The awesome reason why some companies are using computer games in their hiring processes.

It takes guts to chase your dreams. But for Shaunelle Chester, it can take a whole lot more than that to reach them.

Her dreams took her from her home in London all the way to Newark, New Jersey, when she was just 19 years old to pursue a career in marketing. That leap of faith was only the beginning, though — to succeed, it would take hard work. To adapt to a different country and its educational system, Chester had to start at square one.

She had to enroll in a community college to prepare for the SATs, an American college admissions exam that was new to her because in the United Kingdom, the university application process is based on different exams. While she studied, she also had to work full-time to support herself and build up her resume.


All images via Upworthy.

Even after two years of working hard in to earn a scholarship to Rutgers University, she still had farther to go on the path to achieve her dreams. She wasn't like most of her peers at Rutgers — not only was she a few years older, but she was also completely new to being a student in the U.S.

So when she decided to apply for an internship at Unilever before her senior year, she worried that someone with a higher GPA would get it instead. But the application process turned out to be nothing like she expected.

That's because Unilever uses a unique tool — a pymetrics assessment — during their hiring process.

In the same way that something like Netflix uses data science to offer someone personalized recommendations, pymetrics uses neuroscience and data to help new recruits connect with jobs they're most likely to succeed in.

Rather than making a judgment call based on a resume, pymetrics uses games to assess a candidate’s inherent cognitive and emotional traits — like planning and risk-taking — allowing applicants to connect with their passions and demonstrate their strengths.

For someone like Chester, whose background isn't exactly traditional, this allows the applicant to get on equal footing with their peers.

Getting diverse applicants a foot in the door was actually the whole reason pymetrics was invented.

Dr. Frida Polli started out as a neuroscientist, but she decided to switch paths and attend business school. As a 38-year-old mom, she didn't fit the mold of the typical MBA student even though she knew she had something unique to bring to the table.

"My 30-page-plus academic resume told me nothing about what I could do in the business world, let alone that I could be a tech entrepreneur," she says on the website.

Using her neuroscience savvy and entrepreneurial spirit, she created pymetrics as a way of leveling the playing field. And with the help of The Rockefeller Foundation, pymetrics is continuing to expand its impact to include at-risk youth as well.

It's working, too. "Blind" hiring processes, like those being created by pymetrics, are creating new possibilities for applicants who might otherwise be overlooked. In fact, many of the companies that use these tools are more diverse than ever before.

It's also helping students looking to delve into new career paths expand their horizons. After her assessment, Chester was able to connect with a role at Unilever that was the perfect fit. It was a role focused on food solutions and meeting consumer needs — a job that she hadn't even considered, let alone heard of.

This tool would ultimately set Chester on the right path. Her enthusiasm and drive as an intern made a real impression; upon graduation, she secured a full-time job offer, finally embarking on the marketing career that she could only dream of years ago as a teenager in London.

Pymetrics is changing how we interview

What if a computer game could remove interviewer bias and uncover skills applicants didn't even know they had? Turns out, it can.

Posted by Upworthy on Tuesday, September 4, 2018

No matter where you're from or who you are, we each have a unique set of talents to offer the world.

While a resume could tell you where Chester had been, no resume could capture where she was capable of going. A tool like this made all the difference, opening doors that might have otherwise remained closed.

For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot — or will not.

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According to the Tampa Bay Times, Florida National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer spoke to state economists last week to explain why a proposed assault weapons ban would devastate gun manufacturers in the state. The proposed amendment, which is being led by the aunt of a student killed in the Parkland school shooting, would ban the future sale of assault rifles in Florida and mandate that current owners either register their guns with the state or give them up.

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via Blessing Manifesting / Instagram

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via PixaBay

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Capital One

Brian Olesen never imagined he would end up homeless.

