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Q&A: Exploring one hiring partnership aiming to align talent and employment

Hiring partnership between Denver's Effective and General Assembly presents pipeline


Last January, General Assembly, the New York-based school that teaches 21st century data, design and technology skills, announced the launch of a downtown Denver campus, the only site in the Rocky Mountain region. A sampling of initial offerings included Intro to UX Design, Getting Started with Wordpress, Intro to Product Management, Intro to Denver Startup Community and more. One attribute that sets GA apart from many similar training programs in Colorado are its short-term, part-time classes, workshops and events. 

Internationally, GA has worked to grow and manage a network of employers that hire its graduates, working with a diverse range fo employers for full-time web development and user experience design programs. 

Meanwhile, Effective is an experience agency headquartered in Denver since 2005 that takes a human-centered design approach to professional services, customer insights, data strategy and other tech-based work. 

Recently, GA and Effective agreed to align their organizations as formal hiring partners, to place graduates into open roles. 

ColoradoBiz discussed the details and intricacies of the funnel with Brooke Smith, regional director of General Assembly, Denver, and  Kellie Morante, director of talent management at Effective. Here's what they shared:

Kellie MoranteHow did Effective and GA originally become familiar?

KM: Initially, our recruiter just saw a lot of profiles in New York City when we would be searching for user experience design hires. We did a bit of research to find out more about the program, and eventually ended up making our first hire out of GA. Once we had made one hire, the referrals kept coming in from that employee for other graduates that had done really well in the program. Eventually, this spread from multiple hires in New York City, to hiring in Denver as well (which is a new campus for GA). Our recruiter and VP of design got more involved with the new Denver campus and it evolved from there.

How did an official hiring partnership form – what are the asks/benefits for each party?

BS: It formed out of an organic relationship, where Effective employees were consistent participants in our events on campus. We continued to encourage involvement, and they found fantastic new team members after speaking to our full-time program graduates. Effective and GA have ongoing conversations regarding their hiring needs and the skills training we’re providing.

What skills/services is GA providing?

BS: General Assembly is a global training company focused on eliminating the 21st century skills gap through our work with individuals, companies and policy makers. We work to radically re-skill both individuals and employers with courses taught by top practitioners with real-world experience – online/offline; short-form/long-form; full-time/part-time – across data, design, tech and business. Through our partnership with Effective we develop and train the next generation of UX talent in Colorado.

Are there any hard promises made in terms of number of hires?

KM: We don’t make any promises when it comes to number of hires. That being said, even if we do not have open roles, our design team tries to get involved by attending events like mock interviews, portfolio reviews, etc. in order to keep giving back to the cohorts and continuing to get to know students in an effort to be a step ahead, when we need to hire. The design community in Denver is very relationship driven, so we freely send over recommendations to other companies that may be hiring when we can as well.

What does Effective expect of GA graduates?

KM: Mostly, we expect that they will come to us with the same “learning” mindset that they had at General Assembly. We want them to contribute, be part of a cross-functional team, work with clients, and add to our culture and the Denver design community. we can train the majority of skills, but training the ability to be a positive, successful team member is another story. That is always something we will look for while hiring, regardless of whether or not they come from General Assembly.

Why is this the right partnership for Effective?

KM: Given that some of the instructors for the user experience design immersive program used to work at Effective, the students learn a lot about our tried and tested process. They come out of the program understanding what it means to be a user experience designer, the fundamentals of research, and how to work with a client. Those qualities, coupled with a desire to succeed, are invaluable. We can train them on the rest. Effective also has a tight turnaround, on some occasions, for hiring. It’s great to know that we have a group of designers that are exciting and eager to join the local community. it’s mutually beneficial.

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ColoradoBiz staff

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