On Tuesday, May 21st we celebrated the completion of our pilot Salesforce training program in partnership with Dress for Success Seattle. Dress for Success Seattle seeks to offer long-lasting solutions that enable women to break the cycle of poverty and become more financially independent.
Salesforce is a Customer Relationship Management tool, but it’s really so much more than that. Salesforce enables businesses to streamline their processes and customer engagement. Salesforce touches many aspects of a business from Marketing to field service, e-commerce, and the nonprofit sector, it generates many new jobs each year. Salesforce encourages those already familiar with the system to spread their knowledge with an initiative called #BAM – Be a Multiplier.
We designed this 10-week program to prepare participants for the Salesforce Certification exam as well as get them started using Salesforce’s free online learning program, Trailhead. Program participants were introduced to the Salesforce platform, learning technical skills that will prepare them to be more desirable candidates on the job market and earn higher pay.
This class would not have happened without our students. They were our inspiration to keep working to provide them with the best program we could. Overall our students earned over 100 badges combined during the duration of the course. Some had to travel quite a distance to make it to class every Tuesday evening for ten weeks. They spent many more hours outside of the course on homework and studying. They always came to class hungry to learn and willing to persevere. All of our students committed to this class and were dedicated to their own success on top of their already jam-packed schedules.
Our students were also dedicated to supporting and helping one another. One of our students, Morgan Scandrick, even wrote an instruction manual after completing the Business Administration Specialist Superbadge in the hopes that it will help her fellow students complete the badge and serve as a resource for potential future classes. All our students are Trailblazers.
Our class by the numbers:
- 30+ hours of class time per student (Plus much more in homework and travel time!)
- 100+ badges earned (and those are just the ones we know about)
- 2 Superbadges
- About 240 slices of pizza consumed
This class would not be possible without the support of our community. I want to thank my wonderful co-leader, Heidi Norgaard, our amazing partner, Dress for Success Seattle, and all of our tireless volunteers! Slalom sponsored this class by for providing invaluable resources: computers, space, and food! Salesforce was so generous and provided all of our students exam vouchers and swag bags. Certified on Demand provided a discount code for our students. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
For our graduation event our students wanted to network with professionals in the community. We were touched at how many of you came out to meet our students to answer their questions and provide advice.
Looking to the future
We can and should spend our time and energy offering free technical education. However, I think we’re all aware, marginalized populations face additional barriers to entry into this industry. The goal of this program was to utilize Salesforce training to foster economic mobility and financial empowerment in a city where the wealth gap is growing and it is becoming harder and harder to pay rent, or simply support one’s self and one’s family on even a middle class salary.
This year I was chosen as a Salesforce MVP, a great honor and proof of how far I’ve come in this industry. About five years ago, it was said that I would never amount to anything because I was “just an assistant”. Learning Salesforce changed my life. I would not be where I am today if people already working in Tech hadn’t believed in me and given me opportunities to learn and grow and get a foot in the door in this industry. This is why I wanted to provide a class like this. So that other folks in our community looking to learn and grow, not just survive, but flourish, can have that opportunity that I had. However, I fear that it will not be enough.
I know that a lot of companies are already focusing on increasing diversity and celebrating our differences, but I believe we can do a lot more. It is still very difficult for newly trained admins to find work, possibly due to lack of experience, job descriptions mandating a traditional college education, and or the additional barriers marginalized populations face. It is so important in our changing world to be part of the solution of breaking down institutionalized barriers to entry for high paying jobs, by providing and advocating for more internships, fellowships, and entry level positions for graduates of technical training programs that focus on serving marginalized populations. Admins and developers, please work with your companies to create internship opportunities. Leaders, hiring managers, recruiters, I urge you to to invest in someone, to build up the hard working, the learners, and those dedicated to growth. In that effort we will all grow as well.
To view the curriculum, resources, and learn more about the program visit the program site.