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HBCU Talent Exchange – Diversify Your Hiring Practices

Monday, Jan 21 2019

Blog Post

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day commemorates the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and an activist for non-violent social change who was assassinated in 1968. This national observation of the civil rights leader is a day of service during which people, companies, and organizations are encouraged to give back to their communities. Many SEIA members will be spending today, or other days this week, participating in days of service and engaging with their local communities.

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, SEIA is releasing a video with our partners at the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Development Action Coalition (HBCU CDAC). Natasha Campbell, Director of the HBCU CDAC Clean Energy Initiative, along with her colleagues at WorkFountain, shared information about a recruitment tool that may be of interest to solar companies across the U.S. The HBCU Clean Energy Initiative was established to support and strategically engage the nation's 107 HBCUs to expand access to clean energy and energy efficiency on campuses and adjacent communities where HBCUs are located by catalyzing HBCUs resources and relationships to connect with low-income individuals and families. This includes the development and deployment of coordinated solar and energy efficiency workforce programs through collaboration with organizations like SEIA and other interested stakeholders, with an strong focus on efforts to create a more diverse clean energy workforce. SEIA kicked off a partnership with the HBCU CDAC in 2018, and this is the first of many resources and programs our collaborative effort aims to deliver.

Many solar employers struggle to find and hire qualified candidates. The Solar Training Network notes that 84 percent of installers reported difficulty finding qualified applicants, and 26 percent reported it was “very difficult.” We see the connection between SEIA and the HBCU CDAC’s Talent Exchange as one way we can help our member companies address hiring challenges, while simultaneously reducing hiring bias and mismatches between job seekers and companies. The Talent Exchange moves beyond resume and job description searches to share more accurate information that helps both employers and job seekers make more informed hiring decisions. Through a survey based on the specific needs of the position, the platform quickly scores each candidate to assess their alignment for the opening and shares the results with both the recruiter and the candidate through the Talent Exchange’s Fit Assessment®.

Reducing bias and increasing diversity in the recruiting process is at the core of this technology. In addition to removing the reliance on resumes during the screening process, employers can mask candidate information that is prone to bias until an interview is scheduled.

The HBCU-CDAC Talent Exchange is part of the WorkFountain Network and is dedicated to connecting HBCU students and alumni with meaningful internship and job opportunities.

A few highlights:

  • 8,670 Companies have used WorkFountain
  • 69.8 percent have fewer than 100 employees
  • 277 have more than 5,000 employees


HBCU Community Development Action Coalition promotes, supports, and advocates for historically black colleges and minority serving institutions (MSIs), community development corporations (CDCs), and the community economic development industry whose work creates wealth, builds healthy and sustainable communities, and achieves lasting economic viability. HBCU CDAC fulfills its mission of service to its members working in disinvested urban and rural communities through education, resource development, advocacy, networking, and training.

Natasha Campbell Director, HBCU Clean Energy Initiative ([email protected])

About WorkFountain

The WorkFountain platform was originally developed through a partnership between the U.S. Department of Labor, the New Economy Initiative, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Digerati, Inc. The partnership focused on a deep exploration of the inefficiencies hindering the establishment of a natural equilibrium between the supply and demand sides of the U.S. labor market. That research ultimately resulted in the development of the powerful technology behind WorkFountain.

Wendy Pittman Vice President, WorkFountain ([email protected])

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