Junior Achievement

Catalyte apprentice developers quickly ramped on new technologies to deliver a secure and scalable platform

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Challenge

Junior Achievement needed a comprehensive platform to manage its pivot from exclusively instructor-led, in-person learning to a more self-guided, online content delivery model.

Outcome

Catalyte designed and implemented a content management and delivery platform for Junior Achievement to meet the needs of its expanded online educational content delivery model. The platform allows creators at the national level to produce content available for students in all areas, while also allowing area administrators to craft content specific to their area and students’ needs. As part of a full team, Catalyte apprentice developers successfully performed the bulk of the implementation in a remote work environment.

Junior Achievement (JA) is a nonprofit that prepares young people to succeed in a global economy by giving them the knowledge and skills needed to own their economic success, plan for their futures and make smart academic and economic choices. To expand its ability to do so, JA decided to pivot to a more self-guided, online content delivery model. Due to the company’s engineering excellence and complementary mission of providing opportunities to retrained apprentice software developers, JA selected Catalyte to help develop a platform to meet its new online model.

Complementary missions lead to successful relationship

Junior Achievement strongly believes in the boundless potential of young people and the talents, creativity, perspectives and backgrounds of all individuals. It was important to JA to find an engineering partner that could deliver outstanding technical results and complement its message of economic opportunity and access.

“Working with Catalyte’s apprentice developers allows our students to understand the opportunities that are out there,” said Jeannine Reilly, vice president, education delivery and technology solutions at Junior Achievement USA. “It’s been a pleasure interacting with Catalyte’s apprentices and their contributions have greatly enhanced our organization’s capabilities.”

Apprentices quickly ramp to develop new platforms

Catalyte’s apprentice software developers have a unique ability to quickly learn new technologies. In preparing for their work with JA, apprentices learned multiple new technologies, including Azure platform services, .NET core, Angular and SQL. On a team led by senior engineering resources, the apprentices leveraged this new knowledge to develop the content management and delivery platform. The platform consisted of two interconnected applications, Connect Learning Pathways and Digital Career Book. Both applications deliver content with Azure Cognitive Search, support OIDC authentication with role-based authorization and provide a simple interface for area content administrators to manage content specific to their locale. They also track content consumption for registered and anonymous users to provide metrics on usage to JA’s donors.

Delivering in a remote environment

This project was conceived and launched pre-COVID, so Catalyte’s teams had to quickly pivot to a fully remote environment. They made a smooth transition without interrupting the delivery of business value to JA.

“Other vendors could’t handle virtual or remote environments,” said Reilly. “Catalyte was able to effectively and successfully manage resources in a virtual environment. They were able to prepare and mentor apprentice developers so that we didn’t miss a beat and they continued to deliver work that benefited Junior Achievement.”

Key takeaways

Apprentice developers prove their worth
Catalyte apprentices quickly ramped up and performed the bulk of the implementation under the guidance of senior team leaders.
Clear communication, even when remote
Catalyte’s onshore resources had no communications barriers and were able to continue delivering remotely at a high level when other vendors couldn’t.
Secure, scalable platform to help educate future leaders
Junior Achievement will be able to securely and remotely support their students with a new platform designed to scale to hundreds of thousands of users without refactoring or recoding
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Working with Catalyte was a great experience. We came out with an amazing product that we already see gaining traction. Junior Achievement tries to create a team, community and family. We were able to do that with Catalyte. It’s been a great partnership that we look forward to continuing.

– Jeannine Reilly, vice president, education delivery and technology solutions at Junior Achievement USA

Key technologies/skills

  • Azure
  • .NET Core
  • ASP.NET Core MVC & WebAPI
  • Entity Framework Core
  • PowerBI
  • Angular
  • OAUTH/OIDC

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