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Inaccessibility and exclusion remain major barriers to entry into the digital workforce, especially for historically underserved groups.
There is an urgent need to increase digital skills that equip workers and employers for 21st century jobs. ServiceNow's 2021 Digital Workforce Challenge powered by MIT Solve invited applicants from around the world and across sectors to pitch ideas for innovative, tech-enabled solutions that strengthen digital capacity-building to meet workforce needs. The Challenge asked innovators across the world to develop solutions that address how historically underserved communities can prepare for, access, and prosper in the digital workforce.
Over 100 solutions from social impact entrepreneurs were submitted - from the Netherlands and India to Singapore and Canada. After carefully reviewing these applications, 17 judges with wide ranging expertise in workforce development, edtech, and digital innovation selected 10 exceptional finalists to pitch their solutions and participate in Q&A sessions.
After a successful first year of the Digital Workforce Challenge in 2020, ServiceNow has notably increased the prize funding pool to a total of $160,000 by adding an additional prize this year: the US Racial Equity Prize for a solution designed by and for communities of color that help advance antiracist and equitable digital workforces in the US.
ServiceNow employees engaged in employee choice voting over two weeks to select their favorite solution to win the Employee Choice Award. After intensive judge deliberation, the Grand Prize and US Racial Equity Prize winners were selected. All three winners are working on innovative, human-centered solutions that provide more equitable access to the digital workforce – especially for historically underserved groups.
We are thrilled to introduce the three prize winners of the 2021 ServiceNow Digital Workforce Challenge:
ServiceNow Employee Choice Award Winner: Puffin Innovations
Puffin Innovations: Human-computer interfacing meets AI and IoT to help people with disabilities climb the employment mountain.
Puffin Innovations' mission is twofold: seeking to stop the displacement of those workers who literally cannot interact with the necessary technologies for their jobs, and giving people with disabilities who never thought they could work the tools to live that dream. Their solution is a mouth-operated input device - a seamless, hands-free connection between human and machine; designed to include the needs of those with complex disabilities.
US Racial Equity Prize Winner: Resilient Coders
Resilient Coders: Training and placing people of color from low-income communities for high growth careers as software engineers.
Through free nonprofit coding bootcamps, Resilient Coders teaches more than the technical skills; they present a path towards economic justice and resiliency. Resilient Coders works with and alongside populations that have been systemically marginalized. Within these communities, they see an untapped talent pool with the potential to drive the industry that powers the 21st century economy.
Grand Prize Winner: Fable
Fable: An accessibility platform powered by people with disabilities.
Fable’s accessibility platform is increasing participation in the digital economy by providing sustainable and flexible work opportunities to people with disabilities. Fable’s platform connects leading organizations directly with people with disabilities to conduct user research and accessibility testing, ensuring that the digital experiences they are building work for everyone.