#skillsfirstjobsnow campaign encourages employers to pledge and commit to skills-first hiring
[Boston, Mass. — February 28, 2023] – YUPRO Placement, the industry-leading skills-first placement firm, is launching its #skillsfirstjobsnow campaign that brings together an ecosystem of employers, workforce development organizations, and upskilling providers that commit to hiring, training, and elevating traditionally overlooked talent. YUPRO Placement also joins the Tear the Paper Ceiling coalition, along with YUPRO Placement’s parent organization Year Up, Inc., for organizations to remove hiring barriers for talent skilled through alternative routes (STARs), rather than through a bachelor’s degree. This builds a more equitable workforce based on skills, abilities, and competencies instead of degrees, pedigree, and formal qualifications.
“Through this campaign, employers commit to skills-first hiring practices with actual hiring goals and can publicly showcase their commitment,” said YUPRO Placement CEO Michelle Sims. “They have access to our National Opportunity Workforce which is comprised of more than 100,000 highly motivated and ready-to-work STARs from our exclusive network of nonprofit training providers. Employers are able to fill critical talent vacancies, and talent are placed in career-progressing jobs at higher wages, while benefiting from our lifetime career and wraparound support services, upskilling programs, and professional development offerings.”
“Year Up’s corporate partners have known for more than 20 years the tremendous value of hiring for skills over degrees,” said Gerald Chertavian, Year Up Founder and CEO. “With this campaign, YUPRO Placement will help employers across the country access a pipeline of skilled, career-ready talent that will take their organizations to the next level.”
Nationwide, companies face both early and mid-career hiring challenges and talent skills gaps to meet business demands. It’s essential that companies find partners that can source nontraditional, skilled talent on demand. YUPRO Placement designs term-time work experiences incorporating upskilling pathways with industry-recognized partners, such as IBM SkillsBuild, Grow with Google, Cisco Academy, Infosec Institute, a part of Cengage Work, and OpenClassrooms, that elevate the earn and learn hiring model so employers can reach untapped talent and assess on-the-job skills before committing to a full-time hire. This evolution of an informal apprenticeship program and hiring STARs for tech, cybersecurity, business and financial operations, HR, and marketing roles is a sustainable skills-based hiring strategy that creates a lasting talent advantage for employers.
“STARs are half of our skilled workforce. If employers don’t have a STARs talent strategy, they only have half a talent strategy,” said Opportunity@Work CEO & Co-Founder Byron Auguste. “Tearing the paper ceiling is about bringing in talent based on skills over degrees and performance over pedigree. This is innovation by inclusion – tapping into all talents and valuing workers’ skills by whatever route they gained them.”
When hiring STARs, employers open up job opportunities for over 70 million Americans blocked by the paper ceiling – which includes college degree requirements. This hiring barrier affects 76% of Black Americans and 83% of Latinx Americans that do not hold a four-year degree, but who have built their skills through internships, workforce development training, industry-recognized certifications, bootcamps, on-the-job learning, and community college classes. This approach is crucial for organizations to foster inclusive opportunity and racial equity. It also gives them a competitive advantage because diverse organizations are more likely to financially outperform their peers, thus making investments in recruiting and hiring STARs pivotal to any talent acquisition strategy.
YUPRO Placement invites employers to make a pledge today as a supporter, an ally, a champion, or a visionary. Together we can shatter the talent shortage myth and build better workplaces by leveraging YUPRO Placement’s National Opportunity Workforce and hiring STARs.
To learn more about YUPRO Placement and to take the pledge for skills-first hiring today, visit
About YUPRO Placement
YUPRO Placement is the industry-leading skills-first placement firm bringing together a purposeful workforce ecosystem that champions sourcing, recruiting, retaining, and advancing traditionally overlooked talent. Since 2014, companies of every size and sector have trusted YUPRO Placement as their preferred partner to deliver strategic, skills-based hiring solutions with access to diverse, career-ready talent from an exclusive, nationwide network of mission-aligned nonprofits and upskilling partners. Today’s top employers build diverse and inclusive workplaces with YUPRO Placement while creating pathways to upward economic mobility, because placement with social impact is better business.
About Year Up Inc.
Year Up is a national 501(c)3 workforce development organization committed to ensuring equitable access to economic opportunity, education, and justice for all young adults—no matter their background, income, or zip code. Year Up utilizes a high-expectations, high support model where students learn in-demand technical and professional skills and apply them during a corporate internship. Year Up has served more than 34,000 young adults across 35 campuses since its founding in 2000 and has been voted one of the “Best Nonprofits to Work For” by The NonProfit Times. To learn more, visit http://www.yearup.org, and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.
Opportunity@Work is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to enable at least 1 million working adults in America to translate their learning into earning – generating a $20 billion boost in annual earnings. Opportunity@Work engages with corporate, philanthropic, and workforce partners to directly address the barriers that STARs face, recognize STARs’ talent, and remove bachelor’s degree screens. Learn more at www.opportunityatwork.org.