To democratize access to career information and advice.
Our mission is to democratize access to the career advice and guidance underserved youth need to create professional goals and understand their personal paths to those goals. We exist first and foremost to level the playing field.
At CareerVillage.org we use crowdsourcing to provide personal career guidance to students at massive scale. We do this through an open access platform that anyone can use to ask a question related to a career. Our web platform matches the career questions students ask to our volunteer corps of over 35,000 working professionals with relevant expertise and a wealth of experiences to share. The advice students get is tailored for them, it’s reliable, and it’s encouraging and inspirational. The more students from different backgrounds use it, the more young people are exposed to careers they may never have dreamed existed.
To truly level the playing field, however, CV provides additional services through partners in communities in which the lack of resources (information, networking, mentoring, etc) is the largest and where students are underrepresented in their desired career, face discrimination in gaining access to their desired career, or face huge hurdles outside their control which block their ability to get into their desired career. We especially work to support youth in low-income communities, students who plan to become the first in their family to attend college, students who are first generation immigrants, young people of color, and young women interested in STEM careers. Working more intensively in communities traditionally lacking the most access reinforces the power of the CV website, enabling the most underserved youth to find new pathways, ask better questions, and forge more connections with peers and mentors using the website.
If you work with or know of a youth program or school with students who desperately need CareerVillage.org, please click here to get in touch with us.
For young people around the world, the internet is a place where you can get any question answered. But when it comes to career guidance, reliable sources of information for youth are hard to come by and hard to digest, especially online. Ask any 16 year old around the world to take 10 minutes searching online for career advice and you’ll quickly discover that what they find is boring, complicated, often overwhelming, and almost never designed specifically for youth. 85% of low-income youth in the US search Google for questions about careers, college selection, skilled trades, summer activities, getting internships, improving academic performance, and much much more on a monthly basis. What they get is discouraging.
Traditionally, youth get career advice within their communities -- parents, teachers, and near-peers. We have seen how the limitations of this network approach plays out in low-income communities. This is a huge global problem. With global youth unemployment at record levels, being unable to find the answers to important questions about careers makes it nearly impossible to chart your path to gainful employment. We used to turn to educators to solve this problem, but with dramatic change taking place in the post-secondary world and 500 students for every school counselor in America (and often worse ratios outside the US), we can’t put it all on the educators’ shoulders. This problem is exacerbated for youth in the Global South where the work experience of elders is inapplicable to 21st Century STEAM careers. As jobs are moving to developing nations, the gulf between career role models and future workers has a huge opportunity-cost. The world needs a cloud-based solution for career advice - CareerVillage is that solution.
What if we could promise every student in the world that we could get them the answer to any question about any career, from real-life professionals speaking from real-life experience? And what if it was as easy and natural as using Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr? At CareerVillage.org we use crowdsourcing to provide personal career guidance to students at massive scale. Our web platform matches the career questions students ask to our volunteer corps of over 35,000 working professionals with relevant expertise and a wealth of experiences to share. The advice students get is tailored for them, it’s reliable, and it’s encouraging and inspirational. 100% of our program is digital, which makes it so accessible, so scalable, and so easy to participate no matter how much (or how little) time you want to spend volunteering.
Already we've provided career advice to over 3.5 million online learners covering over 8,000 career topics. We’ve shown that students love getting career guidance this way, and we’ve shown that working professionals love being able to do skills-based volunteering online through CareerVillage.org.
Points of Light
Winner, NCVS Innovation Awards 2013: National Conference on Volunteering and Service.
Social Innovation Award, 2016: Won a clean sweep of Lumina Foundation's first ever Social Innovation Awards at ASU-GSV 2016 in San Diego, CA.
1st Place, Social Impact: Picked from a pool of over 2,300 applicants to participate in MassChallenge 2014, from whom we were awarded the top prize in the Social Impact category.
1st place, Give It Away Award: Selected by a large panel of young people from a highly competitive pool of nonprofits.
Selected to participate in the world's first accelerator program exclusively for high tech nonprofit organizations.
College Knowledge Challenge
Selected for this program run by College Summit and sponsored by the Gates Foundation to improve college knowledge.
Incubated through the Technology Underwriting the Greater Good program in Boston, MA.
Invited to serve as a startup in residence at the iLab in Spring 2012 where we first launched our platform.
