Workforce Development

Overview

Rapid advances in technology and shifting world dynamics are transforming the global economy and nature of jobs. As global migration reaches an all-time high, the digital economy grows, and an increasing number of services move towards automation, the “Future of Work” will prove to be a massive disruption that will serve as both opportunity and challenge to the world economy. The skills required by today’s workers are different and more varied than they were even a decade ago, and future labor markets will demand a modernized and highly-skilled workforce with the ability to swiftly adapt to rapid changes. Meeting employers’ needs will require new approaches, tools, and partnerships—whether through collaborating with educational institutions, establishing workforce efforts built for scale, or piloting and investing in innovations focused on scalable employment solutions.

The Challenge

This track challenges students to develop workforce solutions that provide individuals with the technical knowledge, practical skills and readiness necessary to secure employment and become self-sufficient. Additionally, proposals may be focused on strategies to develop the capacity of individuals, corporations and governments to meet the challenges and demands of the 21st century economy and its workforce.

This track challenges students to develop workforce solutions that provide individuals with the technical knowledge, practical skills and readiness necessary to secure employment and become self-sufficient. Additionally, proposals may be focused on strategies to develop the capacity of individuals, corporations and governments to meet the challenges and demands of the 21st century economy and its workforce.

Past Winners and Examples

Examples of proposals that would fit into this track include (but are not limited to):

  • Remote training programs that provides continuation learning and job transition programs to specific populations of displaced workers, domestically or internationally.
  • A web application that provides individuals with information and assistance to transition their benefits from job to job.
  • A novel job training and assistance program that supports populations that routinely face barriers to opportunity, such as youth, veterans, and refugees.
  • An entrepreneurship accelerator that provides underskilled individuals in remote locations with a viable career path.
  • A public policy solution that combats “short-termism” — the current concentration on short-term projects or objectives for immediate profit at the expense of long-term security.
2019 1st Place - Doin' Good: Mobile Makerspace & Education Center
2018 1st Place - UROC - Demystifying the Research Process
2019 2nd Place - My Earth
2018 2nd Place - Helix
2019 3rd Place - Thrive Education

Mobile Makerspace & Education Center

Team Members:

Payton Goodrich, Malte Hofmann, Jonas Michalzik

School:

UC Berkeley

Of the ~200,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon between the ages of 18 and 25 years, only 4% have access to formal education. Many of the current education programs do not focus on hands-on technical education and are not designed to reach the remote areas, where most refugees live. The innovative approach to these challenges is a mobile makerspace & education center (MMEC). The MMEC will take form as a van equipped with tools and materials that drives to different settlements to teach young refugees craftsmanship skills, for example in woodworking or sewing. This will enable the participants to learn the skills required to seek employment, while at the same time building items they need to improve the living conditions in the camps, such as furniture or toys. The program intends to provide a novel, highly individualized approach to education for underserved populations.

UROC – Demystifying the Research Process

Team Members:

Istifaa Ahmed, Ifechukwu Okeke, Nishan Jones

School:

UC Berkeley

Currently at UC Berkeley marginalized students receive little to no mentorship or resources to conduct research. Students of color perform low rates of research and campus research programs have low acceptance rates of underrepresented students. Of the 54 undergraduate research programs on campus, 12 are directly for first-generation, low-income, historically underrepresented students – however these programs often have limited resources to offer and/or limited space. Mentorship for underrepresented students is also lacking, with university faculty consisting of few scholars of color. Through a series of workshops, UROC will equip students with key skillsets for conducting research, including: designing research questions, creating literature reviews, analyzing primary archives, and designing methodologies.

My Earth

Team Members:

Cara Nolan, Jennifer Liu, Tamar Saunders

School:

UC Berkeley

My Earth is a social enterprise that provides training and employment for Australia’s remote Indigenous communities in the construction industry. My Earth engages local people to construct low-cost but high-quality, environmentally-sustainable housing. It uses locally-sourced soil as the primary building material, in a technique called Compressed Earth Block (CEB) technology. This construction technique has been demonstrated in East Africa, but not widely adopted in Australia. CEB is a low-skill construction technique, which enables My Earth to engage people who may have missed out on a good education. The program uses a flexible, tiered training and employment model to lower the barriers to entry into the labor market. It starts with brick pressing and a builder-trainer program, and ultimately ongoing employment in local construction and maintenance. Its flexibility, direct linkage to a job pipeline, and commitment to community involvement, sets it apart from traditional remote workforce development projects.

Helix

Team Members:

Nolan Pokpongkiat, Jeffrey Li, Kaveh Boostanpour, Neha Dubey, Caitlyn Enriquez

School:

UC Berkeley

The healthcare field requires people who can navigate cultural barriers to communicate with and comfort patients. However, the current underrepresentation of minorities among health professionals is detrimental to the quality of patient care in the healthcare system. Helix is a non-profit organization working to diversify the healthcare workforce by facilitating direct exposure to health professions for high school students from minority backgrounds, allowing students to explore potential health careers. Attending Helix’s free one-week immersion program and subsequent four-week health internship will provide aspiring pre-health high school students with an unparalleled opportunity to participate in biological and clinical skill labs, obtain a CPR certification, and shadow a variety of health professionals from similar backgrounds. Through the Helix experience, students will not only discover and develop their interests, but also realize that they are not alone in their pursuits and that success is attainable.

Thrive Education

Team Members:

Jack Rolo, Joshua Curry, Meryll Dindin, Jolie Lam

School:

UC Berkeley

Thrive is reinventing the evaluation process for Learning Differences (LDs) to unlock the incredible potential of students with LDs. Thrive provides comprehensive video evaluations for LDs, using Masters/PhD level psychology students to complete the bulk of the work (roughly 4 hours per test between the test administration and 15-page report write up), while limiting the very expensive post-PhD psychologists’ time to roughly 30 minutes of ‘interpreting’ the results. This reorganization of the testing-supply chain, enabled by the tests being administered via video-conferencing, allows for huge cost savings and dramatically increases access. Additionally, Thrive is implementing machine learning on top of the evaluation data extracted from videos to enable higher-accuracy evaluations than any current method. This technology will drastically drive down both the cost of evaluations and the misdiagnosis rate and will reveal an unprecedented level of insight into LDs.