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Mobile Time Bank - A Bridge Between School and Work

A mobile time bank is a labor exchange - a barter platform for selling and buying consulting services. It works by blurring the line between formal education and work, thereby providing a seamless transition from formal school to the workforce.

Photo of Eric Kotonya
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Mobile instant messaging and video chat technology is in the hands of most job seekers.  A mobile time bank app would empower unemployed youth to provide consulting services online and earn virtual credits based on their time input.  The youth worker can in turn purchase consulting services from others in the mutual community using these credits.  A transaction statement of time dollars is kept, in the same way like in a physical bank.

On the time bank, anyone needing professional consulting services posts their job requests online, with the promise of an hour to get an expert solution.  Each job request remains available for 10 minutes, during which up to three experts or young interns can select to take it up.  By making solution delivery on the time bank workspace collaborative, a scenario of apprenticeship is created for the young worker to grow specialist skills and gain professional confidence in a real-life solution provision.
Once taken up, the consulting session lasts a maximum of 50 minutes.  If satisfied with the quality of delivery, the client clicks a thumb-up allocate a credit to the consultants' accounts. Interns can opt-in to as many jobs as they wish for as ling as they wish so as to grow their job skills until they are fully ready for their first formal job in a physical workplace.


The mobile time bank platform introduces two new classes of capital: a job readiness rating and a virtual currency.  Making this currency inter-transferable across members of the time bank community would spur the provision of third party mechanisms to it into cash, making it possible to earn real cash and job skills on the mobile time bank.


Assigning a verifiable job-delivery success rating to each worker on the time bank would enable young workers to include their job-readiness performance in their resume - a kind of Job Point Average (JPA) for potential employers.


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Hi Eric, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story with higher impact. You should be able to use the 'Update entry' button on the right of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. We know occasionally people have issues uploading images so let us know by hitting the Support tab on the left hand side of most pages of our site if you face any problems. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring ideas on OpenIDEO.

Photo of Eric Kotonya

I have added a process illustration of how the time bank bridges formal education and formal employment:

It incrementally grows both specialist education and job experience, and provides potential employers with a Job Point Average - job readiness rating equivalent of GPA.