Colorado Homebuilding Academy
UX design, service design, user research
Self led project as in-house designer
About 2 months in fall 2018
Colorado Homebuilding Academy’s mission is to help people build successful careers in construction and, in effect, strengthen a labor-strapped industry. To fulfill its mission, the Academy must track the number of graduates who get jobs after training. Unfortunately, the organization only had current employment data for 7% of the previous year’s graduates.
HOW I EXPLORED THE PROBLEM SPACE:
I surveyed 30 students to learn how they feel about sharing their data.
I led a journey mapping meeting with the staff to learn how they’re communicating with students.
Past data analysis
I looked at past data to see if I could find any trends.
The Google form that the Academy used to collect employment data asked unnecessary and inapplicable questions. Because of this, the form took longer than necessary to complete.
Employment data dropped drastically when the Academy stopped offering $300 cash incentives for proof of employment. Students had no incentives to share their data.
EMPLOYMENT DATA FROM MONTH AFTER TRAINING:
In our journey mapping meeting, I learned that turnover and growing pains prevented the Academy staff from asking for employment data—or triggering—in a way that’s effective and convenient for students. There was no standard procedure for distributing the employment form.
Based on my findings, the Academy needed solutions for their usability, motivation, and trigger issues. To solve this data problem holistically, I designed solutions for each of these areas.
The Academy’s existing method for collecting employment data was a 19-question Google Form. I improved the employment form by:
removing questions that weren’t necessary for measuring outcomes
rewriting questions using a clear, conversational tone
using survey logic to hide inapplicable questions
building the form in the client’s CRM tool to reduce data entry time and to integrate the form into the Academy’s website
OLD QUESTION FLOW
NEW QUESTION FLOW
I proposed an incentive plan that is:
affordable for the organization
appealing to funders because Home Depot giftcards can be used to purchase tools for the students’ careers,
easier for the Academy team to distribute because the e-giftcards are sent through email, and
more robust for outcome measurement because the plan tracks job retainment by incentivizing students throughout the year after graduation.
The understaffed Academy team was having trouble distributing the employment forms in a timely and effective manner. I designed a service blueprint which includes all tasks each team member needs to complete throughout the entire student journey. This tool trains new employees and helps the team streamline tasks so students receive triggers when it’s time to collect employment data.
In the quarter after this redesign, the Academy was able to measure the outcomes of their services more accurately and report their success to funders with more confidence.
Current employment data
With this better data, the Academy is now able to help students not just get a job, but keep a job. Students have five opportunities—instead of just one—to share their employment status with the Academy. For graduates who struggle retaining jobs, the organization connects them with services like transportation, housing, and childcare.
The best part of working for a nonprofit is that the bottom line isn’t making money—money is just the means towards solving a human problem. By building the capacity of Colorado Homebuilding Academy, I helped build the careers of hundreds of people. That’s why I’m so proud of this work.
The most difficult part of nonprofit work is dealing with constraints. If I had more time and money to continue this experiment, I would propose:
automating the distribution and incentives as much as possible
simplifying the service blueprint so it’s more flexible for team members
experimenting with additional methods for asking form questions