This post is part of an ongoing series, Meet Skillpoint, where you will hear from the people behind our work to build human capital in Central Texas.
Meet Mitch Holt, the Integrated Marketing Manager at Zenoss, and a recent addition to the Board of Directors for Skillpoint Alliance. When he’s not working to amplify the brands of those two organizations, you can find him competing with his soccer and softball teams, visiting local breweries, enjoying Mexican food and barbecue, and volunteering with the Texas Great Pyrenees Rescue and the FreeStore of Austin. Growing up, Holt personally witnessed how access to opportunity, education and training changes lives, and we’re excited to add his experience to our board.
Recently, we had the chance to ask Mitch about what drives his commitment to closing the gap in Austin. Read more below:
What piqued your interest in Skillpoint?
I have always had a place in my heart for those often referred to as the “less fortunate” members of society. My father frequently invited homeless people to our holiday meals, where I learned first hand that these people are people, not a statistic. I learned that the playing field is not level; that this country, although it preaches equality and justice, often fails to embrace an entire section of our population for one reason or another. This has led to systemic flaws in our country’s educational and occupational processes.
Skillpoint is unique in that it both helps unemployed adults get their lives back on track, and prepares kids for rewarding and intentional careers. Not only does the organization address an immediate need for work that a significant percentage of Americans have, it addresses the systemic problems that cause unemployment and poverty. Skillpoint has and will continue to change the world, and I’m committed to donate my time, talents and treasures to further the mission of the organization.
In 2015, Austin was ranked the #2 fastest growing city in the U.S. We’re also ranked the #1 economically segregated city in the nation. For you personally, what are the most important issues we – as a community – need to focus on to close the gap in our city?
There is no doubt in my mind that we need to focus on education above all else. By putting our resources into educating our young people—conveying that not only do you have access to an infinite amount of information, you can literally do whatever you put your mind to—we are changing lives and improving the future of America.
How have you seen increased opportunity to STEM education and/or workforce development positively affect people’s lives?
When I lived in Memphis, I experienced ex-drug dealers join workforce development programs and completely turn their lives around. I saw deadbeat fathers buckle down, work through trade programs, start careers, and earn the privilege of being in their children’s lives. I have seen through my teacher friends that when information is delivered intentionally and with passion, the sky is the limit for our young people, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, and economic status. I truly believe that anyone can start over, whether they are age 8 or 55.
I’m excited to work with the amazing employees of Skillpoint, spread the word about the organization and serve as an advisor for the marketing and communications department. Everyone needs to know what’s possible if organizations like Skillpoint were allotted the resources they need to fulfill their mission.