The First #Trailhead4All Workshop for the Disability Community
An event designed to enable the disability community to learn in-demand Salesforce skills and understand the career opportunities available to them.
Read how Tiffany Yu, a social entrepreneur passionate about inclusion and empowerment for all, brought the inaugural workshop to life as she shares her experiences and offers advice for how you can set up your own #Trailhead4All event.
Let me start by saying, I don’t actually work for Salesforce. I’m working on it but I’m not yet Salesforce certified, and I don’t work at an agency or company focused on disability employment. I’m just a person who saw an opportunity and seized it to help my community.
In 2016, only 27.7% of adult Americans with disabilities were employed and were twice as likely to live in poverty as those without a disability. Compare this to the reported fact that the demand for Salesforce-skilled people will create 3.3 million jobs in the Salesforce ecosystem by 2022 and you see an opportunity. A really big one.
I thought, “Why not put two and two together to create a game-changer for our community, equip people with advanced skills, and shatter these dismal unemployment rates?” I wanted to find a way to upskill the disability community with in-demand Salesforce tech skills to help close the disability employment gap.
The idea for the #Trailhead4All Workshop was born from hearing Erica Kuhl, VP of Community at Salesforce, speak at the CMX Summit about how the community had rallied behind Trailhead, a new approach to learning Salesforce online. Erica mentioned in her presentation that a member of the Salesforce community, Annie Shek-Mason, created the #Trailhead4All movement, a series of community-hosted events that use Trailhead to teach Salesforce skills to underrepresented communities.
An inspired idea
I was truly inspired. It became my mission to bring Salesforce skills to the disability community. I was able to achieve this working together with the Bay Area Salesforce community to launch the inaugural #Trailhead4All Workshop. The event was designed to enable the disability community to learn these in-demand Salesforce skills and understand the career opportunities available to them. I’m proud to say it was a success as we were packed to the rafters with eager Trailblazers!
For everyone to become familiar with the learning process and to understand what types of learning paths they could take, we kicked off the workshop by getting everyone set up on Trailhead. They completed their first hands-on challenge and earned their first Trailhead badge. Then we walked them through the Salesforce Platform Basics module and the Build a Suggestion Box App project to start building their Salesforce skills.
Build a simple suggestion management app. No code required.trailhead.salesforce.com
The power of the Salesforce Ohana
We invited people with different levels of Salesforce expertise and experience to share details of their day-to-day jobs, what they love about the Salesforce community, and how they got started with Salesforce. As many of them were from non-tech backgrounds, it highlighted the fact that Trailhead — and the Salesforce Ohana — really IS for all. The panel also answered questions about Salesforce, the career opportunities available, what it truly means to be a part of the Ohana, and the resources (over and above the gem that is Trailhead) available to help them find out more.
By introducing our attendees to the amazing Trailblazer Community, and covering initiatives such as local User Groups and #SalesforceSaturday, we shared how a whole host of people are willing to offer support and guidance no matter where someone is on their Trailblazing journey. A few representatives from the Department of Rehabilitation were on site too, offering assistance on the day and after, to help these Trailblazers on their path to success.
Our superstar volunteer, Adam Olshansky, shared:
“Everyone was excited to gain an understanding of what Salesforce is, not only as a company and a platform but as a career opportunity. I hope everyone who attended takes the next steps by continuing to learn and earn their Trailhead badges to ultimately land their dream job within the Salesforce ecosystem.”
It takes a village
While an event like this takes a couple of champions to spearhead it, there is a village who helped make it happen:
- Erica Kuhl and Alex Pisani from the Salesforce Community team lent their support.
- Annie Shek-Mason and the Bay Area Salesforce community gave their time to coordinate, volunteer, and serve as instructors and teaching assistants.
- Theresa Woo and Charlene Carr from the Department of Rehabilitation shared the workshop with their customers and clients.
- Daniel Sonnenfeld and Adam Rodenbeck from Abilityforce (Salesforce’s community for employees with disabilities and allies) made sure our event was accessible to everyone.
- Our rock star career panel included Chad Labrosse (Salesforce), Pat McClellan (Lightning Engineer), Zach Lyndaker (Hitachi), Paul Clifford (Salesforce Developer at OnePlace), Laurel Mitchell (Year Up), and Adam Rodenbeck (Accessibility Specialist, Salesforce).
- Adam Olshansky from Google volunteered to help run the workshop.
- And everyone else who attended, shared, or supported this awesome event!
My advice for those looking to make a positive difference and do something similar? Make sure you have the support of great people. We were so happy that Salesforce hosted us at their offices, Abilityforce helped sponsor accessibility for the event, the Department of Rehabilitation attended and provided additional guidance, local volunteers from the Salesforce Ohana helped people navigate Trailhead, and that all involved worked together to help these Trailblazers get the most out of the experience. I was also glad we were able to snack on bites provided by Ada’s Cafe, a local non-profit that hires and trains people with disabilities.
Accessibility & Transit Advocate and volunteer at the workshop, James Tyack, was touched enough to say:
“It really moved me to think about just how unusual this type of event is, and how people with disabilities are ignored and discriminated against in so many ways in society. I have been working on accessibility-related projects for some time and have met, and made friends with, many people with disabilities but today it really hit me how much I take life opportunities for granted that other people have to really fight for. Thanks for including me in this meaningful event.”
Hopefully, this is just the beginning of even bigger and better things to come! Why not jump into something you feel strongly about (like I did!) and bring a #Trailhead4All event to your community?