Displaced workers in the DMV region can use this new platform to connect with resources - Technical.ly DC

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May 13, 2020 10:59 am

Displaced workers in the DMV region can use this new platform to connect with resources

The OnwardUS platform launched in D.C., Virginia and Maryland to help unemployed individuals connect with funding, essential services and jobs after being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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(Photo by Flickr user ITU Pictures, used under a Creative Commons license)

Figured into whopping 33.5 million new unemployment claims across the U.S. in the past seven weeks were 134,533 added in the last week of April by residents of D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

A new one-stop resource platform wants to help displaced workers connect with new opportunities.

OnwardUS launched in D.C., Maryland, Virginia and eight other regions last month to help unemployed individuals connect with funding, essential services and jobs if they have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The website connects users with emergency resources like childcare, shelter and food; provides career training programs; and helps match people with available jobs.

OnwardUS is a joint venture between Fresno, California-based tech services firm Bitwise Industries and the Kapor Center, an Oakland, California-based social impact tech nonprofit, and comes after the Kapor Center led a $27 million Series A funding round for Bitwise last spring.

“As unemployment grows, OnwardUS provides a single, easy-to-use website. The OnwardUS platform combines the resources and jobs people need most in one place and makes finding and accessing services a less daunting task in an already challenging time,” said Bitwise cofounder and CEO Jake Soberal in a statement. “Our goal is to serve as many people as possible in their time of need.”

Each state has its own microsite that can be accessed through OnwardUS’s main website.The platform first launched in California, and after seeing its success there, was expanded to more states. Along with the DMV region, the platform is also live in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Washington, Oregon, Connecticut and Colorado.

“This website was created out of necessity, by software developers from communities most impacted by this crisis, who are often overlooked by the technology industry and it is now serving our country in its time of need,” said Kapor Center co-chair Freada Kapor Klein. “Innovation that addresses real problems is exactly what will move our country forward together.”

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OnwardUS will be expanded to more states including Texas, Nevada and Florida.

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