According to Chris Slee, founder and Chief Product Officer at AWH, “We are pleased to work with DACA Time on their important social, and meaningful, project.” Slee continued, “Using technology to help others is a core value for AWH and this project highlights just one way we can pursue that value.”
In 2012, the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program was formed through an executive order by President Obama. This immigration policy allowed undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as minors to be protected from immediate deportation and to receive work authorization. DACA recipients, known as Dreamers, could request “consideration of deferred action” for a period of two years, which was subject to renewal.
However, for many Dreamers, like DACA Time co-founder, Nathali Bertran, the process is complicated and expensive, requiring applicants to complete complex forms by hand. Determined to eliminate this barrier, Bertran, along with fellow DACA Time co-founder, Brook Kohn, brought their frustration with the DACA application process to GiveBackHack Columbus, a 54-hour hack-a-thon that brings community members together to create and launch sustainable solutions for social impact.
Kohn and Bertran met with other participants and formed a team to transform their idea into a sustainable social enterprise. They were joined, among others, by Derek DeHart, a product manager at Cover-My-Meds, developer Nicholas Tietz, and designer Christopher Barr. Over the course of the weekend, the team was mentored by top social entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, and venture capitalists, and developed a working prototype. It was there that Ryan Frederick, AWH principal and GiveBackHack Columbus judge, met the DACA Time team. “They were in the early stages of formulating their purpose and solution. As a mentor at the event, I remember how passionate and committed the team was to helping Dreamers,” Frederick stated. DACA Time went on to win crowd favorite, as well as a prize package consisting of initial funding and in-kind services to continue product validation.
The team went on to participate in the SEA Change social enterprise accelerator and was awarded the top prize at the SEA Change pitch event, providing them with additional funding to support the development of the DACA Time product. Shortly after the pitch event, however, the Trump administration announced that it would end DACA and asked Congress to form alternative legislation. Unsure of where to go next, the DACA Time team connected with the Dreamer community to understand how they can best serve them during this time of uncertainty. According to Kohn, “We are advocates for change that will empower Dreamers. If DACA expires, an average of 915 Dreamers will lose protection from deportation every day.” He continued, “There is a huge public outcry for legislation that provides a permanent solution. Whether it’s DACA or a new immigration policy, we will be here for Dreamers looking to gain renewal status.”
With further insight into the needs of the Dreamer community – and a growing waiting list for the product – DACA Time began the search for a technology partner before ultimately selecting AWH to extend and evolve the functionality of the current web application. For both parties, the partnership felt like a natural fit. According to Derek DeHart, DACA Time co-founder and COO, “We have great respect for the work AWH has done in the community and are excited to partner with another Columbus company as we work together to make a nationwide impact.” Frederick echoed DeHart saying, “At AWH, Be Great isn’t just a motto; it is important to us that we create products that positively impact people and the community – a mission much like that of the DACA Time team.”
In addition to developing the DACA Time web application, AWH will build a new component to the existing application known as The Evidence Timeline. This feature will allow Dreamers to easily and securely upload documentation, such as school transcripts or bills, that proves they were in the United States during the time frame required for DACA eligibility. Once the application is completed and payment is processed, users can print out and submit their application and download all information for their records.
The DACA Time project is scheduled to complete in spring 2018. To learn more, please visit https://dacatime.com/.
AWH is a 23-year old digital product consulting, user experience, and software development firm located in Dublin, OH. From startups to enterprise, we collaborate with clients to build great digital products through strong product management. Our team of experts helps organizations make product decisions driven and validated by customer/user focus and deliver products that solve high-value problems. Areas of expertise include user experience (UX), application and data architecture, APIs, data and analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence and machine learning. To learn more, please visit http://www.awh.net/.
Media Contact: Caitlin Zucal
Marketing Coordinator, AWH
About DACA Time
DACA Time is a low cost, simple, and secure DACA application platform. The nonprofit was formed in 2017 and is based in Columbus, OH.
Media Contact: Brook Kohn
CEO, DACA Time