Hats & Ladders Career Tool Wins Seed Funding from National Science Foundation

Hats & Ladders Career Tool Wins Seed Funding from National Science Foundation

Hats & Ladders, Inc., has received a $225,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to further develop its groundbreaking mobile career education platform, Hats & Ladders.

The app-based tool will help youth across the country explore careers that fit their interests and strengths and connect to digital resources and real-world projects that can assist them in developing their skills and pursuing those careers.

There are 45 million youth ages 14 to 25, and each needs individualized support to set and reach career goals. College is no longer sufficient and all students need more real-world experiences. The resources that youth need to pursue their interests are hard to find. As of 2014, one in five high schools was without a school counselor.1 No wonder that youth are becoming disconnected. According to Opportunity Nation, the cost of youth disengagement for taxpayers is estimated to be over $20-25 billion every year.

Hats & Ladders enables youth to counter the pull of disconnection, to remain engaged and develop confidence.

Hats & Ladders supports data-driven career exploration that motivates youth to practice essential skills through extracurricular activities online, at home, and in the community. After completing swipe-based surveys of their interests, strengths, and values, users try on recommended ‘hats’ (careers) and climb ‘ladders’ by finding, completing, and reflecting on hands-on projects. Through Hats & Ladders, youth discover both familiar and unfamiliar careers and industries and connect to real-world experiences that allow them to better understand career options, build cross-cutting career competencies, and make more informed decisions about their futures.

The tool features:

  • advanced user profiles
  • recommendation algorithms
  • youth-centered content
  • experience points and game-based mechanics
  • social sharing

Hats & Ladders will also allow educators and community-based organizations to better advise and support youth based on their stated interests and activities. Thus, Hats & Ladders is not only aimed at youth but also at community and government stakeholders who have a vested interested in seeing youth find and thrive in fulfilling careers. Hats & Ladders, Inc., is seeking additional seed funding to continue development of its product, extend its partner network, and expand its team. Those interested in partnering with Hats & Ladders should connect with the company through its website.

The success of Hats & Ladders will help future generations of youth gain more work-related skills and stay engaged and motivated to succeed. The program will also enable schools and community-based organizations to give more personalized, usable advice to their youth. Industries will gain access to more qualified applicants. Over the long-term, the program has tremendous potential to positively impact the U.S. economy and the readiness of our nation’s workforce.

Interested in piloting Hats & Ladders tool with youth in your community? Send us a message to inquire about a pilot.

1 U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights - https://ocrdata.ed.gov/Downloads/CRDC-Teacher-Equity-Snapshot.pdf

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