Startups

This web developer built CO.CAREERS to help job seekers find ‘human-centered’ roles

Ali Jaffar's Key Medium offers customizable software for orgs to host their own jobs boards.

The CO.CAREERS platform.

(Courtesy image)

What do you do if you’re a web developer who’s trying to help out your city amid surging unemployment? Build a jobs tool.

It’s what Ali Jaffar did when the pandemic hit the Philadelphia region in the spring of 2020. The founder of web firm Key Medium said he was working in collaboration with a local government department on a platform for job hunters when the project was forced to go on pause.

It sat for nearly two years until earlier in 2022, when Jaffar returned to the project and decided to bootstrap it. Last month, he launched the first phase of CO.CAREERS, a job search and education platform with a software aspect that can be customized to clients’ needs. While the project was initially focused on addressing pandemic-prompted unemployment, it could also work for the people who are making career pivots (hi, Great Resignation).

“It was the right time for it, because everybody was still failing to meet the challenge,” Jaffar said. “I haven’t seen a good address to this challenge. People are not satisfied with their work, people are still quitting at record levels similar to the pandemic levels.” Thus, CO.CAREERS caters to “human-centered” employers.

CO.CAREERS has its own jobs board, but clients can also pay for the development of custom jobs boards to be integrated into their own sites. Clients might include community organizations, businesses or some of the hundreds of workforce development boards across the country that need a streamlined place to host verified jobs.

In addition to pulling in approved job listings via RSS feed or allowing clients to host their own, a client’s site will soon suggest content from Key Medium’s library of resources relating to career growth and job hunting. For instance, if a user is checking out a listing for an in-person job, they might get an article served to them about how to dress for an interview or freshen up their resume.

Its first client launched their site last month — North10 Philadelphia, a foundation associated with the Lenfest Center on North 10th Street in Hunting Park. The site is a digital hub for the organization’s workforce efforts, jobs and learning opportunities.

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For employers who want to host jobs on Key Medium’s site, and for users looking for jobs, CO.CAREERS is free to use. For the organizations or businesses looking to host a pilot program, the services will run between $369 a month to $979 a month, depending on hosting capacity and customizations. Jaffar built the platform with some support from his team at Key Medium and contractors on an as-needed basis. They’re also working with a list of writers to build up its career educational library.

For the rest of the year, Jaffar is hoping to kick the project up to phase two by starting another pilot with clients, maybe in Pittsburgh, as it continues to add to its educational library and personalize users’ profiles — “and I expect this project to have helped a couple people get jobs,” the founder said.

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