Competing teams were challenged to develop and demonstrate effective rapid training and reskilling solutions for individuals most vulnerable to employment loss
LOS ANGELES (Jan 24, 2023) – XPRIZE, the world’s leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges, today announced the conclusion of its Rapid Reskilling competition. The competition, sponsored by New Profit through the Future of Work Grand Challenge, incentivized teams from across the globe to quickly retrain under-resourced workers – particularly those most vulnerable to losing their jobs – and prepare them for the digital revolution.
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed and deepened longstanding, systemic barriers to employment and economic mobility, particularly for under-resourced individuals such as younger, part-time workers; women; people of color; and workers without college degrees. In June 2020, XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling launched to respond to this crisis by challenging teams to develop and demonstrate effective, rapid job training and reskilling solutions for these communities.
Participating teams developed training programs designed to last 3 to 18 weeks and prepare workers for full-time, entry-level jobs in the following industries: Sales, Office Administration, Healthcare, Hospitality, Transportation, Manufacturing, and Construction. The teams then trained workers using their programs, and hundreds of those workers were subsequently placed in jobs in these and other industries within 60 days post-training.
While a total prize purse of $1.2 million was awarded to participating teams over the course of the 30-month competition, no team was able to meet the grand prize criteria of scaling up their training program to train and place 5,000 workers in three industries across 10 months. As a result, although the $1.5 million grand prize will go unclaimed, teams will continue to receive support to advance the technologies developed through the Rapid Reskilling Prize. Through its XPRIZE alumni program, XPRIZE will continue working alongside the finalist teams to connect them with companies, aligned nonprofits and other groups to develop and expand their training programs.
“We are grateful for the impressive work of the finalist teams in our Rapid Reskilling competition, all of whom developed and demonstrated effective, rapid job training and reskilling solutions for members of communities most vulnerable to employment and wage loss,” said XPRIZE CEO Anousheh Ansari. “We know that the value and impact of a successful XPRIZE is really about the bold innovators that push boundaries, even if they do not go home with the grand prize. All of these teams should be proud of the impact of their efforts on hundreds of workers and their families nationwide. We look forward to maintaining our relationship to teams, including by engaging them in our Alumni Network, which exists to help teams scale the impact of their innovations on the world.”
The final round of the competition included the following teams:
- Dignified Work of Spokane, WA - Dignified Work’s job readiness program helps workers develop soft skills and learn about entry-level employment in the construction, healthcare, and social services fields.
- VITAL of Boston, MA - VITAL used an 8-week training, featuring a combination of hard skill and soft skill training and apprenticeships, to train workers for careers as sales representatives, supervisors of food preparation and service, and medical equipment preparers.
- SHIFA360 of San Diego, CA - SHIFA360 developed a 4-week online program accessible anywhere and anytime to reskill people for careers as community health workers, medical secretaries, and motor vehicle operators.
- Team Isotonik of Washington, D.C. - Team Isotonik merges cutting-edge technology with digital learning breakthroughs to help employers and employees to connect in an accessible, inclusive way that puts the unemployed back to work quickly. Their program specifically focuses on training medical assistants, cnc machine tool programmers, and administrative workers.
Workers and their families benefited financially from the training they received through the competition, as these employees are expected to gain a total of $8.7M in increased wages in one year, a $20,000 increase per worker. Prior to training, the average hourly wage of these workers was $8.80, which is expected to increase to $19 post Rapid Reskilling training.
“The Future of Work Grand Challenge brings together a wide range of employers, workers, innovators and philanthropic institutions to develop solutions for the economy of the future,” said Abby Marquand, a Partner and Economic Mobility lead at New Profit. “The results of the XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling competition represent important progress in innovation around job training, particularly for communities most impacted by pandemic job losses, the digital skills gap, and entrenched barriers to economic mobility. We hope the important work of these teams will both influence future reskilling efforts and drive policy change that centers the voices,needs, and assets of these communities.”
For more information on the competition, teams, advisory board, sponsors, partners, and more, visit rapidreskilling.xprize.org. Organizations interested in collaborating with participating teams on job training or reskilling efforts can reach out to [email protected].