The former U.S. Air Force medic had led a full and active life, complete with a long career in the medical field, a 20-year marriage, and a love of anything aquatic. But after hip surgery and chronic back pain left him disabled in 2013, he lost his ability to work. Due to changes in eligibility requirements, he couldn't qualify for federal veteran housing programs. His back issues were difficult to prove medically, so he didn't qualify for disability. Though he'd worked his whole life, having no income for five years took its toll. He got evicted from a couple of apartments and found himself living on the streets.

But in 2018, two things completely turned Olesen's life around. He was able to both qualify for disability and to move into an affordable housing community in Miami's Goulds neighborhood called Karis Village.

When people think of affordable housing, they don't usually picture a place like Karis Village. The 88-unit development is brand new, and built with an attention to design that is not always expected for developments that serve as home to people on limited incomes. The apartments have tile floors, marble countertops, and all new appliances and furniture, and the grounds are beautiful and well-kept, with a playground and common areas for residents to gather.

Brian Olesen in his kitchen at Karis VillageCapital One

Karis Village isn't just a housing development; it's a home and a community. Half of the units are set aside for veterans who have experienced homelessness, like Olesen. The other half are largely occupied by single-parent families.

"To me, this building was just a gift," says Olesen. "All of the different parties that got together to put this building together… making half the building available to veterans. We've got no place to go."

Addressing veteran homelessness was one of the goals of Karis Village, which was built through a partnership that included Carrfour Supportive Housing — a mission-driven, not-for-profit affordable housing organization in southern Florida — and Capital One's Community Finance team. More than just an affordable place to live, the community has full-time staff on hand to help coordinate services—from addiction recovery programs to transportation options to job search and placement. Also included are peer counselors who provide emotional and psychological support for residents.

Karis Village, an affordable housing community in Miami, Florida.Capital One

Carrfour President and CEO Stephanie Berman says the core function of the services team on site is to build a supportive community.

"Often when you think of folks leaving homelessness and coming into housing, you think of shelters or some kind of traditional housing," she says. "You don't really think about a community, and that's really what we build and what we operate. What we're really striving to create is community. We find that our families thrive when you create a sense of community."

The intention to create a supportive community at Karis Village was a priority from the get go. Fabian Ramirez, a Capital Officer on Capital One's Community Finance team, says the bank did a listening tour in southern Florida to explore community development and affordable housing options in the area and to hear what was most needed. After deciding to partner with Carrfour, the bank provided not only an $8 million construction loan and a $25 million low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) investment to help build Karis Village, but it also kicked in a $250,000 social purpose grant to help fund the social support services that would be put in place for residents.

"It's not just all about providing the brick and mortar," says Ramirez. "It's about being able to contribute to the sustainability of the development and of the lives of the people who move into the building."


Capital One

Olesen says he and his fellow residents benefit greatly from the network of support services offered in the building. He says a counselor comes to meet with him once a month, sometimes right in his apartment. He also gets help maintaining a connection with the Veteran Affairs office. Other services include social workers and counselors for drug addiction and alcoholism.

Olesen loves being around other veterans, and he says hearing the sound of children playing keeps the community lively. He says anywhere else he could afford to live on disability wouldn't be nearly as nice and would likely involve shared kitchens and bathrooms and neighborhoods you wouldn't want to go out in at night.

If it weren't for Karis Village, Olesen says he doesn't know where he would be today: "I had nowhere to go and this is a safe, beautiful place to spend my retirement."

"I don't think they could have done a much better job of putting this place together and supplying us with what we need," he says. "I have so much appreciation for the ability to have a place to live. And then you add to that that it's beautiful and completely furnished and you didn't need to bring anything—I don't know what more you could ask for."

Karis Village and another development for veterans built the same year enabled the neighborhood of Goulds to meet the requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to declare an end to veteran homelessness in the area.

Ending veteran homelessness altogether is a complex task, but communities like Karis Village show how it can be done—and done well. When government agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporate funding programs come together to solve big problems, big solutions can be built and maintained.

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Capital One