Veterans Hackday Finalists
November 16, 2011
Last Friday, we kicked off the first ever Veterans Hackday. We gave hackers around the country a simple mission: build awesome projects that benefit our veterans.
We got 44 submissions, including mobile apps, tools for finding jobs, websites for news, learning resources, social networking software, and more. We've put all of them into a project gallery for you to browse. A huge thanks to all hackers who devoted their time to this cause!
We spent several hours going through all the hacks and after much arguing, finally picked eleven finalists. That's right, eleven: there were so many good hacks that we just could not agree on ten. In retrospect, however, there is something charming about 11 finalists given that the Veterans Hackday kicked off on 11/11/11.
Here are the 11 hacks that will compete for prizes on November 29:
While military benefits provide some higher education assistance to veterans and their families, there are still many opportunities for additional education benefits though grants and scholarships. This app lists grants and scholarships for veterans, spouses of veterans, and dependents of veterans.
HeroSpark provides a voice to small veteran causes, connecting them with those who honor their service through moral and financial support. Using crowdsourcing and inexpensive publicity through social media, we give momentum to awesome ideas that otherwise would never receive the support they deserve. This service exists exclusively to further causes that support military veterans.
An email campaign to LinkedIn members to show you who in your network (including people you may know) has served in the military. The campaign is powered by a Hadoop job which figures out a personalized set of veterans for each member.
HeroConnect aims to connect Veterans to other Veterans in companies and locations they are interested in. Veterans can search for companies using a location and an industry. HeroConnect ranks the companies by their "Veterans Friendlyness" score! It lets you browse all the Veterans currently working at this company and connect with them.
Homeless shelters and VA programs spend money employing teams of individuals to drive around (especially in the winter) to look for homeless individuals. The Aid Patrol app intends to support those efforts by asking the average citizen to simply hit a button on the app when they see a homeless individual. Involving citizens to help directing these efforts more efficiently. This hack consists of two pieces, an iPhone app, and a website where local veteran organizations can see the aggregated information the users submitted through their phones and direct their help more efficiently.
Use Veterans to reconnect with other military veterans on LinkedIn. Find insights such as where they work, what types of jobs they have, and where they live.
A simple page online where Blue Button text data can be uploaded. It will then be converted into HTML, JSON and XML. The formats can be previewed, have text highlighted for easier viewing and easily search WebMD or Google by selecting text.
Its a mesh-up of web services, bringing together an informative page tailored for Veterans to make or act upon latest news feeds. Consider a news article bringing awareness of VA scams, detailing how Veterans can avoid being victims and what the next steps may be if they happen to find themselves in such situation.
We propose to create a Skills Co-op for Veterans which connects Tasks to Veterans. The Co-op trains them for new skills in demand, manages them as a team, handles their insurance etc. For users this is better because its more trustworthy than say Craigslist, they can hire people in teams and their work is guaranteed.
Online tool that allows veterans to search for job postings on LinkedIn using their military credentials. Also lists relevant civilian skills derived from these credentials to help map military experience to civilian jobs.
The "Chow Finder" is a mobile application for services members to easily locate dining facilities, aka "chow halls", on any military installation. It operates on any browser and most tablets and mobile phones.
Picking eleven finalists from so many great projects was tough and there were a few more that we just had to call out:
- survivingsoldiers.org: an important resource of information for veterans dealing with sexual assault.
- Communities4Vets: we always love seeing young hackers at work. Big props to Daniel Heyman, age 15, who spent his weekend working on something that helps veterans.
- Veteran Suicide Text Help Service: a product that has been in development for a couple years, so it's not eligible for this competition, but great work nonetheless.
On November 29, at 4pm, we will hold a public session where our celebrity judges - Sumit Agarwal, Tim O'Reilly and Jeff Weiner - will award awesome prizes to the top 3 projects. Make sure to follow @LinkedInEng on Twitter and join the Veterans Hackday Group for updates.