loans and take on debt. And so, you know, it’s about employers identifying which of those jobs are they willing and open and desiring to make accessible to provide training to provide clarity of calls? And then how do we have those students have that clarity and connect the dots?

Chris Hoyt, CXR 17:01
So Athena, I’m in Texas, I’m not in Pennsylvania, and I’m an employer? How, how do I get involved? Like, I think we’ve got a link, we’re gonna throw a link up a little bit people can get more information. But But what what would be expected of me if I get like, this gets me all pumped up, and I want to do something and be part of it. What would my contribution be? Is it a money thing is a time thing? Like what do you need for me as an employer who’s interested?

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 17:30
So it’s, we have 1,400 kids, in our school in Philadelphia, many employers in Texas have jobs in Pennsylvania. So we’d love your jobs to bring to our students and your curriculum. For us, it’s not about money. It’s really about feedback and information of what type of roles would you add to this type of a population? If you had a similar public school with a similar situated kids? What jobs would you open up for them? What would the demand be? What skills would you want them to know? Because, you know, the broader the view we have of that future of work literacy defined corporate, by corporate by corporate, the better we can tailor this program, not just to the first few employers that raise their hand, but with a wider view of if if and as we expand when we expand to more and more cities that take this model to their education systems? You know, for us, it’s that how do we have the knowledge not just of what we would see in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but for what other states would see so that we’re not overfitting it to just some microcosm, but rather, we have that broader national view. So what I want to know is, what are your jobs? Would you be interested in this? What would you want in need of a connector between your future workforce and these schools to help you make the leap and think differently and activate such a program?

Chris Hoyt, CXR 19:08
All right, I love that. Let’s throw let’s throw the link up. There we go info.Hiredscore.com/cxr. That’s a fancy link. I like that. We throw that up for those who may not be watching her just listening. Again, it’s info.hiredscore.com/CXR and you can get more information there you can reach out directly to the team that sort of helping to drive that Athena, as I think, you know, CareerXroads s is a pretty rich community. We’re gonna make sure that we promote this internally. But we also have a nonprofit that is the CXR Foundation. And I think this warrants a little bit of attention and sort of a little bit of a communication and distribution for that. So we’re happy to help with that. Is there anything else you want to maybe add to this topic? It’s an exciting piece and it’s early days that you guys really push this forward. So it it is pretty, it is pretty exciting. Like I’m I’m a little pumped and I can’t even talk because I kind of want to figure out how I can play. What What else? Should anybody know? Is there any big takeaway outside of that as we sort of wrap up here?

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 20:07
No, I just think I think it’s the perfect time now, we’ve been focused on this for about the school and the administrator, the incredible administration school has been spent the last 15 20 years on this. And I think we’re just at the place where companies are open. And it was never about the candidate or the future talent being open and desiring this. But now we’re in this entire new framework of rethinking on every level, what do you actually need to come with? What can we teach you? And how do we access new populations of talent in in better ways for them. And so I’m so excited for what we can do so grateful for the CareerXroads, team and your support. And because we’re really just in this phase of trying to connect dots, the more feedback we have, from everyone here of what would it take for your org to make that jump? Or have you already made that jump, mentally and culturally, you just don’t have those connector orgs to help you connect those dots. And the more that we can learn where each of these companies is at kind of the better, we can figure out what services and what infrastructure we need to provide.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 21:27
I love it. I love it. It’s super exciting. It’s just admirable that the work you’re doing and the folks that are leaning in on that. So we are going to have to schedule something where you can come back with some status updates, and anything we can do to help pull those dots together, get everything connected, you know that we will, Athena, thank you so so much for your time. You’re super good. I got a lot of Athena this week.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 21:45
So inspired. Love CareerXroads. Can’t say enough about how you bring our whole community together and how you make our community better. So

Chris Hoyt, CXR 21:57
well. Thank you so much. We’re all we’re all doing it together. So it’s good stuff I’m gonna put you in the greenroom. So if you’ll just hang out just a little bit for me that all right.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 22:06
Yep. Thanks, Chris.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 22:07
No minions in the greenroom.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 22:08
Ah no Minions

Chris Hoyt, CXR 22:11
All right, everybody, I just want to say thanks again, for everybody dialing in, don’t forget, subscribe and like the buttons on there. I want to remind you to CXR.works/podcast is where you can check out hundreds literally hundreds. Don’t judge us on the early days we were learning as we went of our episodes, you can follow us on Twitter @careerX roads, you can follow us on Facebook facebook.com/careerXroads. We’re also on LinkedIn, you can do the math on that one yourself. And if you’re interested in figuring out what’s going on next, with any of the community events for both alumni members and for everyone open to the public just head out to CXR.works/events. And with that we’re gonna say goodbye everybody. We’ll see you next week.

Announcer 22:54
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