Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Paying It Foward Can Pay Off

I read somewhere reputable that the job market is the worse it's been in the past 25 years. And from my personal experience, that sounds about right. I believe people, and companies, need to step up and help out - pay it forward.

On an individual level, people are helping people. I experience it every day on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. A great example is JobAngels started by Mark Stelzner whose vision is for everyone to help just one person find gainful employment.

On an enterprise level, what are corporations and organizations doing to help? This question arose when I reached out to a corporation to get training that I needed to compete better in the job market. I was told, "sorry, can't help you."

I thought to myself, why not?! I'm not stealing any company secrets. And I'm not asking to give me their product for free. I had suggested a training account for a limited time so that I could practice and sharpen my skills on their application.

I tried persuading them to consider me an evangelist for their product and how this would be an investment in their customers as I most likely will become a client when I get a job. And that it would be a way to promote themselves and build and boost a positive reputation through social network marketing. They weren't persuaded.

This gave me the idea that corporations should develop "pay it forward" programs to help the unemployed. This doesn't have to drain company resources. They can have self-paced online basic training, video practices, and time-limited training accounts for online access to software. This idea is about skill training and not career training that you can find through the EDD and other places. Maybe the government could give them acknowledgement for participating in helping rebuild the economy, and even some type of subsidy. (You heard it hear.)

I looked around to see if any companies were paying it forward and I found that Microsoft was. They offer free self-paced training courses for Office programs. Microsoft also has a program called Elevate America where they are providing 1 million vouchers to states for no-cost access to Microsoft E-Learning courses and select Microsoft Certification exams. Good for them. We need more corporations doing the same.

Paying it forward can pay off. Corporations can:
  • create evangelists for their product/services
  • promote themselves
  • build a positive reputation
  • gain exposure
  • foster goodwill

And, when THEY need to hire someone, there will be more qualified candidates for them to choose from.

Tell everyone to read this post. Maybe more corporations will step up and pay it forward.

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Paying It Forward Can Pay Off...for everyone. http://tinyurl.com/q7c5dh (Retweet please)


  1. Great article! I could not agree more with you. They have nothing to loose by doing this for the public. Microsoft has already set the pace, they could just follow suit. I believe if they were looking for good PR in marketing, they could get our new Obama administration to recognize them in their pursuit to help our ailing economy and weakened workforce. Not sure if the big boys out there are smart enought to pick up this idea and run with it. I will pass this along to all that I know.

    Good Luck!

  2. Veronica, combining re-training and paying it forward is a great idea. You should send it to the producers of Oprah show, and they will be the right folks on the show to promote it. Oprah is really a huge proponent of paying it forward -- individuals, wealthy celebs, and now, they should do a segment on corporations.

    You are so well-written, they will take notice!