To capture the brief of ‘Designing for minimum wage in New York City’, designers Ziyun Qi, Oscar de la Hera Gomez and Isioma Iyamah created Project Dao - a free, alternative learning platform aimed at empowering the children of minimum wage earners with valuable, targeted education; as well as providing them a resource to enhance their employability and entrepreneurial potential.
Project Dao uses a gamified, digital platform to connect users to teams that are led by specialized, industry relevant mentors. These mentors customize the users’ journey by providing a series of digestive micro-objectives in the form of timed challenges such as workshops or achieving a specific grade.
These challenges, which may be team-based or individual, will form part of a series of projects that the user could later present as proof of their skill set and would assist Project Dao in its pursuit of becoming an alternative market place for companies to hire employees.
Finally, Project Dao offers a feedback system where mentors inform parents of their child's success. This system allows parents to progress along with their child and offers them advice and support to allow their child to fly higher.
Project Dao was sparked to life as a result of a profound interview with a mother of a minimum wage family, who informed the team of the difficulties she had faced due to her transition from the middle class into minimum wage income.
During the interview, she brought up the inspiring story of her daughter Chloe; a 12 year old who was helping her mother make ends meet by finding micro jobs such as app testing, selling cakes and university workshops; and insisted that if you lack money, education becomes the fundamental factor to breaking through the minimum wage barrier.
Additionally, Chloe was particularly spectacular as she aimed to overcome expectations by having high aspirations and striving towards them by making connections, which involved helping Colombia students carry out research through a series of workshops.
Project Dao hopes to address the issues faced by the children of minimum of minimum wage earners by giving them a fighting chance of a positive future and hopes to expand and become a viable resource in the future.