July 5, 2023 – Future of Work

Horizons Summit 2023: The mutual benefit of employers rethinking talent pipelines


In June, the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) sponsored the Horizons Summit, presented by Jobs for the Future, in New Orleans. The two-day conference focused on investing in human potential and redesigning talent pipelines so they work for both workers and employers.  

Case studies show how employers can change talent strategies mindset

Two CKF partners, Per Scholas and Skills for America’s Future, presented case studies that asked attendees to rethink how their organizations could partner with employers to set talent strategies that will improve outcomes for both the companies and the people who work for them. 

The session featured Daniel Cervantes, senior vice president of national expansion and strategic initiatives for Skills for America’s Future, and Noah Mitchell, regional senior vice president for Per Scholas. Stand Together’s Andy Tonsing moderated the discussion, highlighting how each case study helped reorient the employer’s mindset to focus on the dignity of each job seeker and the role the companies could play in unlocking an applicant’s potential.

The Skills for America’s Future case study featured a healthcare provider that used its economic power to provide job opportunities for overlooked populations in its community. The Per Scholas case focused on their partnership with a company to fill IT positions with individuals who had the skills to fill roles, but lacked college degrees. 

Cervantes and Mitchell explained that by engaging deeply with the companies to build solutions based on their unique needs, and those of the job seekers, they produced better outcomes for both parties.

Mutual benefit: Rethinking hiring mindset means both employers and workers win

“We see talent disbursed throughout communities, but access to quality jobs is not,” said Cervantes. “Using a holistic and consultative approach, in our case study we applied our Jobs-First model. We served as an extension of the healthcare company’s HR team by embedding a recruiter to assess and provide solutions that reduced the barriers to employment and built formal career pathways to bring in more local talent.”

One theme that surfaced throughout the session was the importance of having an employer build around the existing interests and aptitudes of their applicants. This strategy ensures people are connected to opportunities that provide them unique meaning and fulfillment — a key element that creates the type of motivated, excited workforce that results in improved employee retention.

“The workshop was energetic, and participants brought really creative approaches to the discussion,” said Mitchell. “The ability to share just one unique way Per Scholas partners with businesses — rethinking talent pipelines — was incredible, and I know it sparked ideas of collaboration for the future. When we invest in programs that work, we all win.”

Find more information about the Horizons Annual Summit here.