NSF News

Career Compass Challenge winner announced

The National Science Foundation is helping to modernize the American workforce. And it all started with a challenge: The Career Compass Challenge.

Today, the agency announced the Challenge winner, Amy Huber, who developed a working prototype for an IT platform to help the American workforce not only identify new roles in today's rapidly changing workforce, but also ways to locate the training to make such a pivot. Huber is the science and operations lead at Jobzology and earned $75,000 as the Career Compass Challenge winner.

"This has been an ambitious challenge," said Dorothy Aronson, NSF's Chief Information Officer and Chief Data Officer. "The resulting prototype is impressive, and we did what we set out to achieve. We started a conversation about creating tools that enable people to create their own destinies.

"A large part of this is the concept that individuals should be able to choose their own future paths and that in the future, the type of work people do will change frequently throughout their lives. I think these tools are just the beginning of helping people adapt to this transformation in how we think about jobs and careers."

The Career Compass Challenge judges, representing multiple federal government agencies, selected Huber because her functional prototype best addressed the changing nature of work. Her prototype, PathwayU, enables individuals to both identify optimal career paths and focus their reskilling efforts. Specifically, the platform: 

  • Measures interests, values, personality, and workplace preferences with scientific assessments
  • Uses an algorithmic approach to recommend careers
  • Provides up-to-date information about required knowledge and skills for matched jobs
  • Guides users to relevant learning opportunities, and 
  • Identifies well-fitting job opportunities available both within and outside of the federal government.

An "Honorable Mention" was also made to Levi Perkins, founder and chief technology officer of his company, SteppingBlocks, which shares the name of his prototype. The prototype harnesses over 60 million career paths to provide users with real-world statistics on ways to expand their career horizons.  

NSF's Career Compass Challenge launched in November 2018 as part of an effort to modernize the American workforce, a key part of the President's Management Agenda. This Challenge addressed not only the changing nature of work but also the pace of change to the types of work needed to carry out essential missions for American people and create the Workforce for the 21st Century.

The first part of the competition focused on collecting white paper concepts of possible solutions, and the second part encouraged submitters to leverage and build upon winning concepts to develop a working prototype.