The Approach

Human-Centered Design (HCD)

Conducting human-centered research allows us to design and build experiences upon a foundation of empathy and understanding.

Junior Achievement of Western PA took a human-centered research approach to better understand existing student attitudes, their awareness of the skilled trades, and their preferences across education, gaming and social media to get to the heart of how best to aid students in planning for their future careers. Human-centered research allowed us to hear first-hand stories from skilled trades professionals that need to be told throughout the experiences.

That ongoing pursuit of understanding will enable us to create ideal experiences that will fulfill students’ and skilled trades professionals’ needs and complement current behaviors of individuals and communities. These experiences will create a strategic path forward for students entering skilled trades careers that will make a lasting impact and mold the future of our communities.



13 Student Interviews

Conducted student interviews to better understand their attitudes and predispositions and what matters when it comes to their education and futures.

19 Expert Interviews

Spoke with skilled trades industry professionals to understand the stories that needs to be unveiled throughout the curriculum. 


Explored research and opinions to uncover inspiration for the skilled trades platform experience.

Expert Interviewees

Turning Research into Experience: Creating Moments That Matter


Statements that capture and bring to light new understandings of the context and make us view the world in a different way.

Expert Stories

Influential skilled trades stories heard in the research that need to be told to engage and impact students in a meaningful, lasting manner.

Design Principles

Guidelines for design and development of the skilled trades platform experience – built around insights from the student interviews.

Development Strategies

Guidelines for the creation of content, curriculum and programming – built out of the expert insights.