Education is a very important factor for enabling upward mobility. Research shows that an individual’s work-life earnings potential is highly correlated with the level of education they complete.
Unfortunately, chronic absenteeism undermines students’ ability to successfully graduate from high school and position themselves to go to college. The consequences of chronic absenteeism are significant. Absences robustly predict students’ academic performance, high school graduation rate, drug and alcohol use, criminality, and risk of later life adverse outcomes.
There are a variety of underlying causes for chronic absenteeism and we see evidence of chronic absenteeism across all school districts in the US. Data shows that the rates of absenteeism are higher in low-income and urban school districts. Youth struggling with unstable living conditions are also particularly prone to being chronically absent.
More than 24 million K-12 students are chronically absent (generally defined as missing 18 or more days of school a year) or at-risk of becoming chronically absent, and collectively they miss more than 300 million days of instruction.
Personalized mail-based communications with behaviorally informed content and data from school districts to parents and guardians of chronically absent and at-risk students.
In Class Today’s interventions originate from innovative experiments conducted by Dr. Todd Rogers and the Student Social Support R&D Lab at Harvard University. These studies involve more than 250,000 at-risk students in the United States and around the world.
In 16 school districts across the US, In Class Today’s interventions have gone through randomized controlled studies at the Student Social Support R&D Lab at Harvard University’s Kennedy School. The notable studies are:
In Class Today’s mission is to reduce absenteeism among at-risk Pre-K–12 students by one million days per year in America.
If In Class Today were rolled out across the roughly 5 million students who are chronically absent each year, we could help prevent 750,000 students from being chronically absent each year.
There are a wide variety of unconscious biases in the hiring and recruitment process. A study conducted in Boston and Chicago found that resumes with White-sounding names receive 50% more callbacks for interviews than resumes with African-American-sounding names.
Behavioral gaps occur on the employee-side of the recruitment process as well. A Hewlett Packard internal report found that men apply for a job when they meet 60% of the qualifications whereas women apply for them only when they meet 100% of the qualifications. This gap results in a segment of society not receiving more senior, and higher paying, positions at the same rate as their male counterparts.
The problem is spread across many dimensions of the job market and hard to quantify. The impact is both in one’s ability to get a job and in the missed opportunity cost of not potentially getting a higher paying job, which could then lead to a different career trajectory altogether.
While unemployment rates in the US are at all-time lows, three in ten US adults worked in the gig economy in 2017, indicating that there is a material portion of the population with inconsistent and varying pay rates.
Our solution is to build a recruitment platform designed for employees, rather than the multitude of solutions today that all tailor themselves around employer needs. This platform can remove bias from the recruitment process in a variety of ways:
The existence of dozens of recruitment platforms proves that there are viable and sustainable business opportunities in the space. The challenge will be to achieve scale on both the employer and the employee sides of the equation to make it an attractive marketplace.
Fortunately, thousands of jobs in the US are already publicly posted online and the data can be scraped to provide a well populated list of career opportunities. In addition, the service can start as a direct-to-employee tool that helps candidates identify positions that they are well matched to get. This tool can attract candidates to upload their resumes, thus building out the other side of the data needed to establish the marketplace.
The delivery of healthy and developmentally appropriate babies helps both the mother and the baby avoid potential limits on future opportunities. Being born with deficiencies and/or delays due to avoidable issues while in utero undermines an individual’s potential outcome from the start. Caring for a child with health and/or developmental issues also increases the burden on the parent(s) and the child’s support system.
Roughly half of the pregnancies in the United States are unintended. Unintended pregnancies and the subsequent births put a substantial burden on the lives of women and their families. In addition, lower income teenagers have both a higher chance of getting pregnant and a less financial support during the pregnancy.
Advances in communication technology now allow us to achieve meaningful behavior change to improve outcomes for pregnant women at scale. By combining chatbots, natural language processing, triggered text messages, and group chat functionality, we can provide a real-time pregnancy companion that guides an expectant mother through a healthy pregnancy and offers support services when she has questions along the way.
The service we envision can help pregnant women in a variety of ways:
Chatbots already exist to provide customer support services across a variety of industries. There is an array of research that indicates that the timeliness and context for behavioral intervention is important. Automated text messages allow for timely reminders and chatbot technology can allow expecting mothers to ask questions when they’re top of mind, rather than waiting for their next medical appointment.
In addition, a similar intervention approach was taken with newly admitted Freshman at Georgia State and the impact was studied using a randomized control trial. The study found that 90% of the students who were offered a texting platform with admissions opted into the program and 63% engaged with it. The engaged users exchanged an average of 60 text messages regarding college administration enrollment and services. 80% of students gave the service 4 or 5 stars (out of 5) and the college saw a 21% reduction in the amount of ‘summer melt’ (i.e. accepted students failing to follow-through with college enrollment) prior to their Freshman year.
Furthermore, the benefits of group prenatal care for women who are due around the same time are well documented by CenteringPregnancy. Having group chat capabilities for the women outside their group appointments further extends those benefits.
There are roughly 6.2m pregnancies in the US each year and roughly 4m babies born. Ensuring that mothers are healthy during their pregnancies, particularly mothers of unintended pregnancies, will increase the rate of healthy and developmentally appropriate babies born each year.
We believe that insurers and Medicaid will ultimately benefit from this service by creating healthier outcomes for moms and babies. Unfortunately, the economic drivers of health services do not always align with outcome-based solutions. As such, we expect that there will need to be grants to fund the development and rollout of this solution so that it can get a foothold into becoming a scalable service.