On October 13, the Future Finder Challenge team hosted a virtual information session to provide an overview of the challenge and answer questions. Dr. Amy Loyd, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE), discussed how the challenge will support the U.S. Department of Education’s work to build an inclusive and globally competitive economy. 

Watch the session recording and continue reading for highlights from the live event.

Review a summary of frequently asked questions and answers, read the transcript, and download the presentation.

Helping adults prepare for high-wage and high-demand occupations in the 21st-century global economy

The Future Finder Challenge will help adult learners gain access to quality jobs in high-growth industries by improving their career navigation experience. The challenge supports the U.S. Department of Education’s broader efforts to increase access to upward mobility and build a more equitable and inclusive economy.

“We’re running the Future Finder Challenge to respond to a changing economy in which skills and credentials are no longer enough. We want to expand equitable access to the resources that will help all adult learners enter and succeed in high-quality, high-growth industries, and support a thriving and diverse workforce to enhance our global competitiveness.” 

Dr. Amy Loyd
Assistant Secretary, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education

Designing digital career navigation tools that meet the unique needs of adult learners

Technology has the potential to rapidly expand access to career navigation — the process of understanding, choosing, and preparing for career opportunities. But the digital career navigation tools available today are often geared toward college students or professionals. The Future Finder Challenge will accelerate the development of tools designed specifically for adult learners. 

“We want to spur the creation or improvement of technology tools that help adult learners identify and access learning and career opportunities. Second, we want to generate greater awareness of the importance of career navigation services for adult learners. And finally, we want to unite stakeholders from across the adult ed ecosystems in adjacent fields to encourage collaboration and information sharing.”

Grace Solares
Acting Director, Division of Adult Education and Literacy, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education

Answers to top questions

Attendees had the chance to ask questions during the live information session. See a selection of the top questions and answers below and review the complete list of frequently asked questions.

What level of fidelity is required for the Stage 1 prototype? 
In Stage 1, entrants are required to submit a PDF presentation that demonstrates the functionality of their tool. This may include wireframes, screen mockups, and other imagery to demonstrate how the tool would work. 

There are no specific requirements for the fidelity of the prototype. However, reviewers and judges will consider the likelihood that the tool will be market ready by the end of Stage 2 as part of their scoring. Please refer to the Stage 1 selection criteria for more information.

In addition, in Stage 1 entrants will be required to submit information regarding their target users, an overview of how their tool will integrate with existing systems, and a plan for how they will build and test the tool in Stage 2. 

Is the challenge seeking new or existing tools? 
Entrants with new or existing tools are welcome to apply. The challenge is seeking entrants that are looking to adapt, improve and/or scale their tools. This may include adding additional functionality or tailoring content to better suit adult learners. For Stage 1, the challenge is seeking prototypes. For Stage 2, entrants are expected to have a market-ready tool that can be deployed to adult learners and other users. All entries will be evaluated against the same Stage 1 selection criteria

Does a tool need to be designed for all adult learners? 
Entrants may design their tool for any group of adult learners, as defined in the rules, terms, and conditions. This may include a specific subset of adult learners, such as English learners or veterans. All entrants will be expected to demonstrate how their tool is designed to meet the specific needs of the adult learners they are designing for. 

Please refer to the Stage 1 submission form and the Stage 1 selection criteria for more information.

Enter the $1 million challenge by December 15

Stage 1 submissions are due by 6:00 p.m. ET on December 15, 2022. Teams are encouraged to explore the challenge resources to learn more about adult learners, the adult ed ecosystem, and career navigation support. Register for the challenge community to identify opportunities to collaborate with others or add members to your team.

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