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Better Jobs for Black, Indigenous, and Latinx Workers in a Post-Pandemic World

“With Covid-19, the future of work became the present,” said New Profit Partner Angela Jackson in a recent conversation with Quartz.com reporter Anne Quito.

Angela Jackson

“We realized that many jobs disappeared overnight … and that any training we offered around the future of work needed to be rapid, cost efficient, and time efficient.”

New Profit is a Boston-based venture-philanthropy organization that backsbreakthrough social entrepreneurs who are advancing equity and opportunity in the U.S. Jackson, a member of MIT Solve’s Challenge Leadership Group for Good Jobs & Inclusive Entrepreneurship, is also New Profit’s point person for a new two-year, six-million-dollar ideas competition called The Future of Work Grand Challenge.

Launched in collaboration with MIT Solve and the L.A.-based XPrize Foundation, the challenge calls for teams to generate inventive job-training solutions that can be scaled up rapidly to train and place 25,000 pandemic-displaced workers into living-wage jobs. “What we’re hoping to do is offer validated solutions that are proven to help people not just to upskill, but to actually find jobs,” Jackson told Quartz.

Better careers in months, not years
The nature of work has been in flux for decades, and mainstream undergraduate programs have largely failed to equip workers for high-demand professions that don’t require four-year degrees. Thought leaders such as MIT Sloan Principle Research Scientist Andrew MacAfee and MIT Sloan Professor Erik Brynjolfsson have called for better alignment of pathways to current and future employment—pathways that match affordable, efficient skills training to growing categories of unfilled jobs. Brynjolfsson also serves as a mentor and judge for many MIT Solve challenges.

As part of The Future of Work Grand Challenge, MIT Solve is running the six-month Re-imaging Pathways to Employment in the U.S. competition to crowdsource paradigm-shifting initiatives designed to help unemployed and underemployed workers transition to better careers in the new economy. The call for submissions places special emphasis on solutions that advance racial justice, inclusion, and equity in non-coastal states and U.S. interior regions. Successful solutions will direct resources and support to Black, Indigenous, and Latinx entrepreneurs and innovators and enable learners to make informed decisions about which pathways and jobs suit them.

Submissions are due November 9, 2020, and finalists, who will be supported with virtual coaching sessions, will pitch their concepts on January 24–26, 2021. Winners will have access to a $625,000 prize pool to help launch their solutions.









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