Economic Empowerment, Impact Updates, Partner Spotlights

New Profit Announces JFF as an Implementation Partner for Future of Work Grand Challenge

Working with New Profit, XPRIZE, and MIT Solve, JFF will provide critical network infrastructure and policy expertise as the Grand Challenge moves closer to funding, piloting, and rolling out solutions to impacted workers.

BOSTON, Massachusetts, September 30, 2020: Today, the national venture philanthropy organization New Profit, along with XPRIZE and MIT Solve, announced the evolution of the Future of Work Grand Challenge with the addition of a new partner, JFF, a leading national nonprofit that drives transformation in the American workforce and education systems.  

The Future of Work Grand Challenge aims to prepare 12 million Americans from underinvested communities — which have been hit hardest by the pandemic and generations of systemic inequity — for workforce success by 2025. A flood of diverse innovators entered the competitions following the announcement of the initiative and its unique, two-pronged approach to spur innovation through the XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling competition and MIT Solve’s Reimagining Pathways to Employment in the U.S. Challenge. The Grand Challenge prioritizes elevating the ideas of entrepreneurs and other leaders who are proximate to the acute workforce challenges faced by too many Americans, particularly in communities of color and disconnected communities where talent and expertise exist in abundance, but remain underinvested.

The addition of JFF portends a new focus on how the winning solutions can be implemented equitably and effectively across America. As a Grand Challenge partner, JFF will lead engagement with workforce boards across America, with a focus on creating pathways for winning solutions from XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling and MIT Solve’s Reimagining Pathways to Employment in the U.S. to be piloted with workers, evaluated for effectiveness, and eventually scaled through partnerships, digital channels, and other avenues. 

JFF and the challenge partners are leading an effort to digitally transform the U.S. workforce system. In recent months, workforce boards and job centers have been overwhelmed due to lack of technology and remote service delivery options, resulting in delays as unemployed Americans work to access benefits and career services. By modernizing the U.S. workforce system with solutions sourced in the challenge, we’ll increase access to critical support and resources for Americans as they manage unemployment benefits, training opportunities, and access to employment opportunities online.

 

“The Grand Challenge partners envision a future of work where the most disinvested communities are deeply engaged in all aspects of economic recovery — where the brilliance of entrepreneurs of color are elevated, and where all workers, employers and stakeholders are reaping the benefits of technology, innovation and equitable investment,” said Dr. Angela Jackson, a partner at New Profit and co-lead of its Future of Work strategy. “By joining the Grand Challenge, JFF will play a critical role in connecting these most promising solutions to impacted workers across the U.S.”

JFF offers unique capabilities and established networks to support a variety of social impact initiatives and partnerships that are vital at this time and in service of the Future of Work Grand Challenge. Of particular importance in the context of the Grand Challenge is JFF’s expertise and longtime partnerships with workforce boards, which facilitate workforce development policy and programs in cities and locales across America. 

“The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the urgent need for technological innovation across our nation’s workforce system,” said Maria Flynn, president and CEO of JFF. “We are thrilled to work with New Profit and the Future of Work Grand Challenge partners to help equip workforce boards and job centers with the digital tools they need to support under-resourced communities and ensure an inclusive and equitable economic recovery.”

The Future of Work Grand Challenge is supported by a growing coalition of cross-sector partners. Funding is provided by Walmart.org, Strada Education Network, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, Fossil Foundation, Lumina Impact Ventures, Siegel Family Endowment, Accenture, Goodwill Industries International, Minds at Work, the Morgridge Family Foundation, and others. Complementing the start-up and early-stage enterprises that will be incentivized and funded through the Grand Challenge, New Profit’s Postsecondary Innovation for Equity initiative has invested in 20 social entrepreneurs who are building evidence behind new approaches to connecting young adults from underinvested communities with the postsecondary credentials and work experience needed to access upwardly mobile careers. 

For more information, please visit the Future of Work Grand Challenge landing page.