Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Revolutionizing Career Development: AI-Powered Personalization with Coach


Revolutionizing Career Development: AI-Powered Personalization with Coach
All children should have the chance to thrive. However, their growth and educational journey can be significantly influenced by socioeconomic conditions. Data from the American Community Survey indicates that approximately 17% (over 10 million) of U.S. children under 18 are living in poverty and are deemed at-risk.

A study by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth reveals that children from economically disadvantaged families often begin school with limited language abilities, receive less homework assistance from parents, and face more emotional and social issues that hinder learning. CareerVillage.org is striving to alter this systemic imbalance by providing underrepresented youth with democratized access to career guidance. This is achieved partly by crowdsourcing career-related questions from students, which can be accessed by any online learner, anytime, anywhere.

With a reach of over 7 million people and the mobilization of more than 150,000 volunteers from 190 countries globally, CareerVillage.org aims to be a universally trusted resource for career advice that young people can rely on. It seeks to be a platform where they can find the motivation to overcome challenges. Leveraging recent advancements in AI technology, they are broadening their accessibility with Coach, an AI-driven career preparation platform that customizes advice based on a student’s objectives, learning from each interaction.

Jared Chung, the Founder and Executive Director of CareerVillage.org, and Rebecca Gitomer, the Senior Manager of Special Projects, discuss the non-profit’s technological evolution and how its collaboration with Cisco has resulted in vital, high-impact, replicable, and scalable partnerships in the education sector.

Cisco’s strategy of investing in non-profits to amplify their impact through replication and scale has significantly influenced CareerVillage.org’s approach. For them, scalability is of utmost importance and always a priority. Career development is a global challenge affecting young people, and there is a notable lack of investment and support, particularly in underserved communities.

Cisco has been in sync with our scalability mission since the inception of our partnership in 2017. What started as volunteer opportunities for Cisco employees has transformed into essential funding from Cisco, enabling us to establish high-impact partnerships that have facilitated our expansion across classrooms in the U.S.

In 2020, we initiated our inaugural district collaboration with the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), a venture that was backed by the Cisco Foundation. This partnership continues to this day, with educators and students across SFUSD schools consistently utilizing CareerVillage.org in their classrooms.

The support from Cisco enabled us to kickstart our K12 district collaborations, leading to valuable insights that have been instrumental in replicating similar partnerships nationwide. Our hands-on work with educators and students in classrooms and the knowledge gained from these experiences have resulted in a significant increase in the number of educators using CareerVillage.org and assisting them in meeting their district’s needs. Since 2020, our reach among educators has seen a twofold increase.

What are some key areas where Cisco is aiding in your technology transformation?
Our technology, partnerships, and core team have undergone numerous enhancements and upgrades, a transformation that wouldn’t have been possible without Cisco’s unwavering support for our mission. We view Cisco as a uniquely compatible partner in this endeavor for several reasons: • We prioritize scalable, technology-driven solutions that benefit underserved communities. • We share ambitious worldwide social impact objectives. • We harbor visions to revolutionize K12 education. We also believe that the movement we’ve initiated is setting the groundwork for a transformative nationwide college access and career readiness program, and the Cisco Foundation has been instrumental in this effort.

Recently, Cisco’s funding has been directed towards supporting our latest innovative technology, the AI Career Coach. We’re profoundly grateful for supporters like Cisco, who were early believers in our work with cutting-edge technology. Thousands of Cisco employees have provided advice to students through our platforms, impacting millions of learners globally.

What is Coach, who is it aimed at, and how does it differentiate itself for its users?
CareerVillage.org, which has reached over 7 million people in the past decade, sees this as a logical progression. For years, we’ve been mobilizing vast online communities to provide career advice, and now, we have the opportunity to leverage AI to scale up even further.

Our AI-driven career preparation platform ‘Coach’ assists individuals in practicing for mock interviews, enhancing their resumes, exploring new career paths, and much more. In essence, Coach provides everything one needs to prepare for a career and secure a rewarding job. Coach is knowledgeable, supportive, and dependable, embodying the qualities of an ideal career coach.

Currently undergoing beta testing and continuous evolution, Coach is designed for everyone – from middle school students to career changers. We’re ensuring that we’re incorporating a diversity of perspectives in user profiles to test Coach now to enhance its quality, eliminate bias, and more. Some recent feedback from our beta testers includes:

“I will be using this platform in the future as I near college applications and need to submit essays and resumes. Not only was I challenging the AI, the AI was challenging me.” (Student Beta Tester)

“Out of the activities that I completed, my favorites were the career exploration activity and the mock interview. The responses were beyond incredible!” (Student Beta Tester)

“I would absolutely love to use it with my students. I would recommend it to my colleagues and friends as well!” (Educator Beta Tester)

“Everything is extremely tailored” (Educator Beta Tester)

“It helped me identify my passions, matched me with suitable careers, provides step by step plans to achieve my goals.” (Student Beta Tester)

“This activity definitely helped strengthen my skills and communication abilities!” (Student Beta Tester)

Offered free of charge at the individual level, Coach is poised to revolutionize career support, an area that is currently systemically underfunded. Our unique selling point is the network of partners we have rallied behind Coach. These partners assist in testing, co-designing, and integrating resources into the Coach database, all while ensuring that responsible AI remains a top priority in development.

What are the primary advantages of integrating AI into career development?
Career guidance can significantly alter a person’s life trajectory. Until now, we’ve been unable to provide every underserved individual with access to a top-tier personal career coach. Our model is centered around making resources more accessible, personalized, and responsive. AI presents a tremendous opportunity for personalization, which is crucial because career development is a highly individualized experience.

AI enables us to achieve this personalization at scale. From the very first day of beta testing, we received feedback that the personalization aspect was truly standing out. AI also allows us to break down silos by facilitating the aggregation of sector resources, enhancing scalability, providing 24/7 accessibility, and improving cost-effectiveness.