WIN believes that the advance of cloud-computing offers a transformative opportunity to align stakeholders around new and innovative workforce development solutions. In that light, WIN is in the process of developing CloudPod Network as an overarching infrastructure, designed to support a collaborative of individual CloudPods – physical centers that provide cloud-based computing skills training and essential life support services. In addition, in the CloudPods assistance will be provided to find traditional employment or alternative work opportunities. CloudPod Network is building a comprehensive and connected system that equips individuals living with barriers with in-demand cloud-based computing and administration skills, enabling them to learn, work and earn in a safe and nurturing environment.
Demand is growing rapidly across the U.S and around the world for individuals with basic business administration skills and experience, or training in cloud-computing related skills. Of particular importance is that Salesforce.com is supportive of efforts to train disadvantaged individuals in the software it generates – in partnership with non-profit organization’s the Salesforce.com Foundation has launched programs throughout the globe that seek “to equip young adults with the business skills, technology training, and hands-on experience required to be successful in the fast-growing social enterprise industry.”
CloudPod Network partners with community-based service organizations and support agencies to provide essential life services and cultivate a supportive learning and a nurturing work environment. There is an intentional focus to ensure that individuals served in a CloudPod are adequately supported so that they can function, learn, and work to the best of their abilities. Community- and institutional-based CloudPods are designed to address identified barriers to employment that include:
- Access to childcare: partnerships with community organizations that provide on site childcare, flexible hours of operation, and course offerings at convenient hours.
- Available transportation: CloudPods are located in a central location or local community center that is within walking distance or accessible from a constituent’s home.
- Insufficient basic skills: remedial education lessons will be available, and a comprehensive screening process is in place to ensure constituents are prepared for curriculum delivery.
- Lack of support/encouragement: Each CloudPod will be launched through community collaboration, achievable incentives and shared accountability.
Pilot Project Overview
Advancements in the cloud-based computing technology industry have created opportunities for training and equipping low-income individuals for administrative and management positions and careers within the industry. This new ‘medium of exchange’ for delivering service and skills to employers, intrinsically addresses some of the major barriers facing low-income individuals in accessing the world of work: 1) The Cloud enables an individual to provide some or all of their work remotely, an important feature for individuals who do not have adequate transportation, day-care and limited financial resources to address barriers; and 2) Many of these administrative positions are flexible in terms of working hours, which can be ideal to meet the challenges associated with family responsibilities.
WIN deployed a pilot program in partnership with the Glen Hazel Community Resident Management Corporation, a public housing community in Pittsburgh, to recruit and train members of the resident population – and low-income persons generally – in cloud-based computing skills using Salesforce.com as the core training tool. The program targeted adult residents served by the GHCRMC between the ages of 18 and 35, and equipped individuals with entry-level Salesforce.com administrative capabilities. Eleven students completed the classroom training in March 2016 and subsequently a three-month ‘traineeship’ with local non-profit organizations that use Salesforce.com in June 2016. Upon completion of the ‘traineeship,’ more than half of the graduates were placed in employment at organizations throughout the City of Pittsburgh.
WIN is working to develop relationships with employers – both non-profit organizations and companies – to:
- Host the students in 3-month traineeships designed to apply the concepts learned in training;
- And to eventually assist the graduates in finding work after successfully completing the program.
For more information on our CloudPod Network Initiative,
please contact Emily Adair, Partner and our Director of Workforce Innovation.