Poor education and employment are the fuel that keep the cycle of poverty running. Philly-based recruiting startup JaneHires is trying to help underprivileged populations find the latter.
Not directly, per se. The company is working with employers to remove some basic barriers to employment for returning citizens, veterans and other folks with “challenging backgrounds,” said COO Everett Reiss.
The startup is helping employers improve fair chance hiring practices. That could mean stripping nonessential requirements from job descriptions. Ever see a posting for an entry-level job that requires three to five years of experience? That kind of requirement is almost always unnecessary, said Reiss.
“You’re unintentionally excluding people in the way you’ve defined something from the start,” he said. “We’ll help employers hone in on what’s really important.”
What’s really important, said Reiss, are attitudinal qualities such as teachability and competitiveness, traits that are often hard to measure. Jane helps employers set up targets for companies so they can fairly assess those attributes — they helped OG Philly social enterprise Wash Cycle Laundry develop its hiring process.
— Jane (@janehires) January 26, 2017
You can call it inclusive, said Reiss, but it’s not intentionally so. These are traits that employers should prefer to look for in their hiring processes regardless of the candidate. But employers looking to intentionally hire people with employment challenges such as homelessness or a criminal record need to know what they’re doing.
“If you’re going to tap into these talent pools, which we believe you should, you also need to be prepared in how to engage those talent pools,” said Reiss.”
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Jane is working on that, too. They’ve been connecting organizations on the frontlines of workforce development — nonprofits such as homelessness-focused Back on My Feet and veteran service provider Liberty USO — directly to employers through job feeds.
Modernity has seen slow-moving nonprofits and government agencies try and fail to effectively break down barriers to employment for vulnerable populations. The private sector, however, brings a promising capacity for speed. That’s something social services can’t offer.
We’re a company that’s intimately involved with how other organizations are hiring people,” said Reiss. “We feel like we can make a difference trying to solve larger workforce issues.”