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Call for Proposals: Go to Market Strategy for CAEL's Exponential Pathways (XP) Platform

REVISED May 18, 2023

Project Overview 

CAEL is pursuing a third-party vendor contract for assistance in developing a Go to Market strategy for its newly developed Exponential Pathways (XP) platform – assessing market opportunities for both the full product as well as for each of its three modularized components: Occupations and Career Pathways, Experience Registry, and Virtual Mentor. We seek to determine feasibility for this platform to reach a national audience of institutions and partners with interest in deploying it for a variety of jobseekers and students that they serve. 

About Connected Pathways

In 2021, CAEL was awarded a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), which encourages holistic solutions for improving access to postsecondary education. The CAEL-led Connected Pathways project set out to develop an inclusive and accessible career awareness platform for high school students and other young adults nationally, with localized pilot projects in six communities across the country. The resulting platform is called Exponential Pathways (XP), which has replaced “Connected Pathways” as the name for this project.

These regional sites are currently deploying pilot experiences of the XP platform, which surfaces local careers in high demand, highlights formal and informal skill-building experiences to prepare students and jobseekers for those careers, and lifts up success stories of local professionals working in those fields. These localized career exploration platforms will be deployed as pilots for students and jobseekers throughout 2023, demonstrating the value and importance of providing career exploration and skill-building opportunities for students and young adults--especially those from socially and economically disadvantaged communities and those who face barriers to higher education completion and employment.

Project Goals

CAEL is looking for assistance in evaluating the opportunities for bringing the XP product to a broader market of students and jobseekers–including, but not limited to, youth-serving organizations. This pilot has focused primarily on middle and high school age groups, and the desired Go to Market strategy would expand the scope of users who engage the platform, including adult learners, postsecondary students, and both youth and adult jobseekers engaged in the public workforce system. 

This Go to Market strategy should reflect CAEL’s intent to pursue business-to-business relationships with an expanded platform offering. CAEL’s end customers would be K-12 and higher education institutions, workforce boards and training providers, nonprofit organizations, municipal or community leaders, or other organizations interested in making the platform available to a number of jobseekers in their boundaries or service areas.

The target audiences include but are not limited to the following:

  • Youth-serving organizations including K-12 education institutions.
  • Higher education institutions, especially community and technical colleges.
  • Workforce Investment Boards and community-based organizations that serve job-seeking clients.
  • Chambers of commerce and economic development organizations.
  • Other nonprofit, community-based organizations.

Scope of Work

  • Detailed Market Analysis.
    • Evaluate the size of each potential target market.
    • Develop a competitive landscape review for career exploration platforms like Exponential Pathways.
    • Highlight opportunities and challenges of entering each target market (SWOT analysis).
  • Product Analysis
    • Conduct product analysis for each component of the platform (Occupations and Career Pathways, Experience Registry, and Virtual Mentor) as well as for the combined product, which contains all three components.
    • Analyze competitive advantages or gaps in XP’s features and components.
    • Develop effective pricing models and potential revenue.
    • Provide a detailed analysis and recommendation regarding the market readiness and viability of the individual components and combined product. Deliverables should include a written report and presentation (to be conducted virtually).
  • Initial Marketing Plan
    • Based on the recommendations following Product Analysis, CAEL may offer an addendum to the contract to include one of the following bodies of work:
      • If the product is not found to be market-ready, provide detailed strategies to increase its viability and market competitiveness.
      • If the product is found to be market-ready:
        • Develop an outreach strategy to connect with and inform CAEL's target audiences about the potential new platform offering.
        • Provide an estimated timeline for completion of the strategy's components.
        • Create draft promotional materials in a variety of formats that will best reach CAEL's target audiences.


Anticipated total funding for this scope of work may not exceed $70,000 for the duration of this contract award. Applicants should provide a detailed cost overview for completing this project, including specific cost estimates for each of the three components within the scope of work (Detailed Market Analysis, Product Analysis, and Initial Marketing Plan).

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants include non-profit and for-profit organizations, private sector entities, educational institutions, community-based organizations, and other entities operating in accordance with federal, state, and local law, and must have been in business for at least three years.

Entities that are presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible or voluntarily excluded from participation in this transaction by any Federal department or agency are not eligible.


An estimated timeline completion of this work is 90 days from the contract award date, or Aug. 31, 2023, whichever is later.

How to Apply

Interested providers may submit proposals by completing this form. The deadline to submit proposals is 5 p.m. ET on May 30, 2023.


Any questions must be sent in writing to Claire Muth at cmuth@cael.org by April 17, 2023. All questions and answers will be posted by April 21st, 2023.

Note: CAEL’s project is supported by the U.S. Department of Education. 100% of the project is financed with federal funds.