INSPIRED IMPACT :: Michael Simpson | PAIRIN
INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to mission-driven organizations and passionate leaders and entrepreneurs who are making an impact in their communities and industries.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
We use friendly science to connect people to careers, jobs and development resources personalized to their strengths and recommended areas of development.
The PAIRIN Readiness Management System™ is a subscription-based SaaS offering that integrates soft skills and hard data (e.g. interests, experience, preferences, etc.) to match students to optimal programs, careers and jobs. We then help educators identify specific areas of development and deliver personalized curriculum, tips and insights for each student to bridge their specific skill gaps. PAIRIN’s curriculum can be delivered in-person or online and includes 54 classroom lessons, more than 300 online micro-lessons and more than 400 combined exercises, handouts and rubrics making it the most comprehensive soft skills development program in existence.
The PAIRIN system not only provides a baseline measurement of a student’s soft skills, but also provides a roadmap and targeted development tools to help them on the journey to a successful career. Unlike hard skills or personality tests, everything PAIRIN measures is coachable and changeable. And since PAIRIN measures, maps and develops soft skills, it’s the most comprehensive soft skills tool on the market.
WHY DO YOU DO IT?
Our mission is to make education relevant and hiring equitable.
PAIRIN was founded on the belief that all people have amazing value, but most of us never realize our potential. People are too often put into ill-fitting boxes, told we can’t, won’t, and will never be able to attain our dreams. Many people hear this so much they never even dream big, or pursue their goals as if they are truly attainable. At PAIRIN, this is something we want to change. The PAIRIN team believes that by providing the right data, tools and resources, we can help people be seen for their ability to perform, not just what’s on their résumé.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
We are driving towards our ultimate goal of making education more relevant and hiring more equitable. We work with organizations like Colorado Succeeds to influence legislation to broaden our education system’s focus to address the needs of employers, which ultimately serves students. For employers, we de-risk at-risk hires from high schools, colleges, and alternative training/staffing programs. We make educators more effective at social emotional development of those in their care. We measure career readiness, but also what mindsets need to change to enable personal and professional growth, and can track that growth over time.
Our approach works and is revolutionizing how companies hire and how educators prepare our future workforce. Forty percent of our business customers told us they have hired top performers in the last year that were technically “not qualified” by standard HR criteria. This is proof that we are transforming hiring and opening up opportunity to those populations that are often overlooked.
By dynamically matching people to soft skills performance and job profiles that maximize their ability to perform at the highest level with the greatest job satisfaction, PAIRIN’s solution has increased retention up to 67%, and often cuts application evaluation time by more than half. We also reliably identify which students need special attention to stay in school and how they need to develop for their chosen career.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
Several of our staff, including our founders, have overcome huge barriers to employment. We understand the issues of poverty, discrimination, and the struggles of not being able to afford the education you want. In all we do, we strive to make the path to success easier for present and future generations.
WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
We would love to have employers eliminate education requirements for application selection that are not necessary for the job, and solely consider people for their ability to perform the requirements of the job. We also want to encourage more minority and female students to consider careers in tech, and have every teacher in every school make a concerted effort to develop in their students the essential (soft) skills that determine success.
WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
Mostly, we need more partnership between industry and our schools and universities. Nobody can do this by themselves. It would also be helpful if school districts would consider the size of a company when they do a pilot. In many districts in Colorado, the insurance and legal requirements for doing business with the district are prohibitive for small, innovative companies. They treat a $10,000 deal the same as a multi-million dollar deal, which just stifles innovation in our schools.
WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
Our vision is really big, which can make investors nervous. Many have underestimated the talent on our team and are now surprised at what we’ve accomplished with so few people and such a small amount of funding. Investors are pattern matchers, but we don’t fit their patterns. Only the investors that take the time to get to know our team and truly understand our vision take the plunge. It’s been difficult, but we now have great partners that will be with us for the long term. The rest will just have to sit on the sidelines and watch us grow
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
We’ve been told time and again, “You need to focus on __________” and not do these other things. Sure, we could have generated more revenue, faster, but that strategy would have limited our value and who knows if we ever would have gotten to where we are now. Find people that believe in what you do and give them all the time they need to become an advocate for life. It is those relationships that are the ones we lean on today to prove our value to others. And if you truly believe in what you are doing, don’t compromise and find a way to make it work. I’ve mortgaged two houses, borrowed from friends, family, my own retirement, buying time for us to get all the pieces in place. It’s all working now. The risk was worth it. Never made sense to “reasonable” people, but my wife and I believed.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Just give us a try. We are passionate about making a difference, and we will work with your organization’s particular needs. Whether you are a nonprofit, a school, or business, we can help you also make a difference.
Orapin Marketing + Public Relations is an award-winning communications agency that helps generate awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, support for mission-driven organizations that are doing work that matters. We tell their stories, connect people to their causes, and help them communicate with their stakeholders in consistent and meaningful ways. If you would like to be featured on INSPIRED IMPACT, reach out to email@example.com.