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“Most investors and incubators will tell you when they look for a great company, they look for a great entrepreneur: passionate, smart, driven, thoughtful, and a great vision,” says Heather Terenzio, director of partnerships and entrepreneurial initiatives at Jobs for the Future (JFF). And the seven entrepreneurs at the heart of our newest impact accelerator cohort, focused on career navigation platforms, are just that.
The economic crisis of 2020 revealed that workers need to follow career paths more defined by variety and near-constant change than consistency. Founders on the leading edge of career navigation understand that many, many pathways to opportunity exist beyond the straight line from college enrollment to a four-year degree.
From creating platforms that support self-directed learning, to facilitating the transition from community college to a four-year institution, to raising awareness about new career pathways in creative fields and esports, to novel approaches to training in health care and diversity, equity, and inclusion, to expanding access to postsecondary opportunities for formerly incarcerated people, JFF’s Career Navigation accelerator, generously supported by the Cognizant Foundation, looks at the challenges and opportunities of career navigation from all angles. As Heather puts it, “Matching the person with the pathway will be the challenge of the future.”
Read on for a deeper look at each of these remarkable innovators and the companies they’re leading.
JFFLabs works with entrepreneurs and early-stage companies to incubate and accelerate new mission-aligned solutions. We are also excited to announce the theme for our next cohort which will begin in October 2022.
This cohort of five companies will be selected based on the theme Innovative Pathways to Technology Careers. New technologies are constantly on the horizon, including emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, blockchain, augmented and virtual reality, and the metaverse. Digitalization will be a source and driver of transformational change across all industries. This cohort will focus on innovations and companies that use emerging technology to help individuals either learn or earn.
Participants of this next cohort are rethinking the ways that people enter technology careers. It could be innovative training programs, supportive programs that help racially and ethnically diverse populations enter technology careers, or even unique ways to connect people with companies looking to hire. This cohort is for entrepreneurs who have a unique perspective on what it takes to make technology careers more diverse and inclusive.
New JFFLabs Cohort Opportunity
"Innovative Pathways to Technology Careers"