WIP Episode 306 - Nitzan Pelman

Building a social network for working adults is a powerful tool in creating new opportunities in tech

A conversation with Nitzan Pelman, founder & CEO, Climb Hire

In this episode of Work in Progress, I am joined by Nitzan Pelman, the founder and CEO of Climb Hire, a nonprofit that upskills and builds a social network for working adults aged 24-to-40 for job opportunities in tech. No college degree required.

Who you know matters as much as what you know” is the guiding principal behind Climb Hire. Pelman explains she saw “a need to create economic opportunity and mobility for working adults with great potential but limited growth in their current career paths.”

Climb Hire accepts workers and job seekers making less than $30,000 a year to the online training program for in-demand tech jobs in IT and cybersecurity, combining the hands-own hard skills with relationship-building and networking skills.

Pelman says the idea for the nonprofit came from her realization that four-year college graduates have built a network of people they can turn to when they are searching for work, especially in high-paying careers.

“When you spend time in a four-year institution – and you live in dorms and you sing in acappella clubs and you play lacrosse and you write for the newspaper – these are all ways that you get to spend hundreds of hours with peers in a coming-of-age moment in time. And that’s great.

“But the vast majority of people coming from low-income communities don’t go to schools like that. They go to community colleges – mostly for affordability purposes and so that they can work and take care of family members and be closer to home.

“What happens to that population is that they finish school and they start applying to jobs cold. It’s very hard to be noticed when you apply for jobs cold and you don’t have relevant experience and no one’s vouching for you,” she adds.

Climb Hire gives the student first-hand experience by exposing them to employers who act as mentors when it comes to relationship-building. It can lead to direct hiring of the student or helping them find someone who is hiring.

If accepted into the program, the student doesn’t pay anything until they reach a certain post-graduate income level.

“It is a program specifically targeted to people that are low-income workers and we know that they can’t possibly afford to pay. They’re already drowning in their own bills and not being able to make ends meet. We don’t expect for them to pay upfront, but once they get a job that does pay them at least $47,000 in California and above $40,000 in other places, it’s $150 a month for four years, so that’s $7,200,” says Pelman.

We go into much more on the power of social networking in your career pathway. You can listen to my conversation with Pelman here, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also find this conversation and other recent podcasts on our new Work in Progress YouTube channel.

Episode 306: Nitzan Pelman, founder & CEO, Climb Hire
Host & Executive Producer: Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief, WorkingNation
Producer: Larry Buhl
Theme Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4
Transcript: Download the transcript for this episode here
Work in Progress Podcast: Catch up on previous episodes here