The American talent landscape has reached a critical moment. Employers are competing for talent like never before, and workers are calling for training that secures and advances quality careers.
In the retail and service sectors in particular, developing opportunities for frontline talent is critical to staying competitive in industries where disruption is causing employers to reimagine talent strategies. Meanwhile, workers face a conundrum: relevant work experience is required for many jobs but is difficult or impossible to obtain without being in the workplace.
To address this challenge, with support from Walmart, we launched the first JFFLabs Impact Acceleration Cohort. This cohort is supported in partnership with JFF’s Center for Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning.
The JFFLabs Impact Acceleration Cohort members are:
Applicants shared bold visions and technologies in areas ranging from scheduling solutions that make working and learning more accessible to novel uses of artificial intelligence. JFFLabs evaluated applicants based on a variety of factors, including mission, product, market viability, team capacity, and measurability of impact.
We have selected four growth-stage companies from more than 60 applications. Each company provides a unique solution to the market and demonstrates an initial track record of success, making their products ready for scaled use.
During the four-month program, cohort members will receive tailored support and opportunities uncommon among other startup accelerators. The companies will meet with members of JFF and JFFLabs networks to develop and scale their solutions to new markets. Through this work, we aim to demonstrate the value of each solution while providing immediate benefits to workers, employers, and system stakeholders.
JFFLabs will be instrumental in helping us to tailor our tech apprenticeship model to enable retail workers across the country to access software development careers.
The JFFLabs Work-Based Learning Acceleration Cohort is an exciting way to connect with new partners and tap expertise to scale work-based learning.
With the help of JFFLabs, we look forward to establishing new models of community engagement and workforce development with a specific focus on the retail industry.
As Real World Scholars nears the end of our fifth year in existence, we know it's a pivotal time to reflect on our approach, take a hard look at what's working, and find leaner ways to bring value to the learning ecosystem.