Career and Technical Education

5 Finalists Announced in $225,000 Reach Higher Career App Challenge

The U.S. Department of Education’s CTE-focused challenge awarded $25,000 to five finalists who continue to compete for the $100,000 grand prize.

The White House and the United States Department of Education announced five finalists in the Reach Higher Career App Challenge. Announced last October by First Lady Michelle Obama, the challenge called for students to develop mobile technologies to help students navigate education and career pathways, including career and technical education (CTE), according to the challenge’s site.

“The apps will include integrated tools to assess student skills and interests, and offer information on occupations, education options, credentials and career-seeking skills,” according to ED.

A panel of external judges with expertise in career counseling, workforce development, CTE, educational technology and business scaling selected the five finalists. Each will receive $25,000 to improve their concepts and proceed to the Virtual Accelerator phase of the competition. In this phase, they will receive additional help from experts in design, business modeling, civic tech and career counseling.

The finalists are:

  • Future Plans, a career exploration app that assesses student aptitudes and interests to map educational pathways, created by Pinellas Education Foundation;
  • Hats & Ladders, a gaming app that offers self-assessments, connected activities and mini-challenges to supports middle and high school career exploration, created by ThinkZone Games;
  • INFORM Journeys, an interactive learning map app that helps students explore options throughout K-12, CTE, higher education, military service and vocational training, created by EDmin;
  • MARi, an education and career coach app that combines assessments, capability mapping and achievement validation with personalized career opportunities, created by MARi; and
  • Overgrad, an online platform that provides community resources, technology and data to support long-term student outcomes, created by Overgrad.

The finalists will present prototypes of their concepts at Demo Day this summer to a panel of judges. One grand prize winner will be selected and will win $100,000 in prizes from IBM and Microsoft.

Further information about the competition can be found on the Reach Higher Career App Challenge site.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at sravipati@1105media.com.

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