Among the biggest job categories at Freddie Mac, one of the world’s largest financial services companies, is technologist. This is true for many large financial firms, from credit card companies to reputable investment banks. We compete fiercely with these companies for a limited talent pool.
But what if we don’t? Or at least, not so much. What if we looked to further diversify our talent pool by complementing our Selective Program to attract new college graduates in tech fields with a program that develops mid-career professionals, including more minorities, more women, and more. veterans from outside the tech space?
That was the idea behind the creation of Freddie Mac’s Fellows in Technology, End User, and Cyber (FinTEC) program. FinTEC is a mid-career bridging program for professionals who may have taken a break to care for family, serve in the military, or have always wanted to work in tech, but never have one. had the opportunity.
FinTEC is designed to enable these professionals to embark on technology careers, including management opportunities tailored to their life and work experience, without the benefit of traditional training in IT, engineering or data management. The 18-month professional rotation program blends classroom work with career-based immersion in end-user technology, infrastructure and cybersecurity streams.
Over 700 candidates of varying skills and backgrounds threw their hats in the ring when we opened the recruitment process earlier this year. We have received resumes from people in education, engineering, government, finance, hospitality, law enforcement, and oil and gas.
The overwhelming response gave us the opportunity to sift through these applicants to select those with the highest potential and the core skills or abilities that set them apart as professionals. We have narrowed the field by insisting on:
Transferable skills such as problem solving, analytical reasoning, critical thinking, adaptability, teamwork and communications that come not only from paid work, but also from volunteering, internships and freelance jobs; and
Personal qualities, such as listening, curiosity and punctuality, which determine whether or not you are successful at work;
Performance in situation-based interview questions to see who might think on their feet about common challenges and grasp key concepts.
The first cohort of 12 fellows started in June. Among other professionals, the cohort includes teachers, police officers, traders and military veterans. I can tell you by watching their progress, it has been and will continue to be a challenge for them. There is a lot to learn because technology is a profession that requires a high level of knowledge and the courage to persevere where the answers are elusive and priorities compete. But when they graduate in December 2022 as certified tech professionals, they’ll be ready to take on tech roles in information security, infrastructure, platforms, data. and architecture. Everyone will have a new career that is both exciting and rewarding.
Freddie Mac will benefit as well. We will have new experts, trained in-house, but with experiences that will allow them to bring new perspectives and new ideas to our company. We may not know, but we certainly believe, that programs like FinTEC will bring more innovation to Freddie Mac, while also helping us to further diversify our team. This is, for me, the very definition of a great idea.