Build the Pipeline
Organizations are constantly challenged to improve productivity and efficiency. Despite historically high unemployment rates in the U.S., nearly half of all employers report difficulty in filling mission critical-positions that can help them achieve their business goals according to the Manpower Talent Shortage Survey. That’s why it’s more important than ever to recognize and take advantage of top talent available in diverse populations — talent that can improve performance and competitive advantage. Manpower has been developing innovative workforce solutions for over 50 years to partner with their employer clients to overcome these challenges.
Manpower was established in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1948 and expanded internationally in 1956. Its’ mission for 60 years has been to connect individuals to work. With 3600 offices worldwide and 22 billion in revenue in 2011, Manpower maintains the world’s largest and industry-leading network of offices in over 80 countries and territories, generating a dynamic mix of an unmatched global footprint with valuable insight and local expertise to meet the needs of their 400,000 clients per year, across all industry sectors, small and medium-sized enterprises, local, multinational and global companies. Manpower employs 31,000 people and places over 3 million people per year in permanent, temporary and contract positions and over 12 million people have received training and development services through the ManpowerGroup brands worldwide.
Project Ability is a partnership Manpower formed in collaboration with State Vocational Rehabilitation and Community-Based Organizations to strengthen the workforce by tapping into talented people with disabilities. With a focus on specific talent resourcing needs, they implement disability awareness and accommodation training for Manpower colleagues and business clients, and create targeted, local recruitment strategies to identify and place qualified candidates — those with the skills and dedication to support their clients’ business objectives.
Through Project Ability, they work to remove barriers to employment for people with disabilities, and create pathways to employment with targeted occupational skills training, industry specific skills assessments and recruitment programs. As a result of their working relationships with thousands of employers, ManpowerGroup is uniquely positioned to break down barriers to equality.
Manpower’s core mission is to act as a responsible corporate partner in developing workforce solutions to build sustainable communities by connecting individuals to meaningful work. Project Ability grew out of their commitment to hiring based on abilities and caring about people and the role of work in their lives. By unleashing the human potential of people whose work opportunities are most limited, they supply innovative solutions to meet the workforce needs of organizations while at the same time enabling those individuals to achieve all that is humanly possible.
In 2010 the Project Ability pilot was launched in California and managed by a Regional Director. The model was successfully implemented throughout California and several additional states. In June of 2012 a full-time national program leader role was created and additional support resources made available through their Government Solutions division. As a result, they have doubled the size of the program, adding new state partnerships, implemented several pilot programs supporting Ticket-to-Work initiatives and training & development, created national partnerships for greater outreach to candidates and developed formal partnerships to hire candidates with disabilities through Project Ability with several national clients.
Through their automated tracking & reporting process their overall success in making placements is documented allowing them to clearly identify areas for expansion and to provide assistance in developing hiring goals for their clients. These placements are a combination of short & long term temporary assignments (some ending in permanent employment) as well as permanent placements.
We have learned that success is based on building one-to-one relationships with providers and that while their business clients clearly understand the value of the services Manpower offers, service providers, state, local government and community based organizations require a greater level of education and personal contact. A national disability employment program requires access to resources combined with a commitment from Senior Leadership and a clear program design for tactical implementation to ensure hiring managers, recruiters and all field staff have the appropriate training and support.
Project Ability success depends on their local offices sustaining relationships once introductions have been made through their national partnerships and their proven four step implementation process is key to ensuring consistency in messaging/training and scalability for their clients. They clearly identify roles & responsibilities, a standard communication plan, referral forms, disability awareness & sensitivity training delivered to Manpower colleagues (available to clients), client & candidate marketing collateral, operations support with oversight/direction provided by their National Project Ability Leader and divisional Government Solutions Executives. Overall vision and executive sponsorship is provided by Jorge Perez, Senior Vice President of Manpower North America.
Their challenge remains in working with service providers being driven by closing cases within 90 days. Candidates being serviced by these agencies may not be submitted for participation in the program due to this requirement limiting individual opportunities to earn a pay check, gain valuable work experience and secure a professional reference through short/long term temporary employment. This will continue as long as the requirements for placements and definition of a “positive employment outcome” remain unchanged. Manpower’s goal in developing recruitment partnerships is to work together to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities and to share their thought leadership resources to continue to support national awareness/educational programs to promote greater employment participation for this untapped talent pool.
While they have developed their own recruitment strategies and continue to pilot recruitment programs to create national outreach campaigns they remain committed to working with government to develop public/private partnerships to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities.