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Digital Literacy Can’t Wait: Why We’re Sponsoring the Digital Workforce Challenge

New job descriptions are cropping up everywhere, as AI, digital workflows, and similar technologies expand in capability and scale. At the same time, companies are offloading more tasks to machines and algorithms. These trends will displace more than 70 million jobs around the world by 2022, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). However, WEF also predicts the global economy will create more than 130 million new jobs over the same period.

These new jobs require new skills, demand for which currently outstrips supply. Companies are already facing major shortages of workers skilled in data science, machine learning, and related digital disciplines. In the coming years, millions of workers, young and old, will need strong digital literacy skills to land good jobs and advance in their careers.

That’s why ServiceNow has partnered with MIT Solve, a marketplace for social impact innovation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to run the Digital Workforce Challenge. Our goal is to find and nurture innovative, scalable, and sustainable solutions to provide digital skills training for marginalized and underserved populations.

We welcome proposals from individuals and teams, including students, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and established startups. The final submission deadline is 5pm EST on March 2, 2020. A panel of subject matter experts and industry leaders will work alongside Solve to evaluate submissions and select finalists.    

In early April, finalists will be announced and invited to pitch their solutions to the same panel of judges at Knowledge 2020, ServiceNow’s annual user conference taking place in Orlando, Florida, May 3-7. The winner will receive $100,000 in funding from ServiceNow, as well as mentorship and media opportunities.

Ideas have been pouring in—including a digital platform to connect differently abled job seekers with mentors, a cloud-based mobile app for vocational skills assessment and training, and an app to match prospective employers with “diamonds in the rough” for on-the-job training. We look forward to many more submissions in the final week! 

Talent, innovation, and passion can come from any corner of society. I see that every day among our more than 10,000 employees. That’s why we hope to attract a diverse pool of applicants for the Digital Workforce Challenge. We’ll know we’re on the right path if the winning solution opens a door for someone with little or no access to digital training who seeks higher-value work, whether it’s a young woman on the outskirts of London, a high schooler on the South Side of Chicago, or a factory worker in Frankfurt.

ServiceNow believes technology should serve people—not the other way around. Our purpose as a company is to make the world of work, work better for people. We’re investing in the Digital Workforce Challenge because we think it can help increase access to opportunity in the 21st-century digital workforce. That’s a win for everyone. 

Applicants have until March 2 to apply—learn more about the ServiceNow Digital Workforce Challenge powered by Solve here.

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