With a constantly evolving career landscape, it is increasingly challenging for students to identify, assess, and act upon their options as they plan for careers and college. While the current career guidance and counseling infrastructure plays a critical role in assisting students with college and career selection decisions, nationwide, one in five high schools lacks a school counselor. Furthermore, the American Counseling Association reports that in 2013, the national average student-to-school-counselor ratio for K-12 counselors was 482:1 with peaks of 880:1 in Arizona and 826:1 in California. As a result, students receive only minutes of in-person time with their counselor annually, as they prepare to make important postsecondary education and career decisions.
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) Reach Higher Career App Challenge calls upon mobile app developers, educators, and data mavens to submit mobile solutions to improve access to information about career and technical education (CTE), help students, including students with disabilities and English Learners, navigate education and career pathways, and increase the capacity of career counselors to assist students in making decisions about their education and career options. The Challenge seeks mobile app solutions focused on middle and high school students that include integrated tools to assess user skills and interests, and offer users accessible information on occupations, education options, credentials, and career-seeking skills through an individualized user experience. Submissions should include a plan for full development and integration of local educational and employment data — so that any student, anywhere, can reach higher.