Ida Byrd-Hill states 2021 - The Year of ‘THE GREAT UPGRADE’

December 13, 2021
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Ida Byrd-Hill
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There has been much discussion about ‘The Great Resignation’ in which employees are refusing to come back to work due to expanded unemployment benefits.  According to Ida Byrd-Hill, CEO of Automation Workz, a cybersecurity reskilling and diversity consulting firm, corporate leaders’ perspective is flawed. Unemployment benefits have been severely reduced and employees are still not rushing back, even during the holiday scale up.

The Wall Street Journal reported on 11/14/21 that those who are quitting their jobs are mainly non- management women, people of color and low-wage workers: America’s Front-liners. “Thanks to the pandemic, these employees were forced to use technology to shepherd their children through virtual schooling and now they want to use their new-found tech skills to work remotely, in less abusive jobs with greater compensation, especially since the new COVID-19 variants are accelerating. Sadly, digital jobs have been elusive to front-liners as corporations continually require a Bachelor’s degree in computer science to access these jobs. Hence, front-liners are gravitating to companies who allow them to utilize alternative credentials, like cybersecurity/tech certifications. We are living in The Great Upgrade, and it will end when companies see workers with a DIVERSE LENS©” states Ida Byrd-Hill.

Ida states, “We are partially responsible for The Great Upgrade corporations are experiencing. Ironically for decades, corporate leaders talked about the need for employees to acquire digital skills to accelerate their automation. Now that we are in that reality, many corporate leaders are shying away from financing The Great Upgrade for non- management women, people of color and low-wage workers.”

Automation Workz grooms its learners, over 12 months with 152 digital simulations to sit for the CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associates) and CCCOA (Cisco Certified Cybersecurity Operations Associate) exams. “We assist our learners to begin their job search within the 1st 6 months of their training so they gain tech expertise before they graduate. Today 30% of our learners are earning six-figure incomes as network automation engineers, network firewall auditors, system engineers, cybersecurity analysts, and Level 3 support at such corporations as Deloitte & Touche, Logicalis, Itential, Red Ventures and Fed Ex without a Bachelor’s degree.” Byrd-Hill is so excited few learners went from earning $50,000 to $105,000 and $117,000 job offers. 

Automation Workz implemented DIVERSE LENS© consulting, coaching and animated shorts training program at a client in San Diego. “Our client increased diversity hires across Manufacturing, HR, Marketing and Quality. They are prepared to meet their sales goals in 2022 as their staff have been quite innovative in navigating around supply chain dilemmas.,” states Ida Byrd-Hill. The goal of DIVERSE LENS© is to expose corporate leaders to the historical, cultural and economic events that will impact diverse employees’ ability to reskill. Diverse employees set the stage for corporations to seize the $9 trillion diversity market, which is 52% of the entire market.  Every corporation needs a DIVERSE LENS© to see women, people of color and low-wage workers as potential digital workers, who desire higher compensation, culturally-relevant reskilling and cultural change to navigate The Great Upgrade.


Ida Byrd-Hill is a futurist, CEO of Automation Workz, a cybersecurity reskilling  and diversity consulting firm. She is author of Invisible Talent Market, a Black Labor Economics History book. She holds an MBA from the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University, with a specialization in People Management and Strategy and a BA Economics from the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor. Byrd-Hill has appeared in Essence Magazine, on Good Morning America, NPR, numerous newspapers, radio stations and podcasts.