The EdTech Center @ World Education is currently field testing Nepris, an online career exploration platform that connects educators with employers and industry experts to bring more relevance to the classroom and inspire learners towards real-world careers. Field test pilots in Louisiana and Texas are exploring how Nepris, a tool that has been primarily used in K-12 classrooms, can positively impact adult learning and career development in community college and workforce development environments.
The pilots are in partnership with the Employment Technology Fund, a social impact investment fund that targets innovative tech-based solutions that train, upskill, or improve access to lower-income adults struggling to find meaningful employment, including women, minorities, and immigrants. This field testing is made possible through the Technology Testing for Adult Learning & Employment program, funded by Walmart.
“Millions of adults struggle to succeed in our nation’s labor market. The Employment Technology Fund (ETF) invests in companies that use technology to remove barriers holding these workers back from growing their talent, connecting to meaningful work, and thriving in the economy,” said Yigal Kerszenbaum, ETF’s director. “Nepris’ increased focus on adult learners could not come at a better time, as working adults and job seekers are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with the ever-evolving job types and skill requirements of the current and future labor market.”
How Nepris Works
Nepris is an online skills-based volunteering platform that allows employers to engage directly with job seekers and learners through live, virtual interactions, providing real-time industry connections and career exploration.
Nepris for Adult Learners
Workforce boards and adult education organizations can use Nepris to offer job seekers, dislocated workers, unemployed youth, and learners of all ages the live opportunities to connect with employers for virtual workplace experiences, mentorship, apprenticeships, resume preparation, mock interviews, and other career-focused concepts.
With customized virtual events and activities for each region based on their local industry needs and focus, learners obtain invaluable knowledge about jobs that are available now, as well as those that will be booming in the future. The virtual platform connects learners with employees who can answer candid questions about industry skills requirements, the job market, and job satisfaction. Every live industry session is recorded and added to a growing video library of authentic industry content. This library of over 6000+ videos is now tied to Department of Labor O’NET data and provides career self-exploration opportunities for all learners and job seekers.
Through Nepris, employers are able to share their expertise, job skills, and needs with a future potential workforce—thousands of learners who want to know about their careers, opportunities, and how to succeed. Additionally, the wide reach of Nepris across geographical and industry lines allows employers to expose their industry and careers to a larger pool of learners to attract a future workforce. This is especially beneficial for learners in more remote locations who lack access to traditional business education partnership programs.
Field Testing Nepris in the Community College Environment
Louisiana’s Northshore Technical Community College began field testing Nepris in September with educators and students in the Drafting and Design Technology (D&DT) programs. Specifically, the testing is providing Nepris invaluable data to improve their tool for use in the technical community college environment, including optimizing a learner-facing platform and better understanding how to best engage and utilize faculty and staff with the tool.
“We are proud to partner with Nepris for a pilot program that offers our Drafting and Design Technology students an opportunity to learn from industry experts. Having access to learn from a wealth of professionals in the field of drafting is an enormous advantage for our students,” said Jim Carlson, Vice Chancellor of Strategic Initiatives at Northshore Technical Community College.
Field Testing the Benefits of Nepris for Workforce Development
Nepris also understands that the most successful regional workforce development models require collaboration among various stakeholders, including community colleges, workforce boards, economic development agencies, community-based nonprofits, and hiring employers.
Nepris is being used nationally by C2Global, a contractor that supports workforce development boards. Through a field test of one of their Texas-based clients, Alamo Workforce Solutions, Nepris will uncover additional ways to better support workforce development boards in using the tool to better engage all stakeholders—including regional employers—in the development of adult learners.
Positive Impact Seen Already
With over 5,000 companies across the world represented and over 265,000 learners of all ages impacted, Nepris is demonstrating its potential as a far-reaching and impactful solution. As more companies get involved, regional communities, educators and learners are becoming more connected and aware of in-demand jobs and the skills required to obtain them.
Thank you to Walmart:
World Education’s Technology Testing for Adult Learning & Employment initiative was supported by grants from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. The opinions and ideas expressed in this report are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Walmart and Walmart Foundation.