On October 25, the Greater Washington Partnership hosted the sixth installment in our webinar series, The Future of Talent Partner Conversation Series.  

The Future of Talent Partner Conversation Series brings together talent leaders from across the Partnership’s network to share innovations in talent attraction, retention, and development. The October 25th session, Upskilling for the Workforce of Tomorrow, highlighted initiatives from Amazon, Capital One, and Northrop Grumman to upskill and reskill employees and provide external talent with the skills training needed to thrive in advanced and technical roles.
We heard from Melanie Harrington, Director of DEI External Strategy at Amazon, Shannon Green, Senior Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging at Capital One, and David Liaw, Senior Director of Workforce Recruiting and Diversity Initiatives at Northrop Grumman. Below are a few key insights from our conversation with these dynamic leaders:

Upskilling and reskilling initiatives are critical in helping companies achieve their DEI goals, and external partnerships can play a key role. 

Each of our panelists touted partnerships with higher education institutions (specifically regional HBCUs), intermediaries, and apprenticeship providers as sources of diverse talent. Capital One’s strong relationship with YearUp, particularly, serves as a foundational program to help build an equitable workforce. The key takeaway is that external partners can help to ensure learners are equipped with the skills and supports they need to obtain jobs upon completion of skills training programs. 

Panelists also highlighted the importance of starting skills-forward approaches early in a learner’s educational journey. Northrop Grumman supports programs like the Northrop Grumman Foundation Teachers Academy and partners with external organizations like Cyber Patriot to integrate skill development even before high school. 

Programs to upskill and reskill employees should be easy to integrate into an employee’s career development journey. 

The programs shared by panelists varied in length and depth of engagement, but many were short, small-scale programs designed to be easily integrated into the workday, like Amazon’s Machine Learning University. This program only requires employees to spend one half- or full-day of their time per week, and trains employees in skills they’ll need to stay in-demand considering innovations in machine learning and AI. 

Employers should collaborate more frequently on regional talent strategies.

Panelists noted that to create a robust workforce development ecosystem in the region from Baltimore to Richmond, employers should collaborate more often with one another to develop talent pipelines rather than aiming to poach or trade talent.  

To that end, the Greater Washington Partnership’s Employer Signaling System (ESS) aims to foster collaborations across sectors and within the employer community by providing clear, transparent insights into the skills needed to obtain entry-level tech jobs in the region.

For more insights from our panelists, check out a recording of the webinar below. Please stay tuned for additional Future of Talent webinars from the Partnership!



To learn more about Greater Washington Partnership’s Skills & Talent initiatives, contact Kim Sarro at [email protected]