June 25, 2020
President and CEO, Chime Solutions
Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, ADP, Principal and Investment Strategist, Edward Jones
Often when American businesses look to hire new employees, underserved or lower-income communities are overlooked in the search, and much of that oversight is blamed on the misconception that the talent “isn’t there.”
Mark Wilson, president and CEO of Chime Solutions, found his search for talent in underserved communities to have the opposite result. In fact, companies can (and should) work harder to find talent in underserved communities.
The Misconception of ‘Missing Talent’
Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP, talked about the “infrastructure barriers to finding these opportunities,” noting a woman who took 60 bus stops to get to a job interview, simply because there were no opportunities in her community.
“The job opportunities are often not in the communities that need them the most,” she said. Richardson added that actively searching out talent in underserved communities can be the solution to this common issue.
“I think the biggest misconception or stereotype when it comes to underserved communities and the talent that exists there … is that the talent really isn't there,” added Wilson. “And we're disproving that.”
“What we've done is gone in with intention, with an investment mentality, to make sure that we're investing in the folks that we're bringing into our company,” Wilson said, explaining that his company then allows them the chance to showcase their skills and capabilities.
Finding Success Recruiting in Underserved Communities
Wilson explained that recruitment in underserved communities has proven to be successful for everyone involved.
“Here you have a resource pool of talent … [and] no one has taken the time or the effort to go into those communities and invest in the folks and take advantage of the talent,” he said, noting that this simple action benefits each party in the equation: the prospective employee, their underserved community and the company recruiting them. However, many companies are still simply waiting for the talent to come to them.
“It just makes good sense for us to take the time to invest in the folks that we know have the talent, when invested in … to do good work and to excel,” Wilson affirmed.
Wilson demonstrated his own company’s success to prompt other businesses to follow suit, stressing that “it’s worked out really well” for his business and these underserved communities.
“We're trying to expand this model across the whole country and give those [who] are in these communities the chance they need to get ahead,” he said.