Code for Oakland team wins third prize in national FCC/Knight Foundation Apps4Communities competition

Last April, Last April, Knight Foundation and the Federal Communications Commission challenged developers and citizens from across the country to develop apps that deliver personalized, actionable information for the Apps for Communities Challenge. The prizes? $100,00 and more for live, shipped apps entered into the contest.

Fast-forward10 months and 70 submitted apps to December 15, 2011, when the winners were announced. The 3rd prize winner, Txt2wrk, is an Oakland-based team that was awarded both the $10,000 third prize and a $5,000 additional prize for best use of SMS. The team, comprised of Oakland residents David Chiu,Elise Ackerman, Roger Ly, and Lawson Kight, met at the Code for Oakland event organized by Oakland Local, InOak, and Urban Strategies Council, with support from The City of Oakland, the Lake Merritt/Downtown Business Improvement district, and a host of local supporters, including The Ramsell Corporation, Pandora, Mozilla, Skytide, Tumis Design, Full Court Press, Winning Strategies, ODALC, Arctice Fox Hosting and more.

Txt2wrk is an SMS and feature phone based app that connects job seekers and employers by providing text-to-speech delivery of job postings on any mobile phone. Job seekers receive text message alerts of new job postings, listen to job descriptions, and submit job applications, 24-hours a day, all without a connection to the internet.

Txt2wrk is compatible with any mobile phone, ensuring job seekers with low literacy and limited access to broadband have equal access to public and private job resources offered by local workforce development and social service agencies. The target audience is parolees, homeless, and others without regular access to computers.

The complete team for Txt2wrk is Tanja Altamurto, Jonathan Chan, Dave Chiu, Patrick Crawford, Lawson Kight, Roger Ly, Allison McKeever and Alex Tam. Members of the team received their award at the Andreessen Horowitz Offices in Silicon Valley yesterday.