To democratize access to career information and advice.
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 guidance 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 15,000 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 1 million online learners covering over 10,000 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.
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Jared ChungChief Village Elder & Co-FounderBefore founding the organization Jared was an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Co. and a Director at TEDxCambridge. He holds a B.S. in Finance from NYU Stern, where he first began working with education organizations on a pro-bono basis. When he isn't evangelizing for our cause, he's usually writing code or cooking up something tasty.
Lindsey ManningDirector of PartnershipsLindsey attended the University of Oregon where she earned a B.A. in journalism and communications. She worked in project management after graduation and loves working at CareerVillage because it combines her entrepreneurial spirit with a mission she is passionate about. Lindsey is a lifelong volunteer, enjoys watching college football (Go Ducks!), hanging with her english bulldog Rutherford, and playing soccer. She believes CareerVillage will change the world, one question at a time!
Bryant GomerPartnerships ManagerBryant attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where he earned a B.A. in Political Science with an emphasis on International Relations. He completed a Masters degree in Teaching and Secondary Education at USC’s Rossier School of Education. Driven by a passion to positively impact the quality of the education experience, Bryant entered the classroom and taught high school social studies in Richmond, CA. He has also gained experience in middle school and Special Education classrooms. After two years in Ann Arbor Michigan, Bryant joined CareerVillage looking to expand his reach on impacting learners. Bryant’s free time is largely consumed with sports, music, and food. Lots of food. The quickest way to his musical heart is Bruce Springsteen.
Kelly LaBuffProduct DesignerKelly is a designer, product manager, and a tech geek at heart. She attended Stanford University where she earned a B.S in Mechanical Engineering, with a focus in product design. In her previous work, she has served as a designer, developer, and Innovation R&D Sr. Analyst in the Accenture Tech Labs. She is extremely passionate about fostering the next generation of diverse tech talent, as well as empowering nonprofit and social enterprises with design and technology! Outside of the office, she can be found mentoring high school students through BUILD.org, volunteering, and attempting to improve her kiteboarding skills in the bay.
Christian VarsavaDirector of CommunityChristian studied Fine Arts and Animation in Canada. Moved to the Bay Area in 2013 where he started working with communities in the Game & Tech Industry. His focus is about making every process, product and project, as human as possible. Driven by the idea that with more empathy towards all of those around us we can truly make the world a better place. The biggest comic book fan you will ever meet. Always ready to talk about film, games, politics and art. Outside of the office, he can be found training his new aussie puppy Sagan, Volunteering to fight Homelessness in the Bay Area and long boarding down the hills of Stanford while listening to his favorite podcast- 99% Invisible.
Jessica PliskaBoardJessica Pliska is the Founder and Executive Director of the Opportunity Network. She has worked with a number of community organizations focused on economic development including One to World, the "I Have a Dream" Foundation and Prep for Prep. Jessica holds a B.A. in Political Science from Yale.
Suzanne ReismanBoardSuzanne Reisman is the Program Manager, National Bank On 2.0 Initiative at the CFE Fund. At CFE Fund, Suzanne is implementing and managing all aspects of the access to banking programs, including Bank On 2.0. Suzanne has over 15 years of experience in the fields of community and economic development, social services, and affordable housing. During this time, she worked for several local and national organizations including Enterprise Community Partners and Low Income Investment Fund, as well as consulted for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, Nonprofit Finance Fund, and Supportive Housing Network of New York. She has a Masters in Public Administration from the Columbia University.
Justin PollackBoardJustin Pollack is a private equity investor based in New York. He was formerly a Managing Director of Newbury Partners LLC, an investment firm focused on the secondary market for private equity funds. He started his career in the Investment Banking Department of Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. Justin holds a B.S. in Finance and Marketing from the Stern School of Business at New York University.
Michael ParkBoardMichael Park is a Principal at McKinsey & Company, and a 2011-2012 David Rockefeller Fellow - Partnership for New York City program. He also serves on the board of Achievement First Endeavor School. Michael holds an A.B. in Economics from Harvard College.
Anina HittInternAnina is the Product Intern, who works on Products and User Research and also some other things. She's an incoming freshman at Brown University (Class of 2020 represent!). She hopes to major in Computational Biology, or Computer Science. Currently, her main career goal is to become the Ultimate Pokemon Master, but she's also considering paths in software engineering, computational research, and pathology.
Ben LandisInternBen Landis is a third year student at San Jose State University studying Economics. When Ben is not at work or at school he loves going to the gym, spending time at the beach, checking out new food places, socializing with with friends, and photography. Also Ben is an avid coffee drinker and probably drinks more coffee than he should but Ben is obsessed with his coffee.
David Ohta is a second year student at Stanford University with a planned major in English or Economics. When David is not busy studying in the library or working away on new projects at CareerVillage, he enjoys hitting the weight room, reading and writing short fiction, and driving stick with friends down long, open roads.
It Takes A Village
In 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.
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 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.
Britney Herman was a 2013 summer intern working on social media marketing and community operations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Marina Watson was a student experience intern before for the summer before her senior year at Harvard.
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.
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.
Trisha Micarsos was a 2016 summer intern while a student at UC Santa Barbara. She worked on social media and partnership support.