Nashville’s YouScience CEO and co-founder Philip Hardin recently joined leaders from Bank of America and FedEx for a panel discussion on “Building Talent from Scratch” at the US Chamber Foundation’s annual talent development conference, “Talent Forward: Workforce Challenges, Employer-Led Solutions,” in Washington, DC.

The panel examined opportunities for employers to play a more active and engaged role in talent development in the workforce, highlighting effective strategies that have helped businesses recruit and retain top-quality employees.

During the discussion, Hardin explained the value of embracing enhanced career guidance tools like YouSciencce Discovery to help students understand how their unique talents align with modern careers.

Unlike traditional interest-based career assessments, Discovery measures students’ aptitudes and then provides a highly-personalized overview of best-fit careers, along with detailed information on average salary, regional and national job demand and education requirements.

“Even though there is a skills gap, there is not a talent gap. The kids in our schools… have the talent to do the work we need them to do; we’ve just got to do a better job of uncovering that talent and directing them to high-wage, high-demand careers,” Hardin said.

“There’s a great opportunity for employers to more intentionally engage with community colleges, high schools, and the educational systems… to build that talent pipeline.” Hardin added, underscoring the importance of investing in career guidance and aptitude tools for middle and high school students. “There’s an opportunity now to [focus on] actually increasing the number of students [and] increasing the diversity of students pursuing those credentials, so it’s not just a random act of education. It’s really [about building] an intentional talent pipeline starting earlier in the educational system.”

Watch the panel discussion.