Talent Development Leader Joins Social Enterprise Opportunity@Work

Bridgette Gray, former Chief Impact Officer at Per Scholas, joins nonprofit to connect companies with qualified talent and to support career pathways for STARs

WASHINGTON – Opportunity@Work today announced the hiring of new Chief Customer Officer Bridgette Gray to lead the Customer Success & Delivery team as the national nonprofit scales the hiring of workers who are 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.

Opportunity@Work has made significant strides to activate workforce ecosystems, and develop new tools to enable STARs hiring – including publishing original STARs talent pool and career pathway insights and launching the STARs online talent marketplace Stellarworx. By leveraging proprietary technology and infrastructure, Opportunity@Work is currently working with employers to actively source and place STARs into career pathway roles in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2022, Opportunity@Work will expand into new regional markets to support STARs hiring.

“Bridgette Gray is a luminary in our field: as a strategist, operator, and organization builder. Her accomplishments at Per Scholas exemplify leading-edge best practices in inclusive talent development and onramps to opportunity,” said Opportunity@Work CEO Byron Auguste. “I’m delighted Bridgette is joining Opportunity@Work to empower inclusive talent developers and employers seeking skilled talent to find success in matching and hiring STARs. As employer demand for STARs hiring expands into more regions and more roles, Bridgette’s operational know-how, strategic leadership, and commitment to excellence in execution will enable Opportunity@Work partners and Stellarworx customers to succeed at scale.”

Gray joins Opportunity@Work after seven-and-a-half years at Per Scholas, where she was their first Chief Impact Officer, responsible for managing all training operations, and organizational impact for Per Scholas’ 17 campuses. During this time, some of Gray’s notable accomplishments were: 

  • Growing Per Scholas’ training model nationally to 17 markets, scaling the number of learners from 800 to 3,000 trained per year,
  • Launching the first TEKsystems Per Scholas Baltimore model that lead to a national co-branded expansion partnership,
  • Building and deploying a nationwide training team,
  • Developing a remote training model in response to COVID-19,
  • Establishing the first national articulation agreement with Western Governors University (WGU), and
  • Creating a Women in Tech Software Engineering Apprenticeship Model that garnered Per Scholas its first direct federal Department of Labor grant.

Prior to Per Scholas, Gray held several senior and executive leadership roles both locally and nationally at Year Up, the Points of Light Foundation, Hands on Network, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. She has spent the last 20+ years helping businesses access and grow diverse tech talent, and has helped BIPOC talent access and benefit from training and employment opportunities.

“After devoting more than two decades to creating a labor market that works for all workers in America, I am so excited to continue those efforts by joining Opportunity@Work,” said Gray. “Our mission is clear, and we are addressing a major issue employers today are facing – how to source, acquire, and develop diverse talent. I cannot wait to open more doors for STARs, to help businesses continue to grow their bottom line by creating a more diverse and equitable workforce, but I also look forward to the day where our work to rewire the labor market means we no longer need ways to describe talented individuals who are equally qualified regardless of their educational pedigree – no matter who they are, what they look like, or where they live.”

Gray’s arrival follows the hiring of Kelcey Reed as CTO, and the hire represents another major milestone since the organization launched the STARs Insights Initiative and debuted the Stellarworx platform last spring. As Opportunity@Work continues to create new opportunities to scale the hiring of STARs, Gray will create new opportunities to connect employers and talent developers to the 70+ million STARs who have been left behind by a broken labor market.

“We’ve begun to see the positive impact of our work with Stellarworx and STARs in our inaugural markets. Alongside our partners, we aim to expand these efforts to support more STARs and employers seeking them in new and existing markets,” said Opportunity@Work COO Shad Ahmed. “With employers across the country reporting talent shortages, while millions of STARs are sidelined from opportunity, we know the sky’s the limit with Bridgette on board.”

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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