Moving Impact Hiring from an Idea to Reality: A Conversation with T-Mobile

Amanda Willard, Talent Acquisition Leader at T-Mobile, talks about how she and her team are working to move impact hiring from an idea to a reality within T-Mobile. Amanda is a participant in the Impact Hiring Innovation Lab, a program of FSG’s Impact Hiring Initiative. Innovation Labs offer companies an opportunity to test, learn, and refine their hiring practices to support opportunity youth and other populations facing employment barriers.

Let’s begin by talking about T-Mobile. Why do you think your company was first interested in impact hiring?

At its heart, the wireless industry is about connecting. Our team is stronger when we have employees and leaders from demographics that reflect the world we live in, and we build relationships in the community by investing in our youth. Impact hiring allows us to help America’s youth explore career opportunities they might not have considered. At the same time, we get to encourage our employees to engage and mentor young people because they feel great about giving back to the community. T-Mobile employees are proud to work at the Un-carrier and teach youth about jumpstarting their career.

Can you talk a little bit about how the culture at T-Mobile might make the company well suited for engaging in an initiative to adopt impact hiring?

At the Un-carrier we are changing the wireless industry for good by listening to customers. Diversity of thought and experience are key to driving this change and we want to show the next generation we value their diverse thinking. By inviting them inside our stores, call, and network centers to see what a day in the life of T-Mobile looks like, they can show us what they want to learn and prepare for their career. We hope that career will someday include T-Mobile.

What was T-Mobile’s motivation for joining the Impact Hiring Lab?

We focus on removing barriers for customers and partnering with the Impact Hiring Lab helps us build opportunities for underrepresented communities. We have tons of talented employees and mentors who are passionate about their work and want to share the excitement of a fun career path.

Tell us about the specifics of the pilot project T-Mobile is creating within the Impact Hiring Lab.

Harnessing the talent of a cross functional work team, T-Mobile is piloting an 8-week internship program in several of our Seattle-based retail stores for youth that traditionally face barriers to employment. In partnership with Year Up, we train interns with our retail teams and they work in our stores to get a taste of the T-Mobile culture and business operations. They learn firsthand how to deliver an Un-carrier customer experience and make an unhappy customer happy. Interpersonal relations are great skills that they can take into their future careers. Investing in impact hiring truly creates a win-win for companies and communities.

Can you talk about any personal motivations you have to help create career paths for Opportunity Youth?

When I reflect on my personal career journey, much of my success comes from getting the opportunity to learn and work with great leaders who are willing to teach and guide me towards success. I am excited to build programs at T-Mobile that can provide a similar experience to youth. The skills learned during the internship program have the potential to change someone’s trajectory in life for the better. We make sure our youth get to experience a professional environment that is fun and encouraging, and I’ve heard time and time again from participants that their internship exposed them to a career path that they never considered.

What does your team hope to learn from this experience?

Through our work with the Innovation Lab we’ll explore how hiring opportunity youth can help us connect better with our local communities and have our employees be career role models. We want to inspire other companies to invest in opportunity youth. If every employer in the U.S. invested in similar community programs, our young people would have even more opportunities.

Any parting thoughts?

Impact Hiring is an investment in our future. We can’t think of anything better than supporting that talent and ambition with our company and employees.

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