BOSTON — Nov. 19, 2020 — Launched in 2020 in response to unprecedented labor market volatility, the Future of Work Grand Challenge today announced its selection of workforce board pilot partners, regional organizations that advance community-led workforce and economic development strategies. Chosen for their records of innovation and effectiveness, each workforce board selected will receive tailored support and funding to pilot innovations to connect more than 25,000 COVID-impacted workers with new skills and employment opportunities.

The Future of Work Grand Challenge was created through a groundbreaking collaboration between leading social impact organizations New Profit, JFF, XPRIZE, MIT Solve, and Jobcase. The data gained from piloting new technology will help regional teams refine solutions in real time, create shorter feedback loops, and better align new approaches to employment services with workforce boards across the county.

“Across the country, future-focused workforce boards are evolving their operations, strategies, and services to the changing world of work and the ever-shifting labor market brought on by COVID-19,” said Maria Flynn, president and CEO of JFF. “The Future of Work Grand Challenge is bringing together the best of emerging technology with the critical infrastructure of local workforce organizations to build a better career navigation and employment experience for workers in need of support.”

With each local site drawing upon its unique reach and expertise within its region, the local workforce boards will be responsible for connecting project teams with employers to inform the development of solutions that reflect real-time local or regional labor market demand. The boards will also be responsible for recruiting participants for each pilot project.

Here are the workforce boards selected as pilot sites for the Future of Work Grand Challenge:

  • Capital Workforce Partners, a Hartford, Connecticut-based nonprofit that helps individuals overcome barriers to employment and works to close the skills gap in the local labor market to meet employers’ hiring needs.
  • Hampton Roads Workforce Council, a Southeastern Virginia service provider that develops strategic workforce development solutions to help qualified workers identify job openings and training opportunities.
  • MassHire Central Region Workforce Board, a Worcester, Massachusetts-based organization that provides career development services and more to meet the needs of diverse employers and jobseekers in more than 40 communities.
  • San Diego Workforce Partnership, an agency that funds and delivers programs that empower jobseekers to meet the current and future workforce needs of employers in San Diego County, California.
  • West Michigan Works! in partnership with Michigan Works! Southwest and Michigan Works! Berrien-Cass-Van Buren, engages with employers, educators, and community organizations to launch workforce development efforts that meet the region’s talent needs.
  • Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas, a provider of competitive solutions that help employers find quality workers and connect people with quality jobs.

“This unprecedented collaboration between entrepreneurs, philanthropy, employers, and local workforce development infrastructure is designed to spur innovation by putting equity at its core,” said Dr. Angela Jackson, partner at New Profit. “This is about breaking down historic silos within our public workforce system to help better serve the needs of employers and unemployed workers alike.”

New partners JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Comcast will provide meaningful support across the scope of the Future of Work Grand Challenge—from scaling the solutions themselves to expanding the capacity of selected workforce development boards.

The Future of Work Grand Challenge is supported by major funding from Walmart.org and Strada Education Network. They are joined by additional funders, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Comcast, Morgridge Family Foundation, CSU Global, and others. The Grand Challenge was launched earlier this year to identify and fund the most promising ideas and solutions to support a more equitable economic recovery and better meet the needs of low-income, middle-skill, and underserved workers in their communities.

Learn more about JFF and the workforce board pilot partners: www.jff.org/grandchallenge. Visit the Future of Work Grand Challenge landing page to learn more about the opportunities to engage: www.newprofit.org/go/fow-grand-challenge.

About JFF: JFF is a national nonprofit working to drive transformation in the American workforce and education systems. For 35 years, JFF has led the way in designing innovative and scalable solutions that create access to economic advancement for all. Join us as we build a future that works. www.jff.org

About New Profit: New Profit is a nonprofit venture philanthropy organization that backs breakthrough social entrepreneurs who are advancing equity and opportunity in America. New Profit’s investment strategy focuses on building a breakthrough portfolio to take on entrenched systemic challenges in America, particularly by driving resources and support to Black, Indigenous, and Latino/a/x social entrepreneurs who have unique proximity to solutions, but face stark racial funding disparities in philanthropy; investing in social entrepreneurs with new systems change models across a range of issues; and creating jobs and opportunity by funding Future of Work innovation.

About XPRIZE: XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. Active competitions include the $20 Million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $10 Million Rainforest XPRIZE, the $10 Million ANA Avatar XPRIZE, the $5 Million IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, and the $5 Million XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling. For more information about XPRIZE, please visit xprize.org or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn @xprize.

About MIT Solve: Solve is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a mission to solve world challenges. Solve is a marketplace for social impact innovation. Through open innovation Challenges, Solve finds incredible tech-based social entrepreneurs all around the world. Solve then brings together MIT’s innovation ecosystem and a community of Members to fund and support these entrepreneurs to help them drive lasting, transformational impact. Join Solve on this journey at solve.mit.edu.

About Jobcase: Founded in 2015, Jobcase is dedicated to empowering and advocating for the world’s workers. As a social media platform, Jobcase develops technology to help more than 110 million registered members lead better, more meaningful work-lives – providing access to jobs, tools and resources to take action, and a community for support. Jobcase technology also powers a network of job sites and many nonprofit-driven activities via its Jobcase network. Emerging as one of the fastest-growing technology companies in Boston, Jobcase is a Workday Ventures Partner and an industry-affiliate of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL). Jobcase also collaborates with employers, nonprofits and government agencies to both improve, and diversify access to opportunity and participation in the workforce. For more information, visit www.jobcase.com or contact PR@jobcase.com.

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