Mindy Ysasi says she is hopeful as she watches employers begin to recognize what it actually takes to solve their talent struggles. Employers have to decide what will make them stand out, whether that means they’re helping people achieve certifications and degrees, focusing on sustainability, hiring people who have a criminal background, or something else, she said. “Because of the market, employers are now saying, ‘What is the root cause?’ Some employers are recognizing that in some of our communities, we have 38 percent unemployment for men of color. I’m really very hopeful, because employers have immense power.” At the same time, Ysasi is concerned with the lack of support going to systems like child care and housing that help people enter the workforce.
"When employers say, ‘We can’t find people to do the work,’ it’s not because people don’t want to do the work — it’s because there’s so many other barriers. … We want people to work, and yet we’re not investing in the systems that help them get to work. In what scenario do people choose work over their kids’ safety or security? … For the more professional worker, I think you’re going to see people who are opting out of traditional organization employment, either piecing together contracts or creating these social enterprises. The last statistic I saw on this said something like 41 percent of millennials would rather work for themselves. Here in West Michigan, we have a lot of efforts to try to bring people in and try to recruit people, but I really question if that’s the way people are going to be working in the future. … We’re going to have to be OK with that or figure out how we might use that as a strategy." - Mindy Ysasi, Executive Director, The SOURCE