The Idea
—In Design Research

at MFA Products of Design, students Eden Lew, Natsuki Hayashi, Panisa Khunprasert and Belen Tenorio developed the idea of Ascend, a work-study program that is invested in helping workers acquire new skills to move up in life.

Research

The team started off with preliminary research in the issues surrounding minimum wage. was one on my The team started off with preliminary research in the issues surrounding minimum wage. After interviewing three minimum wage workers, William, Dalkeith and Mary, they decided to focus on middle-aged minimum workers. All three subjects expressed a need for savings, concern for their children, and struggles with government welfare programs.

rapid
prototyping
After the interviews,

the team crafted insights around the subject of budgeting and key passions in their lives. The team also realized that many minimum wage workers feel trapped in a welfare program that doesn’t allow them to move forward in their careers.

Design Principles
Here is an uncomfortable gap of ,

insecurity and instability when a worker starts making higher incomes that force her or him out of welfare benefits. Although she/he may be earning more, the
loss of Medicaid, Medicare and supplemental housing
can be too much of a sacrifice.