The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2012, March 24-25

Career Solutions Inc.

Paired with Ruby.MN

Career Solutions is a community-based, non-profit organization that provides career transition services including career counseling, vocational testing and assessment, and work/life skill building classes and seminars to middle and low-income clients (200% of poverty guidelines) through our Displaced Homemaker, Dislocated Worker and Military Family Re-adjustment services.

We provide these services at no cost thanks to grants and vendor partnerships with the Department of Economic Development.

We also provide these services to members of the public at large at below-market cost.

Our goal is to reach as many people in need as possible and assist them with the challenge of making an often unexpected or unwanted work/life/career transition.

We have a professional staff of four Master's-level counselors.

We provide services in the communities we serve using facilities at churches, domestic abuse shelters etc as well as our main office.

What new functionality we are looking for

Ease of navigation, simplicity and visually-aesthetically appealing.

Many of our clients are technologically challenged (or phobic) and will not proceed to ask for help or assistance if they perceive even minimal barriers.

We would also like to be able to put more client stories (with pictures) up on the website.

As you can see, it's a pretty spartan affair right now.

Anything that makes it more user friendly and dynamic would be awesome.

Something like an interactive calender of upcoming classes/seminars etc would be beyond out wildest dreams.

(The user friendly goes for Career Solutions' staff who update/change it as well).

How the new functionality will help

We try to stress the importance of a killer resume to our clients, and a good website is an organization's resume, put forth to the community.

And as with a great resume, clarity creates results.

So very many of our clients tell us how alone and isolated they have felt before connecting with our services. Putting client stories & photos on the website will help "normalize" their situation and makes it more likely they will seek help.

(Clients often tell us that we were there to give them hope when that commodity was in very short supply...)

Finally, the more appealing the site, the more professional the look, the better it will perform for leveraging referrals from allied professions such as health care workers, public health nurses, community-based crisis or transition centers, mental health providers, clergy members and the public at-large thereby enabling us to reach a wider audience of potential service users.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

Before & After Snapshots

Thumbnail_careersolutionsbefore Thumbnail_careersolutionsafter

16 Messages from Supporters

2012-02-29 16:40:53 UTC
Jon Olson

If ever one were to conjure a group whose situation was deserving of a helping hand, it would be the clientele of Career Solutions. The organization operates on a shoestring and makes every ounce of resource count. It is a model of making do in tough times.

2012-02-21 23:26:29 UTC
Doug Stone

Career Solutions does great work for an underserved segment of the population. They are extremely client friendly and great advocates for the people they serve. It's a solid organization.

2012-02-21 23:32:55 UTC
Dan Freking

Always, but particularly now, common sense, focused, useable advise and resources are vital to personal recovery and finacial stability in this uniquely vulnerable population. If ever there was a vital, direct, applicable and cost-effective service.........this is it!

2012-02-22 14:05:53 UTC
Sarah Sederstrom

Career Solutions help those with the most need 'learn how to fish', giving them tools and assistance needed to in extreme career transition (many clients being out of the workforce for a period of time).

Dan and his staff are dedicated to support their clients and help their clients 'help themselves'.

2012-02-23 19:34:29 UTC
Sheldon Azine

Career Solutions is a small non-profit with an extremely professional staff dedicated to helping clients achieve their full potential through career counseling and vocational testing. Any technological assistance the organization receives will greatly enhance its outreach efforts and facilitate its mission of "providing hope and help to people in career transition."

2012-02-23 20:52:04 UTC
Britt Weber

Career Solutions provides an important safety net for people coping with very difficult circumstances. The counselors on staff are first rate and go above and beyond to help people gain skills to re-enter the workforce. Improving the website will go a long way toward reaching more people who could benefit from the services provided by Career Solutions.

2012-02-23 23:36:23 UTC
Rick Bonlender

As someone who has endured an unexpected and unwanted work/career transition, I know firsthand the importance of CSI. Having an updated website will help potential clients find the support they need.

2012-02-24 02:51:51 UTC
Marit Brock

Career Solutions provides clients with support to get their feet back under them after they have experienced tremendous loss. It is impressive to see the staff work with individuals to regain confidence and get on the path to self sufficiency. The staff work tirelessly to connect with future clients whereever they might be, often driving all over the metro area to hold information sessions and classes. With an improved website they could reach so many more people than they are able to reach now.

