2019 Design Challenge Finalist

Why Should You Participate in the SourceAmerica Design Challenge?

  • Get real-world engineering experience by developing people-centered design solutions
  • Visit Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers and raise awareness of the challenges people with disabilities face in the workplace
  • Improve the earning potential for people with disabilities
  • Create a positive, lasting impact on community-based nonprofit agencies that employ people with disabilities
  • Earn school credits
  • Win monetary awards

The best part is probably just being able to see the design go through and actually being able to apply everything I’ve learned and being able to see it in real life and then also being able to actually watch as my device is actually helping someone.

Kaitlyn Dempsey

2018 Design Challenge Student Participant

How It Works

As a participant in the Design Challenge, you will form a team; collaborate with a person with a disability (subject matter expert) in your community or at one of SourceAmerica’s member nonprofit agencies to identify a workplace challenge they are experiencing; design a technology to address that challenge; and build, test, fine-tune and document your invention. Winning teams will travel to Washington, DC to showcase their designs, meet with members of Congress and compete for awards.

All teams must include a student team leader, student team members, a coach and a person with a disability who will serve as the team’s subject matter expert. Subject matter experts will co-design and test the invention and will use it in their workplace. All inventions must be employment-related and will be evaluated based on their impact, not technological sophistication.

Get Started

The student team leader must register for the Design Challenge. After registering, the student team leader will receive a team login and password for our file-sharing system, Egnyte, and access to download the "Design Challenge Rule Book". 

To start your project, use your team's information to log into the Egnyte portal, download the required registration forms and the "Design Challenge Rule Book" from the "Information" folder.

Use your team's information to log into the Egnyte portal to upload the completed registration forms to your team folder.

  • Find an SME in your community or reach out to a nonprofit member using the NPA locator . Each team must develop a piece of technology and a process designed to overcome a workplace obstacle for a person with a disability.
  • When choosing a project, remember your invention or process must be workplace/employment-related, and you should review the "How to Pick a Project Handout."

Use your team's information to log into the Egnyte portal to upload the completed projects to your team folder. Your project must include a brief project summary, an Authors' Agreement, a Technical Paper, 3D Model Drawings or software code, a video, and additional team paperwork*.


*See the "Design Challenge Rule Book" for the full list in the information folder on the Egnyte portal.

Judges will evaluate the projects based on their positive impact on the workplace, such as job creation/retention, wage increases, production increases, contracts gained, waste reduction, stress/anxiety reduction, and improved processes.

Five high school teams and three college teams will be chosen as national winners. If your team is chosen as a national winner, SourceAmerica will notify your coach. SourceAmerica sponsors and arranges your travel to the finals event. Where the national winners will present their projects and compete for monetary awards.