Leading the Charge in the Future of Work

Sep 04 2021

Dr. Monique Golden

XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling will transform the future of work. Here Dr. Monique Golden – Social Science Lead for the competition – brings us up to speed on the competition so far, as well as the next stages. 

XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling is a $5 million dollar, 30-month competition to quickly reskill under-resourced workers for the digital revolution. American workers learn new skills via novel training solutions to obtain living wage jobs in growing industries. XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling is part of New Profit's broader Future of Work Grand Challenge, a collaborative, cross-sector effort that will help prepare 12 million Americans from disinvested communities for workforce success by 2025.

Nearly 18 months since the pandemic began, millions of American workers continue to face job insecurity, low job quality, unemployment or underemployment. As unemployment benefits, eviction moratoriums and other measures to lessen the impact of Covid-19 cease, the pressure is on to find safe jobs that pay a living wage. 

Indeed, a significant share of workers require reskilling to qualify for safer and better paying jobs. With the cost of reskilling approximately $24,800 per person in the United States, this can mean fewer opportunities for under-resourced communities in the U.S. facing systemic barriers to learning, mobility, and progress. We cannot close the skills gap by expecting low income workers to finance it themselves.

Reskilling can be a difficult and costly undertaking for employers, too. Determining what to reskill, when and how can take a considerable amount of company time and resources, and if not well executed efforts can fail. Situated within this issue where workers need reskilling to retain employment and employers are struggling with good and effective reskilling practices is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to develop solutions that will address the worker’s learning and career development needs and keep talent in the workforce.

Testing solutions to reskill workers is underway.

XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling will change the future of work by testing new methodologies for rapidly training American workers for jobs. Eight Semifinalist Teams from around the world are deploying their solutions to workers at no cost and will place them into full-time, living wage jobs. 

During the qualifying and semifinalist rounds teams are working exclusively with workforce development boards to recruit eligible workers in their jurisdiction to participate in this free and groundbreaking reskilling opportunity. Partnering with local workforce development boards across six states (CA, CT, MA, MI, TX, & VA) has been invaluable in shaping the way reskilling is delivered. In addition to leveraging their resources and networks to provide direct recruitment support to teams, the boards are teaching their partnered solution team and XPRIZE about their specific communities: their histories, worker needs, and important COVID-19 updates that impact their daily lives and retention. In the final round (2022), up to 5 teams will demonstrate exponential adoption by deploying the training solutions tenfold to people across the U.S. Judges will evaluate performance and select winners based on teams’ ability to rapidly train, place and retain workers in jobs that launch them into new careers. Winners will be announced in 2023.

To learn more about XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling, visit rapidreskilling.xprize.org or email [email protected].

Dr. Monique Golden