Meet the Team
Chief Village Elder & Co-Founder
It Takes A VillageIn the five plus years since I was first enamored with the idea of creating an online community where youth could get career advice, a shockingly large number of people have contributed time, money, skills, their networks, and their moral support to help us get where we are. It is shocking to me to acknowledge not only how many people have been willing to help make CareerVillage.org exist, but also how many people are needed to make CareerVillage.org exist. It is an enormous effort put in by an enormous number of amazing people, each doing a part. It's with that sacrifice in mind, that I want to thank each and every one of them.
- Jared, Founder
- Ajay Kapoor is an advisor who has helped us build our brand strategy, figure out how to collaborate with large companies, and hire staff. He has founded startups, worked for several years as an executive at Procter and Gamble, and now does digital strategy at SharkNinja.
- Akshat Pradhan contributed great ideas and encouragement, and did early produt testing back in 2011 and 2012 when CareerVillage.org was first getting started.
- Andy Wang, programmer at Zynga. Steadfast volunteer, provided feedback, suggestions, and lots of encouragement to our team.
- Anina Hitt was a rockstar intern who worked with us multiple times over several years. She did a tremendous amount of the hands-on work to make sure that the quality of advice and backend process management was handled well. She also worked on product management for a while, and has always been a great source of product feedback. She's forever a member of our team.
- Ayesha Khanna is the president of Points of Light's Civic Incubator, which ran the first accelerator program CareerVillage.org ever participated in. Ayesha has been a steadfast advisor, spending hours on the phone with our team providing guidance on everything from legal structure to growth strategy to how to collaborate with large Fortune 500 companies.
- Ben Eisenpress volunteered to think through some of the strategic implications of doing multi-sectoral city-level partnerships.
- Ben Hitov volunteered to spend some of his 2011 holiday vacation helping to build the very first version of the CareerVillage.org platform. He split the user model into a Student and a Professional model for the first time.
- Ben Landis interned with us and worked on community management and marketing tasks. He contributed to a lot of the promotional content that helped spread awareness of the community.
- Britney Herman was a 2013 summer intern working on social media marketing and community operations.
- Bryant Gomer was a partnerships and education manager at CareerVillage.org for 3 years. He joined very early and was steadfast through many major strategic changes in how we partnered with organizations that could help us serve more students. He was there during the launch of to do lists, pivoting our educator service model, the creation of our community guidelines, our rebranding, and more. One of the areas where Bryant truly stands out the most is in the purity of his understanding of our mission. He has always kept the interests of the most disadvantaged students top of mind. He's been an advocate for low-income youth and for underrepresented youth and his ethical and moral clarity has always been incredibly valuable.
- Chris Crawford and Paul Mooney, Kaggle Competition Managers. Executed Kaggle's Data Science for Good competition in 2019 to improve how we match questions to volunteers at CareerVillage.org.
- David Guerrero was a community intern who helped us build lists of potential partners, and moderated the content on the site.
- David Ohta was an intern with us for several years, working mostly on strategy projects. His writing is great, his problem solving skills were really useful when thinking about questions like "should we open local city chapters?", and he's always been a steadfast and reliable team member to us.
- Debashri Mukherjee was a data science intern who built several major internal dashboards that have helped our small staff keep up to date on how well we're serving students, and used the data in our website's db to answer a big laundry list of questions we had about user experience and satisfaction. She also pressure tested the first version of the hashtag recommendation system.
- Erik Wernevi worked with Ben Eisenpress on the multi-sector city-level partnerships pro bono strategy project, with great results.
- Gillian Shelley was a development intern for the summer after her sophomore year at McGill. She researched institutional funders who would grant us money to continue our work.
- Henry Yang is a software developer at Amazon who volunteered to help us build out some of the AI/ML pipeline systems we need to deliver better recommendations to volunteers.
- Jaleel Mackey was employee #2 at CareerVillage and a core team member in 2015 and 2016. While at CareerVillage Jaleel did a little bit of everything, including supporting educators, increasing growth, and digital marketing. Jaleel is a USC grad who cares deeply about supporting underprivileged and underrepresented youth. He's great.
- Jeff Atwood was one of our very first advisors, helping us think through the feature set we needed (and did not need) and how to provide maximum value to our community. Jeff is a co-founder of Stack Overflow, author of the blog Coding Horror, and currently the founder of Discourse.
- Jeff Livingston, EdTech Advisor. Gave advice and guidance on how to best support teachers and districts.
- Jennifer Pan is one of the co-founders of CareerVillage.org and has been a behind-the-scenes counselor to Jared on nearly all major decisions made. Jen and Jared are a husband wife team who decided to found CareerVillage.org together because they shared a dream and wanted to dedicate part of their family's life to social impact. Jen is an assistant professor at Stanford University, but was a grad student at Harvard when CareerVillage.org was founded.
