“MOM FoR STAR,” a web design employment project for single mothers in Okinawa jointly organized by Lexues Inc., FOURDIGIT Inc., and the support group Single Mothers Forum Okinawa, has been awarded the 2021 Good Design Award.
What is MOM FoR STAR?
MOM FoR STAR is a web design employment and collaboration project for single mothers in Okinawa. Through collaboration with digital design companies and support groups, this project helps them start from zero experience to acquire skills and become active in the web industry. This project aims to support single mothers to improve their skills and careers, and to create an environment where they can work with financial stability and a sense of fulfillment. The project began in April 2021 and currently has five participants in its first year.
Features of MOM FoR STAR
- Increase wages by acquiring specialized web-based skills, and lift single mothers out of poverty
- Establish mechanisms to work for wages at out-of-prefecture levels by offering work with companies outside of Okinawa, particularly those based in Tokyo
- Hourly wages are given during the training program, and support groups provide lifestyle support to create an environment that allows participants to take on challenges
Background of the Good Design Award
While the employment rate of single mothers in Okinawa Prefecture is over 90%, and the percentage of mothers who work multiple jobs is high, their income is 7% lower than the national average, with many of them living in a state of poverty. When asked about what kind of work-related support they want, the most common response was “support for acquiring skills and qualifications,” indicating that many of them are interested in skill and career development but are unable to take such steps forward because of the family financial difficulties in the way. (*Okinawa Prefecture Survey of Single-Parent Households, etc., FY 2018)
On the other hand, the shortage of human resources in the digital design industry is also a major challenge. With the MOM FoR STAR project, we thought that by welcoming single mothers in Okinawa as work colleagues in the digital design industry, we could design a business scheme that would be mutually beneficial and allow us to grow together.
Digital design firms in Tokyo and Okinawa have joined forces to create a system that enables remote execution of work for Tokyo-level wages. In addition, we have also developed a unique training program that leads to practical work. This program has been commended for building an implementation system that transcends regional boundaries and taking on the challenge of socially meaningful activities.
“In the midst of this chronic human resource shortage, it is very important to create an environment that enables people who want to work but are unable to do so. It is also socially significant to provide a working environment for more vulnerable members of society. Given this background and other factors, employment support for single mothers makes a lot of sense. To make it even better, providing services on an ongoing basis is a must. We hope that they will continue to build on their innovations and provide the support that so many single mothers need.”
The five participants in the first year of the project began web skills training in April 2021. Three participants have completed the training thus far, and having acquired sufficient skills, they are currently engaged in web operations. The participants who were trained in the first year will be expected to teach as mentors in the second year. This will encourage the growth of the MOM FoR STAR community as an ongoing project.