R.I. digital career platform selected as finalist in U.S. Department of Education challenge

PROVIDENCE – The founders of Wingspans operate on a simple mantra: “If you can see if, you can be it.”

To promote this concept, the Providence-based, women-owned company developed a web platform it describes as “an archive of authentic and heartfelt career stories.”

This idea has caught national attention: Earlier this month, the company was chosen as one of five finalists in the U.S. Department of Education’s national Future Finder challenge, earning a $50,000 grant and acceptance into a six-month, intensive virtual accelerator program focused on technical assistance.

The company is also in the running for the challenge’s grand prize, a $500,000 grant, or a runner-up prize of at least $250,000. Seventy-six businesses from throughout the U.S. entered the competition, which is open to BIPOC, women, LGBTQ and veteran-owned businesses.

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Wingspans.com draws from more than 700 career stories and employer profiles intended to provide adult learners with a better idea of professional pathways available to them. Spanning across 10,000-plus web pages, these profiles provide guidance from professionals in a broad range of careers, such as data science, nursing and the visual arts.

The website also provides planning tools and uses an algorithm to connect users with careers that fit their interests and skillset.

The grand prize winner and up to two runners-up will be announced in fall 2023.

Jacquelyn Voghel is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Voghel@PBN.com.