How Can We Leverage Digital Tools to Expand the Reach of Career Coaching?

That’s the question a team of career coaches from the Skillful Governor’s Coaching Corps (SGCC) was assigned to explore as part of their nine-month research project which culminated in a presentation to influential leaders in the workforce and education space. Here is what the team found: 

The Problem

Even though two million Hoosiers are needed for job openings in Indiana, traditionally disadvantaged job seekers in Indiana aren’t connecting with potential employers due to the digital divide, lack of social capital and inaccessible digital resources.

  • 666,00 Hoosiers live without access to high-speed internet. This lack of access to digital resources negatively impacts, progress towards social and economic equity, unemployment rates and career readiness.

The Barriers

The team conducted a survey that shined a light on the barriers Indiana job seekers, agencies serving job seekers, and employers face.

  • Agencies serving job seekers found their clients have an inability to access computers and lack digital skills, job seekers don’t know how to get connected.
  • Job seekers want an application process that is easy to navigate, most of them apply for jobs using the internet, and although they prefer using a computer to apply for employment, some have used a smartphone.
  • Employers don’t utilize Indiana Career Connect as a resource to fill open jobs, but they would welcome contact information from Next Level Jobs applicants.

The Proposed Solution

During their presentation the team proposed creating Kiosks that can help bridge the digital barriers. These kiosks would:

  • Be located in high traffic easy to access areas
  • Have adaptive technology and touch screens that could help simplify the application process even further
  • The existing location feature could be used to connect people to nearby job coaches.
  • People could use these kiosks to create a portal for return access to resumes and resources from another location or device
  • These kiosks could share contact information with employers.

What’s Next? Ideas for Kiosk implementation

To conclude their presentation, the team gave suggestions on how these kiosks could become a reality in Indiana.

  • Use funding from Next Level Connections for research, development, and beta testing.
  • Work with a physical product design team to create 12 prototype kiosks.
  • Work with a software design team to develop software to support the kiosks and phone/tablet application.
  • Seek partnerships with non-traditional job seeking locations (box stores, small community-based shops, etc.)
  • Place three kiosks in high foot traffic locations with the highest unemployment rates and largest target demographic populations. The team suggests starting with Gary, Kokomo, and Indianapolis, because these are the places where they identified the biggest need.

The team identified a few ways to measure the success of the trial and decided whether the trial locations were viable, the effectiveness of the kiosks, and how these kiosks could be improved. These include increased overall use of Next Level Jobs website, number of referrals made to agencies offering employment assistance, percentage increase in individuals enrolled in training via Next Level Jobs referrals, and percentage of referrals provided to employers resulting in individuals who were interviewed and hired.

To view action team two’s full presentation and the feedback they received from Joshua Winter, Microsoft Philanthropies, Secretary Blair Milo, Office of Career Connections and Talent, Mike Barnes, Chief Workforce Officer, Indiana Department of Workforce Development, PJ McGrew, Executive Director, Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, Kent Kramer, President & Executive Officer, Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana, and Tyler Brown, Director of Engagement and Analytics for Education and Workforce Development, click here.

Members of the team (known as Action Team Two) are: Ann De Sisti, Life Coach, Caresource, Kelly Treat-Liciaga, College and Career Readiness Coach, The Excel Center, Mary Priester-Hanks, District Readiness Coordinator, Monroe County School Corporation, Sean Litchford, College and Career Readiness Coordinator, Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, and Stephanie Enyeart Career Consultant IUPUI.