Reimagining Pathways to Employment in the US Challenge
How can workers in the United States attain the knowledge and learn the skills needed to access sustainable jobs and livelihoods in the new economy?
The Morgridge Family Foundation and New Profit are especially interested in solutions that benefit the non-coastal and US interior regions.
The Reimagining Pathways to Employment in the US Challenge is open to solutions that have at least a working, tested prototype that are:
- Currently deployed in at least one US state
- Operating in another country, but have plans to expand to at least one US state
If you have a relevant solution, we hope you’ll apply!
- Solutions that focus on non-coastal states, US interior regions, and/or racial justice are highly encouraged to apply.
- Solutions from Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other historically marginalized communities are highly encouraged to apply.
- Applications can be for-profit, nonprofit, or hybrid solutions, as well as those not formally registered as any such organization.
- Applicants can be individuals or teams, including but not limited to students, entrepreneurs, or established start-ups.
- Individual applicants must be at least 18 years old.
- Teams must have at least one member who is at least 18 years old.
How are we CrowdSolving the Reimagining Pathways to Employment in the US Challenge?
SOURCING SOLUTIONS Anyone who meets the criteria above can participate in the Challenge and submit a solution. Whether you’re working on a pilot or have an existing product, we’re looking for innovators and entrepreneurs with the best solutions.
SELECTING SOLUTIONS Once the submission deadline passes, judging begins. After an initial screening by the Morgridge Family Foundation, New Profit, and Solve staff, Challenge judges select the most promising solutions as Finalists. These Finalists will be invited to pitch their solutions at a Pitch Event, where judges will select the winners.
What type of solutions will be accepted to the Reimagining Pathways to Employment in the US Challenge?
Solution applications must be written in English. The Reimagining Pathways to Employment in the US Challenge considers solutions at various stages of development.
- Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model. If for-profit, a new company getting off the ground that has raised little or no institutional capital (less than $500,000) in pre-seed fundraising.
- Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community. If for-profit, a young company that is working to gain traction and that has raised less than $2 million in institutional capital in seed funding.
- Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth in multiple communities or countries. If for-profit, an early-stage company that has established a track record and is seeking to raise a round of roughly $2 million to $15 million in institutional capital in a Series A or potentially B round.
- Scale: A sustainable enterprise working in several communities or countries that is looking to scale significantly, focusing on increased efficiency. If for-profit, a successful company that is scaling its operations and seeks to raise a round of more than $15 million in institutional capital.
The most important thing is that your solution addresses the focus of the Reimagining Pathways to Employment in the US Challenge.
Through open innovation, the Reimagining Pathways to Employment in the US Challenge is looking for a diverse portfolio of solutions across stages of development and team members’ gender and background. We believe that there is no one solution to the world’s most complex challenges—and encourage people of all backgrounds to submit their applications.
How will my solution be evaluated?
The judging committee for the Reimagining Pathways to Employment in the US Challenge will be comprised of experts and leaders from across industries. After an initial screening by the Morgridge Family Foundation, New Profit, and Solve staff, the judges will score the screened solutions based on the following criteria:
- Alignment: The solution addresses the challenge that has been set forth.
- Potential for Impact: The planned solution implementation has the potential to impact lives and drive economic growth nationally.
- Scalability: The solution can be scaled to affect the lives of more people.
- Feasibility: Solution implementation is feasible, and the team has a plan for financial sustainability.
- Innovative Approach: This is a new solution, a new application of a solution, a new business model, or a new process for solving the challenge, and the team clearly identifies its competitive advantages (e.g. intellectual property).
- Diversity: The solution and solution team embody and address diversity throughout their application.
Selected finalists will pitch before the Reimagining Pathways to Employment in the US Challenge judges and a live audience during a virtual pitch event January 25. The judges will determine which solutions are the most promising and those selected will have access to prize funding and additional support, including:
- US$625,000 prize pool made possible by Challenge partners New Profit, CSU Global, and Gary Community Investments
- At least five teams will each be awarded a minimum of US$100,000 in grants. These grants will fund the development of validation pilots with innovative US Workforce Boards for the benefit of an anticipated 1 million displaced workers. MIT Solve will support the development and implementation of these partnerships. Winning teams will also receive IBM Cloud Credits and virtual coaching with IBM technical experts.
What's the deal with the US Workforce Board validation pilots?
See more information here.
Reimagining Pathways to Employment Challenge in the US Timeline
- June 22, 2020 - Reimagining Pathways to Employment in the US Challenge opens
- November 20, 2020 - Deadline for applicants to submit a solution
- January 25, 2021 - Virtual Pitch Event for Finalists
What is the difference between the Reimagining Pathways to Employment in the US Challenge powered by MIT Solve and the XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling challenge?
Both challenges are part of the Future of Work Grand Challenge.
XPRIZE is focused on finding disruptive ideas and technologies (e.g. AI, XR, behavioral psychology) to radically reduce the time it takes to train and place workers, while MIT Solve is focused on early-stage proven solutions for building long-term pathways to jobs, including career navigation and placement support. Both prizes will work in partnership with workforce boards to validate solutions. XPRIZE’s Rapid Reskilling prize will place 25,000 displaced workers into living-wage jobs in the next 24 months—through a $5M prize to incentivize disruptive technologies to cut the time it takes to train and place workers in half. MIT Solve will power a six-month competition through its award-winning open innovation platform to find and support the best-in-class solutions to help workers assess their skills, find high-growth jobs, match and get placement support.