BOSTON June 14, 2023 —Jobs for the Future (JFF), a national nonprofit that drives transformation in the U.S. education and workforce systems, today announced the launch of its new Center for Artificial Intelligence &the Future of Work. This center will play an integral role in JFF’s mission and newly announced 10-year North Star goal to help 75 million people facing systemic barriers to advancement work in quality jobs. As AI’s explosive growth reshapes every aspect of how we learn, work, and live, this new center will serve as a nexus of collaboration among stakeholders from every part of the education-to-career ecosystem to explore the most promising opportunities—and profound challenges—of AI’s potential to advance an accessible and equitable future of learning and work.
“While we have yet to realize the full impact of AI on the workforce, we must be proactive in harnessing its power and maximizing its potential to help people advance economically,” said Maria Flynn, JFF’s president and CEO. “JFF’s Center for Artificial Intelligence & the Future of Work will catalyze these efforts and ensure that workers of all backgrounds and experiences as well as businesses thrive in this rapidly emerging landscape.”
In a forthcoming survey commissioned by JFF and conducted by Morning Consult, workers recognized the importance of skills related to AI. While only 1 in 10 workers said they are currently experiencing AI at work—receiving AI training, using it in their role, or seeing AI-related staffing changes—over half feel they need to gain new skills as a result of AI’s impact (58%), but a majority do not trust their employer to support them in understanding AI (88%). JFF believes it is important to move quickly, responsibly leverage AI to accelerate progress toward achieving its North Star, and identify concrete ways to support workers and learners in the near term.
“No industry will be untouched by AI. Its potential is limitless and its power still to be seen, so it’s essential for those of us who are committed to harnessing AI for good to ensure it is used ethically,” said Howard Boville, JFF board member and head of IBM Cloud Platform. “JFF has a tremendous track record in incubating cutting-edge innovations that drive economic advancement. As a JFF board member, I applaud this new center and I see a great opportunity for JFF to leverage their expertise in developing insights, connecting decision makers, and shaping policy around AI to empower workers and learners, employers, educators, and entrepreneurs for years to come.”
JFF’s new Center for Artificial Intelligence & the Future of Work’s initial focus will include cross-sector convenings, research, and insights to identify best practices for leveraging AI to accelerate skill development, improvements in job quality, and economic advancement. The center will focus on connecting policy with practices that are grounded in equitable applications of AI so all learners and workers can gain access to and benefit from this fast-spreading technology. By deploying JFF’s cross-sector networks and convening power, the center will facilitate knowledge sharing and scalable solutions that drive positive outcomes for people and businesses.
The center will be incubated under JFFLabs, the innovation lab of JFF that provides the infrastructure to bring solutions from ideation to national-scale social impact. JFFLabs’ proven model of insights, incubation, and investment provides robust market analysis, identifies emerging trends, and invests in promising innovators to create, test, and scale transformative models that drive equitable economic advancement. Other incubated practice lines within JFFLabs include climate innovation and lifelong learning.
“Economic equity is, finally, about human potential—the opportunity for each and every one of us to thrive. It is our responsibility to harness AI with purpose and care,” said Kristina Francis, executive director of JFFLabs. “As we incubate new capabilities at JFFLabs, we will work across JFF and the field to discover, learn, iterate, and carefully integrate AI into existing systems while exploring how new models help realize AI’s fullest potential.”
Alex Swartsel, a managing director at JFFLabs, will lead the Center for Artificial Intelligence & the Future of Work. This builds on her current portfolio within JFFLabs including several extended reality (XR), immersive learning, and AI-related projects and partnerships with organizations such as Intel, Meta, and Unity. Swartsel will guide the center’s foundational efforts, working closely with JFF’s practice and center leaders to cultivate strategic partnerships and drive effective portfolio management.
The launch of the Center for Artificial Intelligence & the Future of Work reaffirms JFF’s commitment to fostering inclusive economic growth and preparing workers for the jobs of the future. By leveraging AI’s potential and addressing its challenges, JFF and its partners aim to create a workforce and education ecosystem that thrives in the age of AI.
For more information about the Center for Artificial Intelligence & the Future of Work please visit www.jff.org/ai
About Jobs for the Future:
Jobs for the Future (JFF) drives transformation of the U.S. education and workforce systems to achieve equitable economic advancement for all. www.jff.org