Q&A with Tadd Wamester

Tadd Wamester, Upwardly Global’s Director of Regional Growth and Online Programs, leads the organization’s expansion into regions with an identified need for our services.

Tadd first joined the organization’s New York office seven years ago. Having just completed a master’s degree in Workplace Learning at New York University, Tadd knew that he wanted to devote his own working life to helping people find professional jobs. Tadd also heads UpGlo’s Online Training Program, which has allowed the organization to dramatically expand its reach across the nation.

What Is Your Role as Director of Regional Growth and Online Programs? I am charged with delivering online employment training on a national scale and focusing that work within targeted regions. UpGlo opened two new satellite offices in 2014 and intends to open 3-5 more in the coming years. This requires outreach and partnership building with organizations on the ground and recruiting skilled immigrant jobseekers within these regions, as well as building new relationships with funders and employers. Growing our national talent pool is essential as we partner with employers to meet their hiring needs.

How Do You Determine What Regions UpGlo Targets? We look for a combination of factors including large skilled immigrant/refugee populations; a robust employer environment that needs talent; and a seed funder who is willing to support the program while we develop long-term funding relationships and employer partners.

With our latest offices in Silver Spring and Detroit, we were pulled to the region by community partners who reached out to us. And in the case of Michigan and Illinois, state government really saw the need to serve large skilled refugee populations and helped us to expand.

How Does UpGlo Establish Partnerships and Employer Support in These Areas? We work with government agencies and community partners in the region who can help us to build new employer relationships, as well as local chambers of commerce and workforce agencies. We also look at whether employers we engage with in our existing offices have branches in these new areas. We look to identify who is feeling hiring pain.

In Michigan, we hosted employer webinars, employer breakfast events, and held employer roundtables in advance of our office launch. It’s hard work, but essential to building a program that quickly achieves both job placements and financial sustainability.

What Are You Looking Forward to 2015? I will be doing the research and legwork to determine which new regions truly need an UpGlo office and can sustain a full program. Internships and apprenticeships are a big trend in the workforce and UpGlo wants to lead the field in creating innovative programs. All of this is to support the core of what we do—helping more skilled immigrants and refugees into professional jobs with family-sustaining wages. We’re on a trajectory to grow our 575 annual placements to 1,000 and beyond.

We’ve come such a long way considering that when I joined UpGlo I was using a donated computer, and now we are using cutting-edge tools and have a groundbreaking online training platform that touches jobseekers in 38 states and counting. It’s a very exciting time to be a part of this organization.