Startup offers training app for Newark job seekers

Leah Mishkin, Correspondent | February 28, 2018

“I went to high school, graduated high school, but still afterward, I didn’t go straight to college, so I wasted a lot of time,” said Temple Bravo of Newark.

Bravo hopes to have his own business as an electrician, but to go to technical school, he had to do well on the Test of Adult Basic Education, otherwise known as the TABE test. It’s a prerequisite for all tech school applications.

“It’s sort of like a SAT. And the city, in an effort to try to reduce unemployment, they have to get people access to interviews and access to jobs and access to training, and one of the hurdles was getting people to be able to pass this test,” said 1Huddle CEO Sam Caucci.

Caucci says he saw a gap in the way people were getting access to any type of training and decided to create an app to solve the problem.

“Most recently, we built games on active shooters, mass causalities, fire safety. We have probably in the last 90 days have built more harassment training and diversity training games for big companies,” said Caucci.

It’s a way to learn on the go, a trivia game you can play on your phone that gets people ready for their next interview or job or, in this case, the TABE test.

“The last thing you want to do when you go to work is take a quiz or get tested. So in a lot of ways, we’re trying to make training more fun,” said Caucci.

Just under a year ago, his company donated the game to the city of Newark.

“Our company took the job readiness training and the technical training for that TABE test and we gamified it,” said Caucci.

Although the unemployment rate in Newark has decreased over the past few years, it still remains higher than the state average.

Tom Bacote, director of the Mayor’s Office of Employment and Training in Newark, says anyone who walks through their doors seeking vocational training is given the app.

“We receive around 250 clients a week,” said Bacote. “The best part of a crime prevention plan is a good jobs program. … With just five minutes of use of this app, an individual increases their chance of meeting basic skills proficiency by 50 percent.”

Bravo said he wouldn’t have passed the exam as quickly if it weren’t for the app. But when he did, he says it wasn’t just an accomplishment for him, it was also for his nine-year-old daughter.

“I would like to have a lasting impression on her also, and her life, where she can look and say, ‘my dad did this and did that to better us,'” he said.

Bravo says tools like 1Huddle will help him get there faster.