On Wednesday, The Huffington Post, the Skoll Foundation and knowledge partner McKinsey & Company announced the 74 finalist organizations for the new JobRaising Challenge, setting the stage for a fundraising competition among employment-focused nonprofits striving to put an end to America's jobs crisis.
One of the finalists, Girls Who Code, "educates, inspires and equips 13- to 17-year-old girls with the skills and resources to pursue opportunities in technology and engineering," said founder and president Reshma Saujani. "We know there's going to be 1.4 million jobs in computer-related fields by 2020. We need to make sure half of our workforce is prepared for the future."
In addition to teaching teenage girls programming languages like C+, Java and HTML, Girls Who Code teaches them how to communicate with engineers and co-workers, Saujani said. "We want to show them how a technology skill set can change the world."
Another finalist is Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which provides employment services for new veterans, helping them to find careers, to connect with veteran-friendly employers and to translate their military experience effectively into a civilian asset.
Other finalists include Homeboy Industries, Jewish Vocational Service and Year Up, which hosts a mentorship program for urban youth.
Altogether, 74 finalists were selected from a pool of 217 applicants hailing from 31 states and 110 cities across the country.
The contest will run from Inauguration Day, Jan. 21, to March 1, 2013, and represents a large-scale effort to raise funds and awareness for organizations working to make an impact on unemployment. The three winners will take home $150,000, $50,000 and $30,000 respectively, based on the dollar amount raised.
If her company wins, Saujani said she would use the funds to build more programs in other cities to reach as many girls as possible. As of now, the company plans on launching in seven different markets in 2013.
And money isn't the only award in the JobRaising competition. Global consulting firm McKinsey & Company will select one organization among the 74 finalists to offer pro-bono mentoring services based on the applicant’s solution to the jobs crisis.
For a full list of the finalists click here.