Removing employment barriers by modernizing the workforce system

Looking for a job can be isolating and daunting for anyone. Add barriers like previous incarceration and low tech literacy and the search becomes nearly impossible. We're connecting job seekers with job training programs.

Key facts 

  • More than 20 million people receive education, training, and employment services through the publicly funded workforce system each year.
  • A third of the people who interact with the workforce system claim unemployment insurance.
  • Every year, 3.4 million young people who want a job can’t find one, and unemployment for young people skyrocketed to 20 percent in recent years.
  • Employers say they can’t fill open positions with the skilled workers they need, leaving more than 5.4 million unfilled job nationwide.

Our goals 

  • Build two exploratory projects with city governments to better understand both youth employment and the workforce system as a whole.
  • Partner with the Department of Labor to support 350 Workforce Development professionals from 120 teams around the country and implement new WIOA provisions.

The problem 

Everyday hard working Americans strive to earn enough to support their families, but struggle to find good jobs and stay employed. More than 20 million Americans engage with the publicly funded workforce system each year to find education, training, resources, and jobs that they need to move out of poverty and toward economic self sufficiency.

The current system isn’t designed to meet their needs. It’s extremely complex and difficult to navigate. Recent legislative reform is mandating that the system changes to be more customer focused and data driven. For the first time in 15 years, the workforce system’s structure and delivery is being redesigned, creating a unique opportunity to help the people who need it most.

Our approach 

We know that the workforce system can do better at leveraging the services people need to move through the system quickly and efficiently. Currently, we’re conducting extensive research with federal partners, local Workforce Investment Boards, training providers, employers, and other stakeholders to identify where technology interventions can strengthen the workforce system and improve outcomes.

Code for America has identified three key challenges where we’re exploring possible tech interventions that will work across all three challenges, or we will identify an area for greatest impact where we will invest our efforts.

Connecting job seekers to the workforce system, in partnership with the City of New Orleans. Job seekers walk into a job center operated or funded by the public workforce system and expect to walk out that day with a job. To help job seekers navigate the system’s complexities, we’re building a toolthat will help set clear expectations and matches them to the right information the first time.
Increasing access to summer jobs for thousands of local youth, in partnership with the City of Boston, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), Living Cities, and others. Our goal for this partnership is to connect young people with better jobs through a mobile-friendly portal, and save staff thousands of hours per year trying to match people manually. Read more here.
Matching job seekers’ skills to employer needs and available opportunities, in partnership with the City of New Orleans and the Markle Foundation. Posting Pro helps employers improve a job description by focusing on skills required for a job and to eliminate implicit bias in the wording, ultimately finding better-matched candidates.

Helping businesses start up in less time 

Entrepreneurs' time is best spent developing innovative products and services, creating jobs, and growing the local economy, not navigating bureaucratic red tape. We're reducing regulatory requirements to a few clear steps so entrepreneurs can plan, start, and grow their business.

Key facts 

  • Nearly 100 cities across the U.S are working to reduce regulatory requirements so businesses can start up more quickly as part of the Startup in a Day Initiative.
  • Small businesses employ more than 23 million workers nationwide and create two thirds of all new jobs.

Our goals 

  • Invite officials from 100 cities to join a community of practice that helps participants redesign digital business services.
  • Help entrepreneurs in 5 regions quickly identify and access the resources available to them to help start or grow their business. This will increase the ease of doing business in a municipality by streamlining the small business user experience in government services.
  • Improve the experience of entrepreneurs looking to start a business in 5 regions by centralizing information entrepreneurs need to plan and start their business in one easy-to-use online service that can be accessed 24/7.

The problem 

Starting a business is hard. In many cities, getting started meant applying for permits, understanding zoning regulations, and navigating city code. Entrepreneurs have to meet with many departments. Each may have their own forms, fees, and procedures. Some people hire consultants. Others just give up.

Cities who want to spur local economic development have realized that putting the user experience of entrepreneurs first when building digital business services is the best way to accomplish their goals. We're bringing entrepreneurs and government officials together to design a better system that works for everyone.

Our approach 

Code for America has identified two key challenges where we’re exploring possible tech interventions that will create the most effective impact.

  • Creating an environment that supports better digital business services, in partnership with officials from 100 cities and the U.S. Small Business Administration. We're cultivating a network of cities dedicated to deploying better digital tools to help entrepreneurs start a business and grow the local economy. Join the Startup in a Day initiative
  • Making it easier for entrepreneurs to start, manage, and grow a business, in partnership with the City of Long Beach. We're building a web application so entrepreneurs can successfully navigate the startup process and grow their business. Visit BizPort, and redeploy the code with GitHub