Welcome to our weekly corner: Getting to Know. Every week, we’ll take a few minutes to catch up with a Claira team member to help our readers and users get to know them better. You know what Claira does, so let us highlight the people behind the machine and what makes them an expert in workforce development through different questions. Hopefully, this will give you a glimpse into their personalities and even their competencies.
This week, we’re getting to know Katie Hall, founder and CEO of Claira. Katie holds multiple accolades, and received degrees from Hope College, University of Michigan and MIT. She even pursued a professional volleyball career and a career in the federal government before pivoting to workforce development.
The lack of resources for everyone was what initially drew me into workforce development. Historically, workforce development has been a government system between two sectors: education and employers. And it has always been underfunded and typically only utilized by people who are underemployed. For example, One-Stop Centers are federally funded and mandated in every state. However, the system still needs to be proactive and integrated across talent levels, geographies and industries. In the coming decades, workforce development will be driven by industry and their needs and less by the government.
Stakeholders’ needs and wants and their pain points led to the epiphany for Claira. From listening to them, employers don’t really care about degrees or resumes. However, there just isn’t anything better at the moment. Higher education wants their students to get jobs. Nonetheless, they have to teach what the curriculum dictates, detached from labor market outcomes. And individuals want to work (contrary to themes in the media), but they don’t know where to start, how to train, or the best way to connect to work. Employers have repeatedly said, “All I care about is what someone can do on the job today.” This is what competencies are.
The biggest labor market mess during the pandemic was what Claira is best suited to solve. The current system has no way of moving labor market supply quickly enough to keep up with a drastic change in demand. Several industries like hospitality basically shut down and others like logistics, healthcare and tech didn’t have enough people. If Claira had been around before 2020, unemployed workers could’ve quickly moved into other industries where their competencies were needed. 70% of competencies are shared across industries, but resumes, career experiences and other silos prevent the market from seeing this crosswalk. In addition, large segments of the workforce aren’t online at all. Claira would’ve had an expanded talent pool available to call on that would have been available to step into roles quickly.
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