15 Bold Ideas for the Future of Work
New Profit unveils top 15 ideas for an equitable future of work as the Future of Work Grand Challenge enters its implementation phase
In June 2020, New Profit, in partnership with XPRIZE, JFF, MIT Solve, and a coalition of partners, launched the Future of Work Grand Challenge. The name is not hyperbole; facing a growing skills gap and crippling student debt amidst a global pandemic, the Grand Challenge set out to rebuild the economy and create a future of work that works for everyone.
Today, New Profit announced 15 solutions that will enter the next phase of the Grand Challenge. This phase of the initiative will focus on the implementation and validation of the selected solutions to rapidly reskill 25,000 workers into higher-wage jobs, and equip influential workforce boards with vetted tools to help get Americans back to work.
I’m proud of how far we have come since June 2020. We have intentionally and thoughtfully woven equity into every level of the Grand Challenge. Today’s announcement represents the most diverse cohort of entrepreneurs in terms of race, ethnicity and socioeconomic backgrounds from XPRIZE and MIT Solve challenges. As we move forward, the solutions teams will conduct deep testing at job centers in six states to ensure that the new technologies not only train people for new skills and jobs of the future — but also lead to meaningful employment, a living wage, and actual job placement.
The selected solutions address a wide range of systemic barriers to learning, career progress and socioeconomic mobility. In testing these ideas, entrepreneurs will need to demonstrate how job-seekers will be equipped with skills and competencies that enable them to secure a job that pays a living wage and offer career advancement opportunities that allow for upward mobility.
The following ideas represent the start of a new future — one that is focused on the communities most impacted by pandemic job losses, the digital skills gap, and centuries of unfair policies and practices:
- Dismantling the unpaid internship culture in the arts industry. Arts2Work is the first national workforce model for media careers centered on Registered Apprenticeship.
- Promoting entrepreneurship as a pathway towards economic opportunity. Centro App is driving financial inclusion and asset ownership amongst vulnerable individuals empowering them to build economic resilience and stability.
- Preparing workers for lucrative jobs in the new green economy. ChargerHelp! equips residents from marginalized communities in South Los Angeles with training and certification to promote career advancement in the fast-growing field of electric vehicle charging station technology.
- Training and placement support for technology jobs with continued growth. Generation USA provides free, bootcamp-style job training and placement support to unemployed and underemployed individuals — driven by an ambitious goal of training 500,000 people by 2030.
- Breaking the cycle of incarceration. The Last Mile is committed to breaking the cycle of incarceration by teaching the in-demand skills of today’s job market inside of prisons.
- Teaching new skills through intelligent avatar technology. Alelo’s mission is to provide every learner and teacher with an avatar teaching assistant, to accelerate skills development, and to improve learning outcomes at scale.
- Disrupting dated skill-building approaches in favor of holistic models. Dignity of Work is made up of three organizations (Career Path Services, WholeStory, and ANEW) building an advanced digital learning management system that uses evidence-based approaches to guide workers onto pathways of greater resilience and career success, with a focus on the construction industry.
- Immersive VR/AR skills training for displaced workers. HireMee is an AI-enabled SaaS platform dedicated to the assessment, training, and placement of displaced workers and those wanting to up-skill or re-skill.
- Creating a new path to improved economic opportunity for under-served Mississippians. Through its full-stack software development training program, Mississippi Coding Academies makes coders employable after 10 weeks of training and provides continued professional development over the course of 11 months.
- “Learning on the job” before ever applying. Practera partners with universities, community colleges, government agencies, and others to build and deploy award-winning employability and professional skill development programs that scale to tens of thousands of learners.
- Creating accelerated skilling pathways through declared skills and “soft skills.” Pragya’s mission is to facilitate lifelong learning by supporting workers to align their academic, co-curricular, and experiential learning experiences to careers and jobs throughout their life.
- Technology-enabled, human-centric solutions for refugees. Since its inception, Somali Family Service (SFS) has provided culturally and linguistically appropriate programs and services to members of the San Diego Somali and other refugee and immigrant communities, easing their transition and ensuring successful functioning in their new home.
- Gamifying the job search process. Shimmy envisions a future where unemployed workers can play bite-sized, mobile games while exploring sewn goods manufacturing careers.
- Creating effective, direct, and scalable pathways between training and employment. VITAL’s training solution targets medical equipment preparers and consists of a learning management system, VR technology, cloud computing, learn-by-doing methodology, human skills development, mentorship support, career assistance, and critical wraparound services.
- Democratizing real-time training solutions. WEKIT ECS is developing a personalized learning platform that facilitates the rapid training of Medical Assistants using mixed reality, biometrics, and neuro-adaptive AI for personalization.
On a personal level, I’m thrilled to see this work come to life. The Grand Challenge has been a labor of love, collaboration, and learning. I’m grateful to all our partners and workers who have offered their invaluable time, resources, and insight.
To learn more about the solutions and Future of Work Grand Challenge outcomes, please visit: https://www.newprofit.org/future-of-work/.