The Reach Higher Career App Challenge

The Reach Higher Career App Challenge is part of a series of prize competitions conducted by the U.S. Department of Education and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative to promote the development of mobile app solutions that will help students navigate education and career pathways.  

The Reach Higher Career App Challenge seeks mobile apps that help students learn about career options, and increasing career counselors' ability to assist learners in preparing for the high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand occupations. The apps should include integrated tools to assess student skills and interests, and offer information on occupations, education options, credentials, and career-seeking skills.

Mobile app developers, educators, and data mavens are encouraged to participate. A panel of judges from education, technology and career guidance backgrounds will evaluate the submissions and recommend finalists and winners.

Those interested in participating in the Challenge should submit their mobile app solutions by December 6, 2015. Up to five entrants will be selected to advance as finalists. Finalists will be awarded $25,000 each and will have the opportunity to improve upon their submissions during the Virtual Accelerator Phase, which will include access to mentorship from IBM and Microsoft. The Challenge winner(s) will win the remainder of the prize money and additional prizes, including IBM Global Entrepreneurship Program Credits, Microsoft BizSpark Plus, and free hosting services.

For a complete list of Challenge rules, and to submit a concept, visit


The Reach Higher Career App Challenge is off to an exciting start, and on November 3rd, from 3:00-4:00PM EST, the U.S. Department of Education is hosting a live webinar to provide an overview of key Challenge information, and discuss questions about the Challenge.

Topics presented during the webinar will include an in-depth explanation of the Challenge, detailing key aspects of the criteria and the multi-stage competition process. The webinar will conclude with a Q&A session.

Albert Palacios, Education Program Specialist at the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education will host the webinar. He will be joined by judge, Cory Notestine, Counseling & Postsecondary Coordinator at Colorado Springs School District 11, who will share his perspective as a former school counselor in supporting students as they plan for their future. The American School Counselor Association recently named Cory the 2015 National School Counselor of the Year.

Register for the webinar here.