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U-District Job Co-op: constructing a future vision for homeless young people and employment

David G. Hendry (The Information School, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA)
Jill Palzkill Woelfer (The Information School, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA)
Thuy Duong (The Information School, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Article publication date: 7 August 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

Addressing the question, how might socio-technical systems help homeless young people to succeed broadly in employment, the purpose of this paper is to present a future vision, the U-District Job Co-op, where youth take on “mini-jobs” offered by neighborhood stakeholders.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on value sensitive design, design-based, and qualitative research methods, the Job Co-op is explicated by reporting on three linked studies.

Findings

First, based on empirical research with varied neighborhood stakeholders, barriers and possible solutions to employment for homeless young people are presented. Second, three design insights for shaping a solution space of socio-technical systems for job search are presented and used analytically to examine six existing systems. Third, findings from a co-design study in which homeless young people expressed their understandings for web-based job services explicate the vision of the Job Co-op.

Social implications

This study offers a socio-technical approach, grounded in the neighborhood context, for supporting homeless young people in job search and related activities.

Originality/value

The studies reported in this paper demonstrate how methods for information system design can be used to generate and clarify opportunities for human benefit and for the development of socio-technical systems that account for human values.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the community members, especially Karen Ko, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, and Don Schulze, Shultzy’s Restaurant, who participated in this research, and to thank Rowena Harper, Kate Phillips, Tyler Bauer and other staff at Street Youth Ministries for their ongoing collaboration. This paper is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1018008.

Citation

Hendry, D.G., Woelfer, J.P. and Duong, T. (2017), "U-District Job Co-op: constructing a future vision for homeless young people and employment", Information Technology & People, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 602-628. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-05-2015-0117

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited