Challenge 4: SuperMom

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SuperMom is a platform to help mothers re-enter the workforce through skill development and community support. It also provides an interface for employers to find qualified applicants and for online learning sites to access new users.

The core of Supermom is a personalized learning plan to help women navigate this often daunting and difficult task, through community support, accountability, and skill development tools (both online and in-person). Motivation for continued learning is emphasized through visual progress cues throughout the process, accountability with mentors and the community, and continual reminders of the user’s end goal.

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First, a user selects either a part-time or full-time track, depending on their phase of motherhood and desires. Next, a profile is developed, which includes past work history, time out of work, current skills, past skills, education, desired employment field(s), ideal working hour commitment per week, and pre-employment skill development commitment (i.e. if the user is willing to spend 6 months or 6 weeks in preparation).

From the initial profile, the platform suggests potential career options through an algorithm that considers the user’s priorities with other user’s profiles (successes and similar qualifications), existing job opportunities on the web, and potential jobs based on employer interest through the platform.

The user reviews the career suggestions and can select ones that are of interest. Each suggestion is summarized with characteristics such as anticipated preparation commitment (based on the user’s experience), current competition, prospective growth, etc. Once the user has selected a career or job prospect, the platform develops a learning track.

The user is invited to a community on the platform that has similar interests, and is matched with a mentor who is closely related to the user’s aspired career trajectory. Throughout the subsequent activities on the learning track, the user will have regular mentor meetings, can participate in forum discussions with others going through a similar track, and can join community events related to their prospective profession and interests.

One of the first steps on the learning track is preliminary resume development (to be continued throughout the process). The user can see sample resumes of other individuals in a similar career path, recognize missing skills and use templates to begin developing their own customized resume. A notable component of this step is helping the user recognize what relevant skills they may have developed while formally out of work (i.e. volunteering, parent/teacher organizations, city council, etc.).

Next, the user will have access to a number of recommended skill development tools, which will be suggested in sequence based on the user’s personalized plan. Some tools may be generic for a working office environment (i.e. Microsoft Office training, presentation training, email formatting, etc.), while others will be specific to the user’s interest, and may include online training modules (through Coursera, EdX, Lynda, etc.) and/or in-person training (through community colleges, adult learning centers, employment offices, etc.).

The skill training may go on for several weeks or months, with checkpoints and mentor support along the way. The learning path will be visually laid out as a map, where the user receives points and progress reports along the way. Once the user has neared the end of their training modules, they will transition to skill development for workforce entry, such as mock-interviews, further resume development, cover letter writing training, etc. This aspect of the program is heavily built around the platform community. The user will then begin to explore job opportunities, contact recruiters, reach-out to companies, and begin the job application process. Through the user’s experience, they can continue to support others on the platform as they begin their re-entry journey.

The platform is more than just a tool for mothers, and is a way for employers to find valuable candidates. From an employer perspective, recruiters using the platform can be reassured that applicants have completed the required learning and development track, and thus know that a candidate has a level of baseline skill and competency. This can be seen as a way to ease the insecurity of a time gap since their previous employment. The platform can also be used as an outlet for online learning sites and local colleges/ adult learning centers to find new customers. These three functions provide a basis for continual development and economic viability.

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