techforgood

Closing the Adult Education Gap for Employers and Employees, with Ned Zimmerman-Bence, GogyUp

GogyUp removes language barriers from the workplace. According to the most recent report from the US Department of Labor, there are currently 6.9 million job openings in the US. In the last month alone, job openings in nondurable goods manufacturing increased by more than 30,000. Businesses are finding it difficult to find qualified employees who can meet the rigors of technical qualifications. At the same time, 36 million US adults read below the 3rd-grade level. And 90 million adults struggle to read technical writing. Yet, only 5% have access to the instruction that they need. That’s where GogyUp comes in. Their Employment Literacy System (ELS) is a tool for on-boarding,…

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The Many Side-Hustles of Sherrell Dorsey, ThePLUG and BLKTECHCLT

ThePLUG is the first daily tech newsletter covering founders and innovators of color. What do these people have in common: Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Larry Page, Tim Cook, and Larry Ellison? Yes, these are all icons of the tech industry. They also happen to be white men. Sherrell Dorsey of ThePLUG says, “Part of my personal and professional growth was staying abreast of what was happening in the news.” However, she noticed a gap in tech news. “The daily business and tech news cycle is filled with the stories and work of white men building the future,” she says. “Rarely are we recognizing the work of…

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Making Technology Fun, Relevant, and Accessible for Girls, with Betty Gronneberg, uCodeGirl

uCodeGirl offers pathways to technology careers for teen girls by tapping into their curiosity, skills, and potential. Betty Gronneberg grew up in Ethiopia. She attended Addis Ababa University where she majored in statistics. Betty recalls a day in college when she saw her name on a list of students who had been accepted into the new Computer Science track. She was one of two female students on the list. This was 1991. The “world wide web” had not yet been invented. Betty learned to write simple programs in BASIC, an early computer language. Betty’s experience grew rapidly as the internet began to spread. She became a country-wide email administrator for…

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Improving the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Humanitarian Missions, with Lori Most, BinaryBridge

BinaryBridge creates software that helps humanitarians do their work effectively and efficiently. Lori Most grew up seeing television commercials of humanitarian crises, especially in Africa. Lori recounted, “I always wanted to go to Africa and help…I thought ‘I’m going to grow up and go over there.” In college, she started as a pre-med student. Part way through she switched to engineering. “I changed directions a lot,” she laughed. When she graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in mathematics, she was left with this sense that she still wanted to help. After graduating, Lori quickly found work in the booming field of software development. She worked as a…

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Removing Barriers to Healthcare in Ethiopia Through MedTech, with Yohans Wodaje Emiru, helloDoctor

Dr. Yohans Wodaje Emiru is the founder of Telemed Medical Services. Their flagship service is helloDoctor. For every doctor in Ethiopia, there are more than 30,000 patients. Compare that to less than 400 patients per doctor in the United States. Millions of Ethiopian patients are cut off from medical services due to geography and infrastructure. There are also cultural barriers to medical treatment. Some conditions can seem embarrassing to discuss face-to-face with a local doctor. Transportation costs or consultation fees may be a barrier to treatment. Yohans Wodaje Emiru has found a way to use technology to provide access to medical professionals using a simple hand-handheld phone. Yohans understands the…

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Fighting Air Inequality through Open Data, Open Source Tools and Collaboration, with Christa Hasenkopf, OpenAQ

OpenAQ aggregates and shares air quality data from around the world in order to fight air inequality. How big of an issue is air pollution? The World Health Organization estimates that one out of every eight deaths on the planet is related to air pollution. That’s more than HIV/AIDS and Malaria combined. Most of these deaths occur in developing countries, creating what Christa Hasenkopf calls “Air Inequality.” Christa is an atmospheric scientist. In grad school, she focused on the atmosphere of a moon of Saturn called Titan. One day she was talking to a professor from a neighboring university. The professor was telling Christa about Mongolia while showing her pictures…

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102, Jim Fruchterman, Benetech | Technology Serving Humanity #TechForGood

What if we focused the power of technology on our greatest social challenges? Jim Fruchterman was a social entrepreneur before the term was popularized. He told me, “I didn’t know I was a social entrepreneur for the first ten years.” Jim was in a PhD program at Stanford when he Left to join a rocket company. Unfortunately the rocket blew up on the launching pad. But by this time, he had been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. Instead of returning to the PhD program, Jim decided to go on to his next startup, a company that created omnifont Optical Character Recognition, or OCR. OCR is a technology that enables you…

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095, Nithya Ramanathan, Nexleaf Analytics | Connected Devices with Social Impact #TechForGood

Nexleaf Analytics creates low-cost connected devices with social impact. They help high-impact organizations measure everything from indoor smoke levels to the performance of a refrigerator holding precious vaccines. Nexleaf takes advantage of the widespread availability of inexpensive feature phones and sensors to collect the types of data that weren’t possible just a few years ago. Nithya Ramanathan first met her co-founder Martin Lukac while they were both working on their PhDs. Nithya told me, “Both of us ultimately were looking at how does real time wireless data from sensors, how can that really change the types of questions and the types of answers that scientists can start putting forth with…

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094, Amara Humphry, Gooru | Education Technology to Navigate Learning

Amara Humphry’s journey to education technology began on a trip to Cambodia when she was in middle school. While touring a temple, Amara and her sister met two local girls. The girls took Amara and her sister to see some temple sites that were off of the beaten path. Though they did not speak the same language, they enjoyed the day together. At the end of the day, Amara’s aunt gave the local girls a small amount of money and asked the girls to spend the money on books. This seemed like a strange request to Amara. The girls lacked so much: food, clothing and other possessions. Why would her…

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