2024 Launch Pad Award

A platform for workforce development programs and community colleges to better support job seekers with plenty of valuable experience – but no bachelors degree

Joe Janey is the winner of the 2024 CASE Launch Pad prize, which awards $10,0000 and mentorship to a current Fuqua MBA students with an impact enterprise idea. Joe will use Launch Pad funds to work on his venture, Sync60, a tool for workforce development programs and community college counselors to support clients in communicating how their experience, credentials, and skills are aligned with in-demand careers.

The Problem

The U.S. has a workforce skills gap problem. By 2030, the skills gap is estimated to cost over $1.5 trillion in lost revenue, or 6% of GDP, due to unfilled roles, underemployment, mismatched skills, and lack of worker mobility. However, the real issue isn’t a skills gap; it’s a lack of skills recognition.

We tend to use the likes of academic prestige as a proxy for intelligence and employment readiness. Yet, over 70 million U.S. workers, or 60%+ of the workforce, are educated without a bachelor’s degree. Prioritizing formal credentials over workers’ skills inevitably creates barriers to employment and inhibits economic mobility. Moreover, the impact permeates across government and industry to the extent that it jeopardizes a significant share of GDP.

One of the main responsibilities of workforce development boards (WDBs) and community colleges is to tackle this issue as the group of job seekers who do not have a bachelor’s degree depend on their services to guide them through the challenges of the labor market. In this case, career counselors face a difficult problem: how do they support their job seekers in articulating how their diverse, often disjointed, experiences translate to the skills aligned with in-demand careers?

The Solution

Sync60’s Learning and Employment Record (LER) platform empowers workforce development organizations and community colleges to better support their job seekers. Sync60’s platform leverages advanced labor market data and skills taxonomies to identify and articulate job seekers’ unique skills. This enables career counselors to efficiently align job seekers with suitable careers, educational programs, and job opportunities, enhancing the journey from learning to earning for everyone involved.

How it Works

  • Job Seeker Onboarding: The job seeker uploads their resume, credentials, employment history, academic records, and any other accessible educational/employment information. These “inputs” are then transferred into a digital wallet that is controlled by the job seeker.
  • Skills Profile Generation: The platform parses the job seeker’s records to derive relevant skills and experiences. Next, we’re leveraging advanced labor market data and skills taxonomies to generate the job seeker’s initial “skills profile.”
  • Skills Analysis and Mapping: After mapping skills to industry standards, the job seeker can see how their skills profile compares to those typically sought after in any given career occupation to identify gaps and opportunities for development.
  • Personalized Recommendations: Based on the analysis, job seekers—either on their own or with the direct support of a career counselor—can view personalized recommendations for job opportunities, upskilling, or educational programs.

We believe everyone has skills and everyone has a story to tell. However, most are not natural storytellers. This dynamic, coupled with the non-linear and diverse career paths many have followed, makes it harder for job seekers to effectively convey how their experiences make them qualified and capable employees in “traditional” roles. Accordingly, Sync60 aims to empower career counselors in helping their job seekers to become better storytellers.