What do computer engineers do for a living? If I love to travel, what would be a good career for me? Which colleges in New York have the best business programs? High school students pondering their career options have asked these questions and many more at CareerVillage, a website that connects them with real professionals working in diverse fields around the world.
In this video, CareerVillage founder Jared Chung explains how the website empowers young people from low-income communities to obtain gainful employment by closing the gap on career and job advice. At CareerVillage, students who might not have successful role models in their lives can ask questions and get answers from professionals working in fields of interest.
Students can ask questions via phone, computer or mobile device — from school or from home. Professionals who sign up to support the youth career development program get email digests with questions that students have asked about their particular fields, and can answer when their schedules permit.
CareerVillage also offers free professional development for educators, providing tools that help students discover and learn about career possibilities. The site partners with high schools and after-school programs that want to add professional development to their offerings.
"We make it really easy for working professionals to provide career advice to young people from low-income communities," says Chung. "What we're trying to do is build a platform that really guides these students through all the actions they need to take. It's a booster to the guidance counselor in school who's overloaded and has trouble really helping every student in school on a personal basis."
"Young people from low-income communities have much lower access to professionals. They want to be doctors and lawyers and crime scene investigators, and it's very hard for them to talk to people who have these jobs. So that's why that's a population we really focus on."
CareerVillage is one of 10 finalists in the Points of Light and Village Capital Civic Accelerator program, which provides funding, mentorship, entrepreneurial eduction, peer support and brand awareness to promising civic ventures. Two startups will be selected by their peers to receive an additional $50,000 investment.