Meet the Finalists

Today, the First Lady’s Reach Higher Initiative and the U.S. Department of Education announced five finalists in the Reach Higher Career App Challenge. The Challenge launched last October, calling for new mobile technologies to help students navigate education and career pathways, including career and technical education (CTE).

Each finalist will receive $25,000 and proceed to the Virtual Accelerator phase of the competition to refine their concepts with support from subject matter experts in design, business modeling, civic tech, and career counseling.

“We are incredibly impressed with the caliber and creativity of solutions submitted to the challenge,” said Johan Uvin, acting assistant secretary for the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education. “These five solutions hold tremendous promise for engaging our students in planning their pathway to future success.”

Congratulations to the finalists:

Future Plans®, Pinellas Education Foundation

A career discovery app that assesses student aptitudes and interests to map educational pathways with in-demand career choices. Future Plans® guides students through a decision matrix to evaluate career alternatives and offers career preparation tools such as resume building, job interview tips, and job-hunting videos.

Hats & Ladders, ThinkZone Games

A game-based app that supports middle and high school career exploration with swipe-to-choose self-assessments, connected activities, and mini-challenges. Hats & Ladders provides repeat exposure to a broad spectrum of careers and enables students to draw connections between their personal attributes and multiple pathways to career success.

INFORM® Journeys,, Inc

Interactive learning map app created to help students explore life’s possibilities as they navigate through K-12, CTE, college/university, military service, and/or vocational training. Journeys provides students the ability to create personalized roadmaps to explore career opportunities and access curated resources, in addition to offering career interest surveys, self-assessments, and progress reporting.


School and career coach app that brings together assessments, capability mapping, and achievement validation, along with personalized career and education opportunities into a comprehensive map of the labor market. MARi is an intelligently connected network that continuously tracks student progress to create a visual gap analysis and alert students of local opportunities.

Overgrad, Overgrad, Inc.

A web platform that leverages community resources, technology, and data to support long-term student outcomes. Overgrad combines academic performance information with results from a career interest survey based on O*NET data to help students select pathways and track their progress toward aspired outcomes.

The finalists were recommended by a panel of judges with expertise in career counseling, workforce development, CTE, educational technology, and business scaling. Judges were recused from scoring and discussing any submissions with which they had a conflict of interest.

We look forward to seeing how the finalists evolve their solutions as they prepare for Demo Day, and compete for the remaining $100,000 and additional sponsor prizes. Stay tuned for the winner announcement this summer.