On Thursday, the White House announced 29 new digital tools to help people find jobs, build skillsets, and improve their communities.
The tools were created as part of the Obama Administration’s Opportunity Project, launched in March 2016. The initiative aims to connect tech developers with subject matter experts and cities to build digital tools that connect people to jobs, housing, schools, and other services.
The 29 new tools were built by companies, nonprofits, and students during an eight-week software development sprint. They add to the 14 digital tools that were previously created through the project.
The US poverty rate declined more rapidly in 2015 than in the past 50 years, according to a White House press release, but the problem has not been eradicated, according to a press release.
It was also announced that the Department of Commerce would take the lead on the Opportunity Project going forward. “We get the way that data can change the world,” said Justin Antonipillai, counselor to Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, during a press event Thursday. “We see here today the legacy that public/private partnerships and real collaboration can bring.”
The announcement that will perhaps have the biggest impact on the initiative’s goals is the Department of Labor and University of Chicago’s new OpenSkills API, which provides easier access to data on jobs, skills, training, and wages. The data comes from federal agencies including the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Labor, along with data from Careerbuilder, ADP Payroll Services, and other private sector companies.
“We have 5.5 million jobs open in the United States,” said US CTO Megan Smith during the press event. “The largest set of those is in the area of coding, IT, and high tech…What’s happening today is the matching and the workforce data the Department of Labor is working hard to bring to everybody, so more Americans are getting put through these new training mechanisms to have these skillsets to also join in.”
Here are 10 tools that will be especially useful to job seekers. You can learn more about accessing these tools here.
1. HackerNest’s Opportunity.HackerNest.com
This tool helps individuals find potential jobs in federal government, using data from the Department of Labor and the Office of Personnel Management.
2. LinkedIn’s Training Finder
Training Finder helps people find education opportunities that will directly prepare them for in-demand jobs, using Department of Labor Data.
3. Pairin’s JobSeeker
This tool matches users’ skills and experiences to jobs in their area, also using the Department of Labor’s OpenSkills API.
4. Ushahidi’s Job Postings
Job Postings uses Department of Labor data with crowd-sourced job postings. This way, when organizations share job postings, job seekers receive email and SMS alerts for those opportunities in their area.
5. Flatiron School’s CareerSpark
This program, created by students at the Flatiron School in New York City, uses Department of Labor data to help high school students explore different careers, and create an educational plan to reach those future job goals.
mySidewalk created a tool that informs users about access to employment, the cost of commuting, and other transportation questions using data from the Census, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
7. Split’s Zip Code Commuter Map
This map shows users the volume of commuters between different zip codes. It also uses Census data to identify areas that do not have easily accessible transit options.
8. Data.world’s Enhanced Opportunity Project Data Workspace
This tool combines data from 11 federal agencies and 12 cities. It makes it easier for educators, civic technologists, hackathon organizers, and other citizens to access Opportunity Project data and work together on community improvement projects.
9. Exygy’s training
In August, software design agency Exygy provided Opportunity Project participants an introduction to human-centered design training. The training covered how to build empathy for the user by uncovering their needs, through user interviews and empathy maps. It also covered how to test your product with users. The session is available here.
10. GreatSchools, Education Cities’ Opportunity Dashboard
This tool uses the Department of Education’s college readiness data to measure gaps in education access across different groups of students. It will be useful for advocates and educators pushing for educational equity and better schooling opportunities to lead to better careers.
Companies including Coursera and Bayes Impact have made commitments to build more tech tools for job seekers and universities as part of this initiative in the coming months.