ASU+GSV: Steve Katsouros on flipping the script to ensure an inclusive recovery

WorkingNation interviews leaders in public, private, and nonprofit spheres attending the ASU+GSV Virtual Summit as part of our #WorkingNationOverheard campaign

After founding Arrupe College, a two-year college at Loyola University, and creating a model that yielded a 75 percent bachelor’s degree completion rate (national average is 14 percent), Father Steve Katsouros founded the Come to Believe Network (CTB). CTB’s purpose is “to provide thought leadership and support for campus leaders around the country” with the goal of replicating Arrupe’s model for “Pell-eligible students, for undocumented students, and first-generation students” who go on to get a bachelor’s degree.

Katsouros said the success of Arrupe was partly thanks to administrators there who flipped the script from a deficit narrative to an asset one. “We interview all of the students. And one of the interview questions early on was, ‘Well, you’re a low-income student, and you’re from an under-resourced neighborhood. So, of course, you’re coming to this interview with a deficit, with an obstacle.’”

“Instead, now, during the interview, we’ll say, ‘it seems like you have a lot of assets, gifts, talents that you can add to our community, that our community might even be stronger if you’re a member of it.’”

Katsouros is hoping businesses hiring can apply that same philosophy.

He says there needs to be “better conversations about what the needs are at the workplace, but then also perhaps more sensitivity by the employer, by the office, by the colleagues on cultural competency, and looking at our students and these potential employees as assets for your company, for your firm, for your profession.”

WorkingNation interviewed Katsouros for #WorkingNationOverheard as a media partner with ASU+GSV’s Virtual Summit 2020, held September 29 through October 1+October 8. You can watch all of the interviews on our YouTube channel.

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