A growing need
The workforce and its requirements are rapidly shifting. To thrive in this dynamic landscape, qualifications and skills are no longer enough. Career navigation services — which help people understand, choose, and prepare for career opportunities — have become vital to career success. Technology has the potential to elevate existing career navigation services, expanding access for all learners across the United States.
An underserved market
Although there are a growing number of digital career navigation tools for professionals and higher education students, few are designed specifically for adult learners — a diverse group that includes adults who have not completed high school and/or who are learning English. Many adult learners, who are often already underserved, do not have the support they need to enter and thrive in high-quality, in-demand occupations and high-growth industries.
With over 43 million adults who could benefit from adult education programs — there is a large, untapped market of adult learners in need of career navigation support. This creates an important opportunity for innovators looking to make an impact for adult learners as well as the broader U.S. workforce.
Overcoming barriers to innovation
In the past, innovation in the adult education space has been stifled by several factors: a lack of resources, a complex landscape, limited access to data, and difficulty accessing adult learners. This is where the Future Finder Challenge came in. The challenge aimed to bring together stakeholders from across the adult ed ecosystem and adjacent fields to encourage collaboration and information sharing. The challenge provided funding and guidance around topics such as user-centered design, data collection and evaluation, and sustainability planning to help innovators pave the way.