The CLOSE IT Summit has announced the winners of its national SHIFT Awards. Top-level awards went to Greyston Foundation, Inc of Yonkers, N.Y. and EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute of Cleveland, Ohio. Nusenda Credit Union was recognized with a gold-level distinction for its Financial Services Career Exploration course, and was recognized alongside other well-known businesses and organizations like Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Taos Ski Valley, and Chobani.
CLOSE IT is an annual summit promoting the shift to a skills-based economy as a critical component for ensuring economic success for both the demand and supply side of the workforce. This year's summit, it's seventh, was held in Santa Fe, and featured more than 500 global leaders engaging on the rapid shift in the way individuals work and learn and how that will impact our future.
The SHIFT Awards, sponsored by the CLOSE IT Summit and the Society of Human Resource Management, New Mexico (SHRM-NM) recognize innovations in hiring, training, and pathways, according to an event news release. A jury selected the SHIFT award winners from a pool of nominations and applications that were submitted from across the United States.
"The SHIFT Awards put the spotlight on innovative solutions by business leaders that impact individuals and communities in profound ways," said Sean Sullivan, Director of HR for SHRM in Washington, D.C., who presented this year's awards.
"The common theme among these diverse honorees is the creation of new pathways for connecting people to meaningful work and sustainable professional growth. These unique hiring and training solutions were created to address specific workforce needs and solve for business challenges. It's inspiring to see how these forward-thinking organizations are creating better workplaces for a better world," Sullivan added.
Nusenda's Financial Services Career Exploration course concept has won numerous awards, including a Top 25 Innovations in American Government award from Harvard University's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, and the Strada Education Pathways with a Purpose award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The program not only helps students learn about career pathways in the financial service industry, it also helps them gain personal finance skills to manage their finances - such as creating a budget, making a savings plan, managing credit, and more. Once students complete the course, they are eligible to apply for a paid internship with Nusenda Credit Union and receive compensation of more than $9 per hour, along with additional high school and college credit.
To date, 198 students have completed the Nusenda curriculum; of those, 97 paid interns have been hired — and 23 former interns are now full-time Nusenda employees in jobs throughout the organization.
"We're proud to support the collective ability to develop our workforce and improve the social and economic health of our community," said Nusenda Chief Community Engagement Officer and Nusenda Foundation Executive Director Robin Brulé. "As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, part of our give-back philosophy means we go above and beyond to ensure all New Mexicans receive a comprehensive financial education. This program is designed to teach students the importance of managing finances while giving them the opportunity to gain valuable on-the-job training — and earn competitive hourly pay."