Future at Work Summit by Leaders Up draws 500 job seekers

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I ROCKED IT! is what the smile on this candidate’s face says. She left the LeadersUp job fair at Malcolm X last week with a job offer and a fresh outlook on her future. In its fourth year, the hiring summit brought together employers and potential employees. Three hundred applicants left the fair with job offers.

300 offers made on the spot at Malcolm X College

Nonprofit talent development accelerator LeadersUp drew some 500 job seekers to its annual Future at Work Summit last week at Malcolm X College. There were 15 employers with open positions, and 300 job offers were made on the spot. Half of the companies were Fair Chance Coalition employers who have adopted inclusive hiring practices such as #banthebox to ensure men and women with prior arrests and convictions aren’t unfairly eliminated from the talent pool. And 15 percent of participants were justice-involved, meaning they have a prior arrest or conviction.

“Highly inclusive” was the theme of LeadersUp’s 4th annual hiring summit and thought leadership forum. The day began with LeadersUp President and CEO Jeffery Wallace and representatives from JP Morgan Chase, Malcolm X, Strada Education Foundation and VISA making the business case for inclusive hiring practices. For hiring managers, Wallace shared retention strategies for Generation Z and Millennial workers. Summit sponsors included Bank of America and Google.org.

“There’s a new set of expectations from today’s workforce,” said Wallace, a Millennial social entrepreneur. “Young people get ongoing feedback on social media. Gen Z and Millennials look for managers to act more as coaches and direct their career pathways so that they might advance. Frontline managers are dealing with three to four generations at once with different expectations. We must rewire how we engage on an ongoing basis and ensure managers have the skills to perform at that frontline level.”

Wallace added that corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and tuition benefits resonate with young adults. “They care about whether their employer is willing to invest in them and the causes they care about.”

Last year, LeadersUp created the Fair Chance Coalition to challenge businesses to rethink their talent acquisition strategies to be more inclusive of justice-involved youth. In its “Just Opportunity” report, LeadersUp cites statistics that show African American youth are more likely to get arrested, which can negatively impact educational attainment, income levels and career opportunities for a lifetime.

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