Since the start of COVID-19, the U.S. has been rocked to its core as unemployment continues to rise while displacing many Americans from their jobs — specifically those a part of disinvested communities who have especially felt the effects of the pandemic.
Over 100 days later and the country is still in search of answers to our socioeconomic issues as they relate to unemployment. However, thanks to these nonprofit organizations, we can expect to see a change on the horizon.
XPRIZE — a nonprofit organization that uses global competitions to crowdsource solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges — and New Profit — a nonprofit venture philanthropy organization that backs breakthrough social entrepreneurs in America — have joined forces. The two have announced a competition called XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling — powered by XPRIZE and MIT Solve — that aims to reinvent job training methods for displaced workers and get people back to work.
The XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling Prize contest recruits teams to create solutions around reskilling, training, and retaining workers in new innovative ways that can be applied to multiple occupations as technological advancements continue to contribute to job displacement.
Not only does XPRIZE and New Profit’s contest address the rise of unemployment in America as it relates to the digital revolution, but they’re also addressing how this current climate is affecting Black and Latinx citizens in the workforce.
Based on statistics reported in Bloomberg, Black unemployment soared to the highest it’s been in more than a decade back in May. Around 17.6 percent of Latinos and 16.8 percent of Black Americans were unemployed, while their white counterparts only saw a 2.5 percent drop in unemployment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As XPRIZE and New Profit’s joint mission focuses on reimagining the entire work process for all, together they’re working to establish concrete solutions for underserved communities as we continue the fight for equity in America.
“The XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling Prize and other initiatives to train Black people and disinvested communities for the jobs of the future is about social and economic justice,” said Dr. Angela Jackson, one of the first Black female partners at New Profit. “This challenge directly addresses the racial economic gap by placing Black people in jobs and careers that allow them to build wealth for their families while protecting them from the health risks of frontline employment.”
According to Jackson, the main message behind the initiative is to eliminate the information gap and educate Black and brown workers on valuable jobs they can pursue to lead fulfilling lives and lead a better future for themselves and their families.
“This is the reason that we have focused the Rapid Reskilling on solutions designed by and for working people, especially immigrants, BIPOC and women,” said Jackson. “This focus will for the first time identify the jobs and pathways for communities of color that will help us live well now and into the future.”
With the racial reckoning of institutions in America and ongoing pandemic still happening, organizations like XPRIZE are working toward finding solutions to issues that have historically plagued communities of color for years.
“We deeply understand the disparages and issues that exist for people of color who have been plagued systemically from lack of resources and their voices that continue to go unheard.,” said Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPRIZE. “It is our mission with this contest to empower and uplift this community, through a storm of viable solutions to uplift the post-COVID workforce economy to close the gap and ignite tangible and actionable change in the job market to benefit those who are underserved.”
Through their 30-month long competition, XPRIZE will connect individuals to innovators, technologies, resources, and job opportunities that will shift their understanding of the workforce and continue to be at the forefront of tech innovations as they have been for the last 25 years.
“The future of work isn’t just robotics, or artificial intelligence, or automation; it is ultimately about people,” said Dr. Emily Musil Church, Executive Director of Equity at XPRIZE. “XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling will create a future in which all workers can rapidly attain new and more relevant skills to open up new opportunities equal to the pace of technological developments.”
For more information on XPRIZE and their contest, click here.