Skip to Content
Alumni profile

Combating record unemployment with the help of strangers

Frederick Goff, SM ’01
October 20, 2020
Courtesy Photo

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Frederick Goff, SM ’01, and his teammates from a machine-learning-based hedge fund decided to apply their technology to job search engines, for which there was widespread demand. In 2015, they created a new platform, Jobcase, to help people “manage their own future of work with a set of open tools.” The result: a social-media platform where strangers help strangers get jobs.

While Jobcase was built to be inclusive of all workers, Goff says its focus is on the 67% of people in the US without a four-year degree, who are likely to face such challenges as frequent job changes and displacement by automation. Free to all users, the site has no premium memberships or paywalls; Jobcase’s revenue comes from employers who pay to list jobs and hiring events. 

Jobcase applies machine learning and search engine optimization to help users find jobs and explore career paths related to their current work. For instance, it might alert someone searching for cashier positions that medical billing specialists have an 80% overlap in talents and skills, then suggest related openings and additional skill-building opportunities.

But it’s the community that really sets the platform apart, says Goff. Its algorithms connect users to other users they can learn from—pulling from the more than 112 million registered Jobcasers. “We’re just a bunch of quants and computer and data scientists; we know we don’t have all the answers,” says Goff. “We want the platform to provide the connective tissues so that people can help each other navigate.”

Goff gives the example of an early adopter with attention deficit disorder who had struggled to find work. After joining Jobcase, she wrote about the experience of suddenly having a community of people assisting her search and even pointing her to companies with programs that could accommodate her needs.

With covid-19 pushing the US from a 3.5% unemployment average in February to 10.2% in July, Goff knows how urgently job seekers need support. Within two weeks of the pandemic’s start, Jobcase launched an unemployment resource microsite, including specifics on each state’s benefits and articles on topics such as the difference between furloughs and layoffs and managing personal finances while unemployed. 

“We built Jobcase to try to minimize anxiety and maximize success,” says Goff. “When anxiety is at its absolute peak in our country, specifically with regard to work life, there’s no mission I’d rather be on right now.”

Keep Reading

Most Popular

open sourcing language models concept
open sourcing language models concept

Meta has built a massive new language AI—and it’s giving it away for free

Facebook’s parent company is inviting researchers to pore over and pick apart the flaws in its version of GPT-3

transplant surgery
transplant surgery

The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus

The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.

Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research
Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research

Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging

The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.

Yann LeCun
Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun has a bold new vision for the future of AI

One of the godfathers of deep learning pulls together old ideas to sketch out a fresh path for AI, but raises as many questions as he answers.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.