2012-02-24 13:21:03 UTC
Deborah Otten

Career Solutions assists people in life transition. This talented, caring staff guides their clients down the path to self sufficiency and self reliance. This is not a "cookie cutter" agency. They do what needs to be done for their clients well being. An updated website is critical in this day and age. It would allow Career Solutions to reach more clients, allowing them to do more of what they do best.

2012-02-24 18:04:11 UTC
Kimberly Berger

Career Solutions really is one of the best solutions to help people get back on their feet, find a way to enhance themselves and find ways to in the end help themselves. Without the very gifted and patient staff Career Solutions would not exist, and many people would not have found a way out of some of their darkest days to become a contributing citizen and self fulfilled person thru finding a job/career that suits them and fulfills them. An enhanced website would help us find those people that need the help, to better able to reach those in need, but also to help the community understand what it is this great organziation does and how it helps the community to have this organization around.

2012-02-27 20:26:12 UTC
Cathy V.

Career Solutions has proven to be a valuable resource for me while going through a divorce and needing to find a new path after 12 years as a stay-at-home mom. Not only did my counselor provide suggestions and assistance in updating my resume, she also provided support and resources for considering financial, educational and employment options. The one-on-one time with my counselor was thoughtful and caring. Just what one needs during such an uncertain and stressful time. I found Career Solutions after stumbling upon their small ad in a women's publication. An enhanced website would give Career Solutions broader exposure to those who are seeking support during life's difficult times.

2012-02-28 15:25:00 UTC
Debra F

As a client I can't tell you how much this has meant to me. To be able to have someone guide you through at the time, a very daunting process has been invaluable

2012-02-29 01:24:15 UTC
Kate J.

Career Solutions has been a beacon of light as I navigate through a painful divorce. Andrea has been a steady companion/counselor and has been keeping me afloat throughout the entire process. Meetings focus on many aspects including: career assessments, goal settinng, resume writing, interview skills, counseling and coping skills. I am truly grateful for all of the compassion and support that this program has given me. I don't know where I would be without them!

2012-02-29 08:09:39 UTC
Jeannie S

I owe so many thanks to Career Solutions. I called at a very low point in my life. Kay was there to listen and tell me, "I'll see what I can do". I felt so grateful that she listened without judgment and stayed positive when I didn't feel that way at all. Well, she did a lot. I took career assessment tests, and she helped me review the results. We collaborated together on what my strengths were, and where I should start heading next. Kay assisted me in re-writing my resume and it was actually fun as we did that together. Most importantly, I feel hope and hopeful about the skills and abilities I have and realize they have been there, I just forgot all about them. I love the fact that I know I can call or email Kay and she is there and available to support me and encourage me as I am going forward in pursuing work in an area that will hopefully provide me soon with gainful employment. Thank you Career Solutions!

2012-02-29 18:20:56 UTC

I wish more people knew about the quality work done by the staff at Career Solutions. There are so many women who do not know who to turn to when faced with re-entering a work force after a layoff or years spent tending to children. Career Solutions builds skills and confidence to ease that stress and lays out a workable plan to achieve success. More women need to know about this group. Perhaps increased internet traffic will do that.... I hope so.

2012-02-29 23:35:21 UTC
Jim House

I would echo the comments made above. This organization makes a large impact on the community with the small amount of capital available to them. Technology assistance would be very helpful, and possibly provide them with the ability to serve more people.

Our Mission

We provide hope and help to people in career transition due to a variety challenging life circumstances. The vast majority of our clients are Displaced Homemakers. They are usually women with families who were Stay-At-Home Moms and because of a radical change in life circumstances (death of spouse/partner - family violence/domestic abuse - spousal abandonment, etc) they are being forced to either enter the workforce for the first time or to re-enter after being out of the competitive labor market for many years (often 10 to 20 years.) Spouses of and/or partners of individuals presently on active military duty or who are deployed to duty overseas are eligible for services through the Displaced Homemaker Program. Veteran's themselves are eligible for services if they are experiencing a work/life transition and are presently dependent on their spouse/partner for economic support.