Shine a light on America’s workforce development agencies

Throughout America, many public and private organizations help people obtain meaningful employment by providing technical and life skills training. Their clients frequently have significant barriers to employment, including criminal histories, physical or intellectual disabilities, and a lack of marketable skills. These workforce development agencies provide an opportunity to break the cycle of low-paying jobs and welfare reliance. It’s important to spread the word about these organizations so people know where to go for help. America's Job Honor Awards illuminates the path out of poverty by sharing success stories.

America’s Job Honor Awards adds capacity to workforce development agencies by serving as an outsourced, no-cost marketing service. We increase employer demand for their graduates while inspiring new candidates to seek their services. This model is already becoming established: Several organizations engaged in workforce development use our honoree videos for promotional outreach to both prospective clients and employers.

Shine a light on companies willing to hire disadvantaged candidates

For the typical hiring manager, risk reduction is a top priority. Risk is reduced by disqualifying applicants with "red flags" like a criminal background or an imperfect work history. While this approach is admittedly effective (after all, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior), it overlooks the small percentage of candidates whose lives are on a new trajectory. Through some significant life change or intervention — perhaps by completing skills training or overcoming life-controlling addiction — these people are on a new path and their history is no longer a reliable predictor of their future. Such individuals desperately need an employer willing to give them a chance. Employers who hire these candidates demonstrate compassion and wisdom. In short, they are good corporate citizens and their behavior should be honored and encouraged. Other companies may follow their example.

Shine a light on local “job heroes”

Many of our fellow citizens depend on government assistance, occasionally supplemented by short-term, unskilled, low-wage jobs. For people trapped in this cycle, the dream of self-reliance and financial security — achievable only with a long-term, meaningful job — seems unattainable. Over the years, employment assistance programs have often failed in their promise to help people bridge the gap to a secure, middle-class life. This cycle of disappointments has led many people to conclude that the American Dream is hopelessly beyond their reach.

We celebrate lottery winners, movie stars and professional athletes. Yet if these are the only paths to self-sufficiency, then most people will never escape poverty. We rarely hear inspiring stories of individuals whose lives are transformed by the hard work and perseverance that leads to meaningful employment. By publicly honoring these individuals we inspire others. We promote the programs that offer a helping hand. Perhaps most importantly, we rekindle hope and energize the work ethic by shining a spotlight on successful role models.

"It's the goal of America's Job Honor Awards not to build a road out of poverty, but rather to illuminate the roads that already exist."   - Kyle Horn, Founder & Director