KnowBe4’s “Jumpstart” Program Opens Employment Opportunities for Underserved Youth, with Erika Lance, KnowBe4
Erika Lance: [00:00:00] So I worked a lot with local high schools, helping with some of their career committees and stuff like that. And I found that a lot of times people coming out of high school, especially in underrepresented communities, they don’t always have an option. It’s not always an option to go to college. Right? It’s not free. There’s not an option. And some don’t have the availability to do it. And they have to just start working. And the moment, you know, it’s the snake eating its own tail. You want somebody to come into the area, but they can’t come into the area unless they have experience, but they can’t get experience until they’re allowed into the area. And so if you don’t go, okay wait, we have to break this cycle. This doesn’t work. So we started with, we have three programs that we’re doing, but the first one was called Jump Start. And we’re taking kids that have either graduated from high school, or have gotten their GED already, that want to move into a technical type role, but have no experience. We didn’t expect them to have any work experience at all. Instead, we got references from teachers or volunteer groups they work with, or potentially religious leaders that they had that they maybe did some work with.
Erika Lance: [00:01:15] That’s where we got our references. And we’re starting from the beginning. It was supposed to be a program of six. We had seven because our recruiter got very excited and hired more than six. But we were like, okay, let’s do this. So they’re all doing really, really well. So that’s our first program where we’re bringing them in. They’re coming in at a slightly lower salary than our tier one tech support, because we’re seeing if they can move up to that. But at the end of the program, which is within six months, is they get to apply for one of our tech support positions and they will get paid what our tier one tech support get paid, because we believe in pay banding for a position, not the person. And the other thing they get is if they stay with the program, we’re giving them a two year degree. They can get an AA or an AS, and we partner with our local college to get that to happen. And it can be in whatever they they want to be when they grow up. But we want to give them the opportunity to expand their life.
Erika Lance, Chief Human Resources Officer, KnowBe4
With over 25 years of experience and prestigious awards such as the 2021 OnCon HR Professional of the Year Award and the 2018 Tampa Bay Business Journal’s People First Award, Lance is a distinguished leader in the Human Resources field. She has been promoted to chief human resources officer at KnowBe4 where she is responsible for leading the global HR team and developing new initiatives for recruiting, retention, company culture and diversity. Under her leadership throughout the last few years, the People Operations team has grown from 10 team members to over 50 team members in 11 countries across six continents. Lance is most well known for her radical transparency and her people-centric approach to Human Resources.
The OnCon Icon Awards recognize the top HR professionals and HR vendors in the entire world. Finalists were voted on by peers to determine the winners. Voting on finalists was open to the public and was based on the following criteria:
- Made a considerable impact on their organization and/or previous organizations.
- Made strong contributions to their professional community through thought leadership.
- Innovate in their role/career.
- Exhibit exceptional leadership.
“As HR leaders we’ve dealt with a lot of changes this year, and I’m sure there are still more to come,” said Lance. “The fact that we’re talking about and awarding the successes from this year just shows that we’re doing something right. We all adjusted to working from home. We all had to get used to this new way of life and hopefully we’ve all figured out ways to keep our employees happy, healthy and engaged while working remotely.”
Lance was recognized for spearheading new employee initiatives during COVID-19 pandemic to keep energy and morale high. Her leadership has directly positively influenced KnowBe4 and its employees.
Listen to Erika’s full Workplace MVP interview here.
The “One Minute Interview” series is produced by John Ray and in the North Fulton studio of Business RadioX® in Alpharetta. You can find the full archive of shows by following this link.
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