SXSW EDU 2024: Addressing frontline worker turnover

Sean Segal, co-founder and CEO at Escalate, joined WorkingNation to share his thoughts on people without college degrees being productive in the workforce

“We realized in the nonprofit space that businesses just didn’t take us seriously,” says Sean Segal, co-founder and CEO at Escalate. “We knew that if we were really going to get to the scale that would impact systems change, we had to solve a business problem for enterprise companies.”

Segal joined WorkingNation’s editor-in-chief Ramona Schindelheim for WorkingNation Overheard at SXSW EDU 2024 in Austin.

Escalate is a skilling and support platform that addresses frontline turnover. Segal says the goal is to demonstrate that people without college degrees are productive members of the workforce, “What we’re doing is a focus on essential skills. What they need to keep their job for the first three months, but then diving into the pathway and get them re-skilled.”

Segal notes, “Sixty-four percent of Americans are stuck in dead-end frontline roles. And where’s the business problem there? It’s turnover right now. Frontline workers turnover – on average –every 90 days, and that costs enterprise companies billions of dollars.”

He says there are a couple reasons for that turnover. “We think those two main reasons are they don’t see a path to advancement. They need more money. They’re not making enough to support their family, so they’re going to chase an extra 25 cents an hour by going to the store across the street.

“And they lack the safety net that you and I kind of take for granted. The car breaks down, they just can’t get to work, and they lose their job and Escalate solves for both of those.”

Learn more about Escalate.