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The Future of Work Grand Challenge

November 18, 2020

At a Glance

Engaging with the American workforce system to create and scale pilots of winning solutions through partnerships with future-focused workforce boards.

Josh Copus Senior Director
Alex Swartsel Managing Director
Ben Sommer
Practices & Centers

Millions of COVID-impacted workers are now out of work, unsure of what their futures hold or whether their jobs—or even their industries—will return. In normal times, people who find themselves out of work turn first to the nation’s vast network of American Job Centers (AJC) for financial and practical assistance. But in the face of such urgent need—and at a time of unprecedented demand for digital services—the majority of AJCs find themselves engaged in an ongoing effort to update their systems and pivot to new models of delivering training and services to the people they serve.

This is a moment of cataclysmic change for the workforce system.

JFF, New Profit, XPRIZE, and MIT Solve have stepped up to address the challenge of modernizing the American workforce system with the Future of Work Grand Challenge. The goal of this equity-focused competition is to source bold ideas that will lead to innovative new ways to help displaced workers rapidly reskill so they can move into higher-wage jobs.

For the Grand Challenge, JFF is leading engagement with the American workforce system by focusing on creating pilots of winning solutions with workers, evaluating them for effectiveness, and scaling them through partnerships with future-focused workforce boards. Our goal is to equip the U.S. workforce system with tech-driven solutions sourced through the Grand Challenge, and thereby increase the access out-of-work Americans have to critical support and resources as they manage unemployment benefits, enroll in training, and explore new career opportunities.

Workforce Boards Leading the Way

Capital Workforce Partners

Hartford, CT

Hampton Roads Workforce Council

Norfolk, VA

MassHire Central Region

Wocester, MA

San Diego Workforce Partnership

San Diego, CA

West Michigan Works!

Grand Rapids, MI

Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas

Dallas, TX

The Grand Challenge partners envision a future of work where the most disinvested communities are deeply engaged in all aspects of economic recovery—where the brilliance of entrepreneurs of color is elevated, and where all workers, employers, and stakeholders are reaping the benefits of technology, innovation, and equitable investment.

Dr. Angela Jackson, a partner at New Profit and co-lead of its Future of Work strategy

The Grand Challenge of Changing How We Train America

How a national competition is connecting local communities with best-in-class technology solutions, and helping to transform the way the U.S. workforce system prepares workers for the future of work.

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