‘Skills-based hiring’ enhances the talent pools for businesses

Gov. Healey’s executive order to implement skills-based hiring in Massachusetts is a landmark decision, particularly impactful for organizations like G{Code}, based in Dorchester. As its executive director, I have seen the profound effect of valuing skills over academic credentials, especially for those marginalized groups who are trying to enter the tech sector.

Consider the story of Maria, a G{Code} graduate. Before joining our Intro to Web Development program, Maria struggled with housing insecurity and juggling multiple low-wage jobs. After completing our program, she landed a lucrative internship role in tech, a true reflection of her untapped potential. Maria’s journey is not unique at G{Code}; it mirrors the experiences of many participants who have risen from economic hardship to greater stability through thriving tech careers.

Our statistics show that roughly 42 percent of Intro to Web Development participants have battled housing insecurity. Impressively, more than 60 percent secure tech-related employment post-program, witnessing an average salary increase of 50 percent. These figures powerfully advocate for the effectiveness of skills-based education and employment strategies.

Businesses and organizations throughout Massachusetts should adopt this skills-based hiring model. This isn’t merely a shift in policy - it’s an embrace of inclusivity and diversity in the workforce.

While some contend that skills-based hiring could diminish the value of traditional education, our approach at G{Code} demonstrates the opposite. We recognize and honor diverse educational journeys and experiences, aiming to broaden, not replace, the avenues to opportunity and success.

We forge meaningful collaborations with local tech companies and educational institutions, bridging the gap between unconventional talent and the industry. These partnerships are vital for successfully implementing skills-based hiring, proving that such an approach is equitable and economically prudent. Furthermore, this method fosters innovation and growth while unlocking a broader talent pool to join the workforce. 

Gov. Healey’s executive order transcends policy reform; it symbolizes a beacon of hope for countless individuals. It aligns seamlessly with G{Code}’s mission to empower underrepresented groups in tech through skill development and mentorship. By focusing on individuals’ capabilities rather than their academic qualifications, we are opening doors to a wealth of talent that has been overlooked for far too long. Let’s collectively embrace this transformative change and cultivate a more inclusive, skilled, and dynamic workforce in Massachusetts.

Bridgette Wallace is the executive director of G{Code}, based on Hutchings Street in Dorchester.

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