With so much media coverage of the problems afflicting the American workforce in a rapidly-changing economy, amplifying solutions that bring workers into new jobs can be a challenge. MIT Solve, an initiative from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wants organizations to take on this Global Challenge and is offering grant prizes to bring these solutions to scale.
MIT Solve’s “Work of the Future” Challenge is part of four worldwide problems in need of “tech-powered and human-centric” solutions. Instead of dealing with the nebulous “future of work” concept, Solve is focusing on the work instead of the anxiety that stories about automation and its effect on the workforce can generate.
“The truth is, there will always be work. The question we’re grappling with is: how will that work make us feel? Will we continue to derive from it a sense of purpose, community, identity, and income? This is what’s at stake,” says MIT Solve on its website.
$10,000 will be awarded to successful applicants from the for-profit or nonprofit organizations for their projects on how to address these specific issues:
- How to prepare workers with the skills employers need.
- How data can be used to improve job-seekers’ and employers’ decision-making.
- Improving the gig economy so workers have the social safety net that traditional workers enjoy.
- Making robot-enabled workplaces safer for humans.
- Ensuring representation for all communities so they can participate in the new economy.
Every year, the folks at MIT Solve invite the best and brightest entrepreneurs to join their community of Solvers. If you have an idea that takes on the problems listed above, apply by July 1 to take part. If selected, MIT Solve will deploy its global network of partners to work on scaling this solution outward to make a meaningful and lasting impact.
In addition to the $10,000 Solve award, the winning applicant will also be eligible for additional prizes from the MIT Solve community and funding from General Motors and the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation.
WorkingNation has highlighted several organizations that have taken on the issues mentioned in the MIT Solve challenge. Get inspired by these programs and apply what they have learned to advance your ideas.
- Upskill America is working to match workers’ skills with the job training they need to advance their careers. Many companies who retrain and upskill their current workforce are seeing positive returns on their investment.
- Credential Engine, funded by Lumina Foundation, is using data-driven solutions to bring clarity to the credentialing process. The initiative has a growing database of participating postsecondary schools to offer more information for students, policymakers and employers to make smarter decisions about investing in higher education.
- WorkingNation shared this story about Veo Robotics, which is pioneering a safer workplace environment for humans and their robot co-workers.
- The Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative has a look at the deficiencies of the gig economy and independent contractor work to support its workforce with healthcare and unemployment benefits. Modernizing these programs to suit the needs of this growing workforce will be critical to strengthening the social safety net.
- Our Do Something Awesome series focused on how the EnCorps STEM Teachers Program is incorporating the skills and experience of engineers and STEM professionals into California classrooms. These teachers and mentors are placed in high needs schools to introduce a new and diverse generation to STEM careers. Watch the mini-documentary below.
While we are concerned about the future of work and the MIT Solve Global Challenge addresses this topic, the other three challenges can play a direct role in shaping our future workforce. Improving educational equity, mitigating the effects of climate change on coastal communities and developing frontline healthcare workers are all critical issues that have their foundation in jobs of the future.
With more than $650,000 in awards available for winning applications and projects, weaving together solutions to each challenge could change the world within the next decade. If you or your organization is up to the task, then submit your application by the July 1 deadline.
Join the Conversation: Share your ideas for solving the Challenges issued by MIT Solve on our Facebook page.