The After-School Corporation (TASC) is an organization whose mission is to improve the quality of and access to after-school programs in New York City through policy analysis and professional development. TASC's Pathfinder is an online hub for after-school professionals of all levels, from front-line staff up to executive directors. This site includes a training database, job listings, resume and cover letter creation tools and a learning plan wizard. The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development and the Wallace Foundation funded the Pathfinder project through grants. Only two days after the site's soft launch, TASC received additional funding through grants for outreach and further work on the Pathfinder website. This project was a great example of the results when you do a lot of research up front and phase out the work successfully. We are continuing to work with TASC as an ongoing partner, providing maintenance, support and hosting.
Advomatic's User Experience Lead, Julie Blitzer, completed a robust user research phase for this project that included focus groups, user personas and audience analysis. Through this research, we discovered that there was no hub for the after-school professional community online. Employers were posting jobs on craigslist, and the job applicants were not experienced or interested in education. There was no comprehensive listing of trainings. The only way to receive these updates was by joining each provider's mailing list. Job seekers and entry-level after-school professionals only received networking and guidance from their supervisors at work and had nowhere else to go for career building and guidance within the after-school community. We designed the TASC Pathfinder site to fill this wide open niche.
Prior to the beginning of the Pathfinder project, TASC had maintained a simple job listing site at http://jobbank.tascorp.org. The site was outdated, in Drupal 5, and included custom modules for the resume and cover letter tools, but the site was unstable and these modules were hundreds or thousands of lines of code.
TASC Pathfinder provides tools for its three distinct audiences: Employers, Training Providers & After-School Professionals. Training Providers can list all of their upcoming trainings and Professionals can review each Training Provider. TASC's Pathfinder includes a "Create My Learning Plan" functionality that asks a professional about their interests and career goals and outputs recommended trainings to reach this new career level. After-School Professionals who are job seekers can search for jobs and then use the resume and cover letter tools to help with the job application process.
Apache SOLR powers the faceted search of job listings and trainings. Special user roles for Trainers, Employers and Job Seekers give customized views of site information. TASC Staff can give after-school experts accounts to blog on their site about their experiences and career advice.
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