- Kelly LaBuff was a staff member and product manager who helped us build many core features on the site, including the career path features, and presided over the rebranding of CareerVillage.org from the old tree look into the new dual-tone iconic look we sport today. Kelly is a Stanford alum who is now doing mechanical engineering for an AgTech startup.
- Kenneth Williams was an advisor who helped us build some very important strategies related to partnering with companies. Kenny worked at Deloitte for several years, including in their Social Impact practice and was a Phi Beta Kappa + Summa Cum Laude grad from Morehouse who put himself through college on scholarships.
- Lindsey Manning was employee #1 at CareerVillage.org. She joined when we had just 3,658 registered users and 1,453 questions. When she left we had over 50,000 users and over 100k content nodes. It is hard to overstate how much of our work was influenced by her ideas, her passion for the mission, and her energy. She served as a partnerships manager, a product manager, and a community director, and had a hand in most of the core strategic decisions we made during the many years she was on the team. We're thankful for her bravery in joining such an early movement, her energy, her passion for her work, and the many many things she has done for the students and the professionals in the community.
- Lizeth Galindo Roman was an intern on our community team, hustling up answers to unanswered questions and making sure that advice quality got better every day.
- Long Nguyen was an engineering intern who worked on many of the public-facing pages, including a major version update on this page you are looking at right now!
- Marina Watson was a student experience intern before for the summer before her senior year at Harvard.
- Matthew Bellows, CEO of Yesware. Major donation when we were early, ran the Boston Marathon to our benefit, and provided us with free access to yesware for our entire team.
- Meg Ansara was an advisor who helped us think about how to apply large-scale grassroots organizing to our model. Meg was a regional director at Obama for America and then became a partner with 270 Strategies.
- Mikia Manley was a 2013 summer intern before her senior year at Harvard. She worked on strategy, operations,and fundraising.
- Omar Wasow was an advisor during our 2-4th years, especially when we were thinking about educators as our primary channelt or each students. Omar is a Professor at Princeton, one of the co-founders of BlackPlanet.com, an early technology pundit in the dot com era, and is a co-founder of a K-8 charter school in Brooklyn.
- Oren Falkowitz was a supporter from the very start. Oren made calls for us, asked his friends and family to donate, made donations himself, and helped us think through product changes. For almost a year Oren's company Area1 donated office space inside their building in Redwood City, and Oren provided advice on IT security. Oren is the founder of several data and security startups including Area1, and formerly worked at the NSA.
- Paul East, Vice President of Engineering at Area One Security. Paul advised us on setting up the initial framework for our shift to machine learning in matching students to mentors. He provided invaluable insight and expertise in setting up our architecture.
- Rob Mancabelli gave advice about how to work with educators and made personal donations to help us get off the ground. Rob is an author of Personal Learning Networks and is now the CEO of BrightBytes.
- Rohun Saxena was a 2016 summer intern before his sophomore year at Stanford. He rebuilt a major piece of the recommendation engine that emails questions to volunteers.
- Ryan Le was an engineering intern who built some front-end sites and data tools.
- Sarah Paiji, CEO of Snapette. Donated, answered questions of students from the beginning, helped us raise funding at the beginning, and recorded a video asking for support for the village.
- Suzanne Reisman served as a board member for several years during our early years. She is a veteran of the nonprofit sector, including several years spent as a grantmaker. Suzanne instilled in us the importance of clearly articulating how we can effect an equity based mission with an equality based strategy. She has always ensured that we are on task for the mission we set ourselves on, and never straying from it.
- Trisha Micarsos was a 2016 summer intern while a student at UC Santa Barbara. She worked on social media and partnership support.
- Varun Arora is an advisor who answered several important questions from us about how AI / ML could work at CareerVillage.
- Viansa Schmulbach was a 2019 summer intern who automated some extremely time-consuming staff processes, and gathered and processed data to answer questions staff members needed to understand to improve the quality of CareerVillage.org services.
CareerVillage is an equal opportunity organization and will not allow discrimination based upon age, ethnicity, ancestry, gender, national origin, disability, race, size, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, or any other status prohibited by applicable law. We also hold our registered users to the same standard, and reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason at any time, including if we receive external evidence, such as negative publicity or social media, that reveals such discrimination, hate speech, or disrespectful or bullying behavior by a registered user, as determined by CareerVillage in its sole discretion.