Social Enterprise Opportunity@Work Announces New Leadership Roles to Accelerate STARs Movement

Nonprofit names three strategic leaders to executive team; continuing rapid expansion this year

WASHINGTON – Today, Opportunity@Work announced the new hires of Angela Briggs-Paige as Vice President of People & Culture and Brian Matthew Rhodes as General Counsel, and a new position for Yscaira Jimenez as Chief Innovation Officer. The appointments at the nationwide nonprofit continue the growth and expanded efforts to work with employers to hire workers Skilled Through Alternative Routes (STARs) such as community college, workforce training, bootcamps, certificate programs, military service, or on-the-job learning, rather than through a college degree.

This year, momentum continues to build as companies increasingly tap into the highly-skilled STARs talent pool to fill a wide range of higher-wage jobs. With Opportunity@Work’s STARs talent marketplace Stellarworx entering new markets, the organization has made it a priority to bring in new talent to continue to fuel employer demand for STARs.

“As smart employers continue to see the value in hiring for potential over pedigree and expanding opportunities to those workers long left behind, today’s news signals our increased investment in the 70+ million STARs in the U.S. today,” said Opportunity@Work CEO Byron Auguste. “Angela, Brian, and Yscaira are all ‘strategic doers’ and accomplished leaders in their respective domains. I’m confident their contributions will  accelerate the work of Opportunity@Work’s partners and teams to open up new pathways, modernize employer practices, and rewire the labor market for STARs to work, learn, and earn to their full potential.”

Briggs-Paige joins Opportunity@Work with more than 20 years of experience in the recruitment, retention, and development of talent that delivers business results. She has extensive experience and knowledge that she will use to foster a diverse, cohesive culture that promotes customer focus, collaboration, inclusion, belonging, employee engagement, and business success. Prior to joining Opportunity@Work, she was the Chief People Officer for PopHealthCare and previously served as Director of Human Resources for Cricket Wireless.

“Throughout my career, my guiding principle has been performance excellence through people,” said Briggs-Paige. “No matter what organization or industry you’re a part of, you can always leverage the skills and experience someone has to make them more successful – and I am so thrilled I can help our organization grow and scale to ensure STARs can finally get access to the career pathway opportunities they have long since earned.”

Rhodes joins Opportunity@Work after more than 25 years of practicing law across multiple fields – civil rights law, business, government, and social services – in both the private and public sector. He has extensive experience working for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and was most recently a Senior Attorney in the City of Philadelphia Solicitor’s office, Labor and Employment Division. Prior to joining the city, he was Chief Legal Officer for two nationwide behavioral health companies; before that, he was in-house counsel for Sunoco, Inc. 

“I have always believed in helping the most vulnerable and disenfranchised, and cannot wait to support the millions of STARs who have been left out of opportunity in our country,” said Rhodes. “It’s vital to me that employers see what they have been missing. I want to help create a labor market where employers recognize and respect that STAR talent could take those organizations – and their bottom line – to another stratosphere, if given the opportunity.”

Jimenez first joined Opportunity@Work in March as Entrepreneur-in-Residence after her company – LaborX – was acquired by the nonprofit. In the months since, she has supported the expansion of Stellarworx and leveraged her success in STARs hiring by supporting multiple work areas across the organization. This led to her new role as Chief Innovation Officer overseeing the recently launched STARs Studio – while continuing to support scaling of the STARs talent marketplace.

“I have been proud to be at the forefront of Opportunity@Work’s efforts to develop innovative technology and solutions – and believe this new role will allow us to reach new heights as we continue to unlock opportunity for STARs,” said Jimenez. “I have worked closely with leading employers for years, opening their eyes and increasing their access to the talent they’ve been missing. And now I can expand on that work by building on our shared knowledge and creating fresh approaches for a more inclusive labor market.”

With Briggs-Paige, Rhodes, and Jimenez joining the organization – following the hiring of Kelcey Reed as Chief Technology Officer and Bridgette Gray as Chief Customer Officer – Opportunity@Work is preparing for continued growth of talent within the organization and for STARs across the country.

“With increased interest in STARs across private, public, and social sectors, we see this as a pivotal moment for Opportunity@Work,” said COO Shad Ahmed. “We must continue to grow and learn as an organization to build on the successes we have seen since first introducing STARs as a talent category in March 2020, and we are excited to have such talented leaders join us in creating a more equitable future for STARs.”

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About Opportunity@Work

Opportunity@Work is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase access to middle-wage jobs for the 70+ million U.S. workers who lack bachelor’s degrees but are Skilled Through Alternative Routes (STARs).  Opportunity@Work engages with corporate, philanthropic, and workforce partners to directly address the barriers that STARs face, recognize STARs talent and remove four-year degree screens.  Learn more at www.opportunityatwork.org