The National Science Foundation (NSF), a U.S. government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering is seeking to build an app that helps federal employees to grow their skills and navigate the job market in the digital era. The Career Compass Challenge that NSF launched last week intends to build a tool, which offers custom career advice based on people’s current skills and interests.
The app could recommend potential new jobs and create a roadmap for how people can accomplish them through training courses, degree programs, and other professional development opportunities. The NSF Chief Information Officer Dorothy Aronson stated that unlike standard career assessments, the tech would help people prepare for jobs that don’t yet exist. She said that emerging technologies can significant chance on the types of workers and skills the government needs in the years ahead, but it’s hard to know how exactly those changes play out. She also sees the competition as a way to get agencies considering how to approach that future. Aronson noted that the tool would likely use Artificial Intelligence to both forecasts how the job market will change in the years ahead and match individuals to those future jobs based on their skills, personality tests or other data. The program will also support opportunities for constant re-skilling to help people adapt to the continuously changing tech landscape.
Aronson further said that while apps developed through the competition will particularly focus on how NSF workers can figure out their futures, and eventually they could be adapted for government and private sector workforce more broadly. The is categorized into two parts, teams in the first round will propose ideas to improve workforce re-skilling programs and increase job mobility within government and contestants in the second round will prototype an app where employees could use to chart their career paths. For participating in the first part of the challenge, the proposals are required to submit by Dec. 31, after that NSF will declare five winners on Feb. 22, 2019. And Proposals for the second round are due June 28, 2019, and a single winner will be announced by Aug. 16.