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4/3/2012
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White House Seeks Summer Jobs Apps

Code Sprint contest challenges developers to build job search apps for young people.

10 Great iPad Apps From Uncle Sam
10 Great iPad Apps From Uncle Sam
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)

The White House has announced its first White House Code Sprint, challenging developers to build job search apps for young people looking for jobs. The apps, which can be built for browsers, social networking platforms, or smartphones, must be based on the Department of Labor's Summer Jobs+ Bank.

Developers must submit their apps by Monday, April 9 at 8 a.m. ET on the Code Sprint website. The most innovative entries will be featured on WhiteHouse.gov.

Summer Jobs+ is a partnership between the White House and the Department of Labor to provide low-income youth ages 16-24 with access to summer jobs, internships, mentorships, and training opportunities. Positions offered by companies around the nation have been tagged using a job-posting standard and widget established by schema.org. Schema is a collaboration among Bing, Google, and Yahoo to make structured data on the Web easier to find. Companies can add the job search widget, which was developed by a voluntary network of employment and technology companies and based on the open database of summer opportunities, to their websites.

[ The social-network contest that fell flat: DARPA Challenge Doesn't Go Viral On Twitter. ]

The White House offered hints about the types of apps it would like to see entered in the challenge. "Some ideas we'd love to see include an easy way to receive job opportunities through SMS, localized job search apps for the city you live in, map-based interfaces, or easy ways to create summer training playlists that help youth plan a summer of job skills development," wrote Brian Forde, adviser to the White House CTO on mobile and data innovation, in his blog.

Code Sprint is just one of many app contests currently being offered by federal agencies or those working with the agencies. The Department of Commerce, for example, is challenging developers "to utilize at least one DOC data set in creating an application that assists businesses and/or improves the service delivery of Business.USA.gov to the business community." This contest closes on May 12, with first-, second- and third-place winners receiving $5,000, $3,000, and $2,000, respectively.

The Veterans Administration has issued a challenge to developers to create an app "that will provide easy access to resources that the homeless need, when they need it, and where they can get it." The hope is that volunteers and outreach workers will use the app in areas where homeless people congregate, such as soup kitchens, and look up the availability of shelters, free clinics, and other social services, and share this information with those who need it. This contest ends July 27.

InformationWeek's 2012 Government IT Innovators program will feature the most innovative government IT organizations in the 2012 InformationWeek 500 issue and on InformationWeek.com. Does your organization have what it takes? The nomination period for 2012 Government IT Innovators closes April 27.

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