Competitions Seek Job-Training Ideas in a Changing Economy

Posted August 10, 2020
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Applying for the Future of Work Grand Challange

The orga­ni­za­tions New Prof­it, MIT Solve, XPRIZE and oth­er part­ners of the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion recent­ly announced an ini­tia­tive that will iden­ti­fy and sup­port efforts to reshape work­force train­ing in an econ­o­my that’s chang­ing rapidly.

The Casey-sup­port­ed Future of Work Grand Chal­lenge, spear­head­ed by New Prof­it, refers to two relat­ed com­pe­ti­tions that seek to update work­force train­ing in an employ­ment land­scape trans­formed by myr­i­ad fac­tors — includ­ing an explo­sion in tech­nol­o­gy and new jobs that require spe­cial­ized train­ing and knowl­edge. Both efforts seek to pro­vide local work­force boards with new tools and solu­tions and help thou­sands of dis­placed work­ers through train­ing and place­ments in grow­ing occu­pa­tions that pay fam­i­ly-sus­tain­ing wages.

The com­pe­ti­tions will focus par­tic­u­lar­ly on strate­gies that help those who have his­tor­i­cal­ly faced bar­ri­ers to edu­ca­tion, train­ing and eco­nom­ic mobil­i­ty, espe­cial­ly work­ers of col­or and young adults. They also aim to sup­port a diverse set of inno­va­tors and entrepreneurs.

Many young work­ers were strug­gling with dis­place­ment and fac­ing bar­ri­ers to gain­ing high-demand skills before the recent eco­nom­ic down­turn that was spurred by COVID-19 — which has only exac­er­bat­ed prob­lems for many indi­vid­u­als,” says Alli­son Ger­ber, a senior asso­ciate with the Casey Foun­da­tion. We hope young peo­ple in par­tic­u­lar will ben­e­fit from fresh, inno­v­a­tive work­force-train­ing ideas that can be quick­ly scaled and help them gain nec­es­sary skills in an econ­o­my trans­formed by tech­nol­o­gy, automa­tion and oth­er factors.”

XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling

Teams select­ed to par­tic­i­pate in the XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling com­pe­ti­tion — which will span two and a half years — will work with local work­force devel­op­ment boards and employ­ers to test solu­tions they’ve devel­oped to quick­ly retrain unem­ployed work­ers for high-demand jobs that pay fam­i­ly-sus­tain­ing wages. XPRIZE, which will run the con­test, encour­ages diverse and inclu­sive teams made up of peo­ple of col­or and those who come from low-income back­grounds — and for par­tic­i­pants to tai­lor their solu­tions to help those populations.

Teams that demon­strate they can train 500 work­ers in half the time that’s stan­dard for their select­ed occu­pa­tions and indus­tries will then seek to place work­ers with employ­ers and help to keep them retained for at least 90 days. From there, judges will ask the most suc­cess­ful teams to demon­strate that their mod­els and strate­gies can be adopt­ed wide­ly by hav­ing them attempt to rapid­ly train and place an addi­tion­al 5,000 work­ers in three sep­a­rate industries.

XPRIZE plans to announce win­ners in ear­ly 2023, with the first-place team receiv­ing $1.5 mil­lion and sec­ond- and third-place teams split­ting $500,000. An addi­tion­al $3 mil­lion will be award­ed to fund teams’ work through­out the competition.

Teams — which can be made up of indi­vid­u­als of all back­grounds — can reg­is­ter at no cost by Sep­tem­ber 30. Appli­cants who miss that ear­ly reg­is­tra­tion dead­line must pro­vide team details and pay a reg­is­tra­tion fee of $250 by Novem­ber 20. XPRIZE will launch a sub­mis­sion process for teams’ pro­pos­als that out­line their strate­gies and busi­ness plans start­ing in Sep­tem­ber and end­ing Novem­ber 30

Find detailed infor­ma­tion here.

MIT Solve: Reimag­in­ing Path­ways to Employ­ment in the U.S. Challenge

The Reimag­in­ing Path­ways to Employ­ment in the U.S. Chal­lenge aims to iden­ti­fy and sup­port promis­ing ideas to help work­ers assess their skills and find work in high-growth indus­tries — with up to $625,000 in prize fund­ing available.

Appli­cants with solu­tions that focus on non-coastal states or on expand­ing racial equi­ty are encour­aged to par­tic­i­pate. Among oth­er things, the ini­tia­tive — run by MIT Solve in part­ner­ship with the Mor­gridge Fam­i­ly Foun­da­tion and New Prof­it — calls on indi­vid­u­als or teams to sub­mit solu­tions that:

  • increase access to qual­i­ty, afford­able edu­ca­tion­al and train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, par­tic­u­lar­ly for those who are unem­ployed or seek­ing work;
  • cre­ate train­ing pro­grams that empha­size com­pe­ten­cy, con­tin­ued learn­ing and gain­ing credentials;
  • ensure edu­ca­tion providers and work­force devel­op­ment pro­grams con­nect their ser­vices to employ­er and indus­try needs, and are able to serve the needs of diverse work­ers; and
  • sup­port Black, Indige­nous and Lati­no inno­va­tors, who often receive lit­tle fund­ing from the non­prof­it and pri­vate sectors.

Appli­cants can find sub­mit pro­pos­als by Novem­ber 9.

Learn about how phil­an­thropy can sup­port work­ers in a trans­form­ing economy

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