After four months of hard work and dedication, our inaugural Pathfinder class has graduated 42 Ivy Tech Community College students and Indiana veterans.

Pathfinder is a training program created by Salesforce and Deloitte to address the growing skills gap in technology fields. The first-of-its-kind program works with people from diverse backgrounds to develop their technical and business skills, preparing them for careers in the Salesforce ecosystem. Statistics related to workforce, income levels, and employer challenges show why a program like this is so important:

A fundamental challenge of workforce development today is preparing current and future workers for careers in digital technology that are not yet fully defined.

“Rapidly advancing technologies are driving fundamental change across industries and demanding new skills from the workforce. At Salesforce, we have new roles that didn’t exist five years ago,” said Ana Recio, Executive Vice President of Global Recruiting at Salesforce. “We believe it’s our responsibility to help people develop the skills needed to be able to succeed in this new era, and we’re thrilled to congratulate our first cohort of Pathfinder graduates who are helping shape the future workforce.”

And that sentiment is echoed by Deloitte. “By establishing new collaboration models involving nonprofits, community colleges, and employers, we can help determine in-demand skills and then equip the workforce with those skills, ” said Jen Steinmann, Deloitte Chief Transformation Officer. “Pathfinder provides career preparation for traditionally overlooked talent populations, fostering an inclusive work environment and equality of opportunity.”

It’s not just traditional business and technical skills that employees need to support success—as advanced technologies become more pervasive, soft skills gain even more importance. That’s why our program also emphasizes skills like critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.

The Pathfinder program has shown that when hardworking and motivated individuals are presented with the right opportunity and a clearly defined path, they can launch (or re-launch) their careers in ways never before possible.

“It’s been an amazing, fulfilling experience that unlocked a part of me I knew was there, but didn’t know how to access… Without [Pathfinder], I’d still be wandering around searching for my place.”

Alec Sanderson, Pathfinder graduate

Not surprisingly, Deloitte’s business leaders are impressed with this first cohort’s skills and motivation. Ten Pathfinders will join Deloitte for a 12-week internship, representing over 20 percent of the cohort and exceeding the initial commitment to hire at least 10 percent of qualified Pathfinders.

The Pathfinders joining Deloitte will have the exciting opportunity to launch their careers by attending Dreamforce this week. Stop by our Equality Lounge to meet them and find out more about the program during two speaking sessions, Pathfinder: Training the Next Generation of Trailblazers held on September 25 and the The Future of Workforce Development held on September 27. There will also be an informal Pathfinder Fireside Chat held at the Deloitte Booth on September 26.

“Our first Pathfinder cohort is incredibly diverse—there are veterans transitioning out of active duty, individuals looking to retool after working as a carpenter or truck driver, and parents who put their careers on pause to raise children and are now returning to work. It was exciting and inspiring to see the transformation they went through over the four months,” said Paul Clemmons, Principal, Deloitte’s Global Salesforce Alliance Leader.

As we continue to build on the momentum of this successful pilot, Salesforce and Deloitte are looking for more employers committed to hiring Pathfinders and helping them succeed. We are also exploring expanding the program beyond Indiana, with the goal of helping more underrepresented and motivated talent pursue careers in the Salesforce ecosystem.

For questions on the Pathfinder program, please reach out to Kerri Folmer or Tracie Neuhaus.

Kerri Folmer is a managing director with the Monitor Institute by Deloitte. She works with innovative leaders in the public, private and social sectors to address complex social and environmental issues. She has more than 20 years of experience in leading organizations through transformational change, defining and adapting strategy, solving organizational issues, and developing business models to improve impact.