This January, an expert review panel evaluated all eligible submissions, and the highest-scoring prototypes advanced to a panel of five judges, who are assessing these submissions. Drawing on their expertise in adult education, edtech, career navigation, industry, and inclusion and accessibility, the judging panel are evaluating the submissions against the Stage 1 selection criteria

Meet the judges

The Future Finder Challenge thanks the judging panel for giving their time and expertise to help reimagine career navigation for adult learners:

  • Bill Hughes, CEO at Education Design Lab
  • Dr. E. Paulette Isaac-Savage, Ph.D., Professor of Adult Education, University of MIssouri-St. Louis, President of the American Association of Adult and Continuing Education
  • Ash Kaluarachchi, CEO at StartEd
  • Denine Torr, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility & Philanthropy at Dollar General 
  • Dr. Nicol Turner Lee, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Center for Technology Innovation at The Brookings Institution

A rigorous review process

As they review the submissions, judges are assessing the extent to which entrants identify relevant data points, including user, usage, and outcomes data; demonstrate an understanding of their target users’ specific needs; and plan to integrate with existing local workforce systems and tools, such as through partnerships with adult education providers. Judges are also evaluating the extent to which tools can improve career navigation for adult learners, the extent to which tools can be scaled to impact a meaningful number of adult learners, and the likelihood that tools will be market-ready by the end of Stage 2. 

Finalists to advance to Stage 2 virtual accelerator

Using the selection criteria, the judging panel will select up to five finalists to receive at least $50,000 each and advance to the Stage 2 virtual accelerator. The six-month accelerator will kick off with an in-person boot camp. These finalists will have access to virtual resources, webinars, and mentorship from subject matter experts across fields such as adult education, design research, product design, storytelling, and growth and sustainability. 

At the end of the accelerator, the finalists will submit their market-ready tools and accompanying proposals, and present at a live demo day in fall 2023. A judging panel will review finalists’ submissions against the Stage 2 criteria and recommend a slate of winners to the Department. One grand-prize winner will receive $500,000, and up to two runners-up will receive a share of at least $250,000. 

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