Today, XPRIZE, a nonprofit organization that uses global competitions to crowdsource solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges, announced their latest competition, XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling, which aims to reinvent job training methods for disinvested communities. The competition, which kicks-off today, is sponsored by nonprofit venture philanthropy organization, New Profit.
XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling is about training underestimated people to gain new skills and secure employment amid drastic changes in the workforce due to technological advances as well as market shifts from COVID-19. XPRIZE is searching for teams to develop a solution to reskill, train, and retain workers in new innovative ways that can be applied to multiple occupations. Teams must prove reskilling can be done two-times faster than current solutions and must be affordable, accessible, and collaborative. The focus will be on over 80 occupations that are growing at rates faster than the national average, require only a high school diploma or post-secondary certificate, and pay above the living wage. The goal is to set a new standard for how current and future generations of workers are trained for the jobs of tomorrow
“On the 100th Day of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we launched one of our most important competitions to date,” said XPRIZE CEO Anousheh Ansari. “XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling is designed to address the reality of a changing workforce where technology is displacing workers at unprecedented pace, which has only been heightened by COVID-19. XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling reimagines the entire work process from education to employment, and we’re excited to work with New Profit to help uplift the American labor market and better prepare workers for the digital revolution.”
In the current climate, this is especially important for Black and Latin/x citizens. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, last month 17.6% of Latinos and 16.8% of African-Americans were unemployed, while their white counterparts saw a 2.5% drop in unemployment. XPRIZE is committed to ensuring that the teams reflect the communities they’re working to serve, their goal is to have at least 40 percent of the teams made up of people of color.
“New Profit is thrilled to support XPRIZE and we believe that the teams selected will help us shape a more equitable future of work,” said Dr. Angela Jackson, a Partner at New Profit who co-leads the organization’s Future of Work strategy and designed the Grand Challenge. “At New Profit, we are focused on building a breakthrough portfolio to take on entrenched systemic challenges in America, particularly by driving resources and support to Black, Indigenous, and Latinx social entrepreneurs who have unique proximity to solutions. XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling will help identify and accelerate solutions created by and for communities most impacted by centuries of unfair policies and practices. We look forward to seeing the outcomes.”
XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling is part of New Profit’s broader Future of Work Grand Challenge, a collaborative, cross-sector effort that will help prepare 12 million Americans from disinvested communities for workforce success by 2025. The Future of Work Grand Challenge also includes the Reimagining Pathways to Employment in the US Challenge from MIT Solve.
XPRIZE is no stranger to solving major problems on a global scale. Current radical XPRIZE competitions include the ANA Avatar XPRIZE, which is creating avatar systems that can transport human presence to remote locations in real-time, and the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, which is developing breakthrough technologies to convert CO2 emissions into everyday, usable products.
“We’ve been at the forefront of innovation for 25 years,” Dr. Emily Musil Church, Executive Director of Equity at XPRIZE. “The future of work isn’t robotics, or artificial intelligence, or automation, it is and will always be about people. XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling will create a future in which all workers can rapidly attain new and more relevant skills to equal the pace of technological developments.”