Rubén Harris is the CEO of Career Karma, an app and web platform that connects career transitioners with one of 450 job training programs—specifically coding and tech boot camps—around the country to prepare them for high-paying jobs. He also hosts the Breaking Into Startups podcast and he joins me in this episode of the Work in Progress podcast.

Harris says the programs that Career Karma connect people with take about a year to complete and, on average, lead to jobs and careers starting between $70,000 and $100,000 annually. What makes the platform unique, according to Harris, is that not only do they match you with one of the job training programs, they offer additional personal support.

“Once you have been matched with the right training and the right coaching, we give you support through a virtual peer group called a squad—during the program, during the job search, and for the rest of your life. Say I’m 60 years old and I feel uncomfortable because I don’t know anybody my age that’s doing this. We have the Code Gray Squad.” Harris says that there are squads for moms, dads, veterans, and just about any group. “It’s the kind of support my business partners and I had when we were starting out.”

“Once you have been matched with the right training and the right coaching, we give you support through a virtual peer group.” –  Rubén Harris, Career Karma CEO

Tech is Taking Over Every Industry

“Tech is taking over every industry. If you have life experience in any domain, you can actually double down on that, and use the coding experience as sauce for your life experience.”

Harris and I talk about how tech is open to people of all ages and all backgrounds. You’re never too young and you’re never too old. In fact, age and experience can actually give you an advantage over many job applicants. Harris shares this hypothetical example to make his point.

“Let’s say my experience is in the restaurant industry. When I’m in a boot camp, I can focus on building projects related to specific things that are issues or problems that I’ve faced working in the restaurant industry. Then when I go to the job search, I can apply to companies that are focused on problems related to food industry or food distribution, like cloud kitchen, for example. Then if I’m competing against an engineer that has 10 years of coding experience, I’m not a junior developer, I am a seasoned food retail expert that happens to know how to code. I could probably add a lot of value to a company.”

Reskill America Campaign – Laptops for Low-Income Communities

Harris points out that many of the 50 million Americans who have lost jobs due to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, many of them in low-income communities. He says that tens of thousands of the people who come to Career Karma seeking to reskill and find new jobs don’t have laptops to take advantage of these opportunities.

Career Karma has partnered with the nonprofit Kapor Center and other organizations to form Reskill America, a campaign to raise $500,000 to provide these people with thousands of laptops. Since it was announced in mid-June, they are one-fifth of the way to their goal.

“Reskill America is our way to make sure that people that are being laid off and furloughed due to COVID-19 have all the tools that they need in order to bounce back to work. There’s a lot of people that are quarantined right now that have the desire to do this, but have no ability to get a job or train for a job or attend any classes because they don’t have a laptop.”

“Reskill America is our way to make sure that people that are being laid off and furloughed due to COVID-19 have all the tools that they need in order to bounce back to work.” – Rubén Harris, Career Karma CEO

You can listen to my full interview with Rubén Harris for Work in Progress here, or find us wherever you get your podcasts. Look for the logo below 🔽. Thanks for listening!

Episode 144: Rubén Harris, CEO, Career Karma
Host: Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief, WorkingNation
Producer: Larry Buhl
Executive Producers: Joan Lynch, Melissa Panzer, and Ramona Schindelheim
Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4.0.

You can check out all the other podcasts at this link: Work in Progress podcasts

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