OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Raise Your Flag

Raise Your Flag connects young people who are not going to college with meaningful career paths, companies that are hiring and jobs at each step of the path. Approx. 45% of students in US and Canada do not go to college after high school. Instead, they enter the workforce. These students leave school completely unaware of their options, unprepared for the transition and uninspired to take action. These students leave school hopeless. Raise Your Flag gives hope to work-bound students by arming them with everything they need to start a career path they're stoked about.

Photo of Ryan Porter
26 23

Written by

Raise Your Flag is a web-based application that creates connections from where work-bound students are to where they want to be. 

Users use Raise Your Flag to explore opportunities for meaningful work that does not require a degree or diploma, collect the ones that are most interesting and build their own personal career path. They also discover what training and certification is required, where to get it, what companies are hiring and where the job opportunities are right now. 

Raise Your Flag will also help users discover their personal working preferences and the ability to acquire the most in-demand work skills.

Raise Your Flag closes the the giant gap between high school and meaningful work for an employer who recognizes the value of young workers. 


Who does this idea benefit, who are the main players and what's in it for them?

Young people (16-24) who did not attend college are given the same support that their college-bound counterparts are given. This results in a lowered youth-unemployment rate, higher young employee tenure and increased excitement for the school-to-work transition. Education benefits as they are now given a resource to help the overwhelming large population of students who do not pursue formal post-secondary education. Employers benefit as they are now connecting with young people who have identified an interest in their company, who are aware of the long-term career possibilities within their companies and who will stay with their companies longer.

How is your idea specifically increasing access to employment opportunities and pathways for young people?

The general idea of a career "pathway" exists in so few places online. The word "pathway" has somehow lost its tangible properties. What is an actual career pathway? Where is the data that supports career pathways? What pathways exist in which industries and within which specific companies? Raise Your Flag answers these questions. Raise Your Flag visually identifies career pathways from entry-level positions to management opportunities and beyond. Each pathway is built using labor market information, career databases, or social graph data. Employer sponsored career pathways are supplied directly by the sponsoring company. Raise Your Flag takes the somewhat abstract idea of a career pathway and turns it into a tangible, actionable process with clear entry points and clear line of promotion and advancement.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

We are currently testing the market with Raise Your Flag and have a working application at

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to receive from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

We believe the OpenIDEO community can provide is with: 1. The true needs of our user base beyond static information and a growing database of opportunities. 2. The needs of the education community. What is it that we could do for education specifically to make sure they are getting career pathway information to as many students as possible. 3. The obstacles our users have to meaningful employment and the obstacles their parents, teachers and potential employers have in helping them.

The idea emerged from:

  • A group brainstorm

How do you envision your idea being implemented?

  • Keen to prototype it, find partners and pursue implementation


Join the conversation:

Photo of Roshni Patel

Like Melanie, below, I think it's great that you're focusing on youth that either a) doesn't believe college is the right path for them b) cannot afford to attend college or c) cannot get into college. With the rising costs of education in the U.S. especially, I've been seeing more and more articles and op-eds that debate "Should everyone strive to go to college?" A program like Raise Your Flag would be great to help teens and families make such a decision.

However, while the name of your initiative is fun and thought provoking, I would suggest changing it to directly convey what the program does (A Day in the Life, etc etc)

View all comments