Team with Tri-City ties advances in $2M XPRIZE contest

A team with Tri-City ties has advanced to the semifinalist round of a months-long contest aimed at connecting workers to family-wage jobs through a training model that can be replicated across the country. It also puts the local team closer to a chance to win up to $2 million.

The 30-month contest, called XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling, is designed to incentivize teams to develop and demonstrate the effectiveness of rapid training and reskilling solutions for those most vulnerable to employment loss in the United States.

The team, called Dignity of Work, is made up of Career Path Services, a workforce development and human services nonprofit with offices in Kennewick; WholeStory, a technology platform that provides insight into diverse life experiences to power better hiring, based in the Tri-Cities; and ANEW, an apprenticeship-focused nonprofit working to improve access and advancement of women in nontraditional careers, based in Renton.

The Dignity of Work team is one of eight from four countries to advance to the next round of the competition. The Journal wrote about its efforts in May.

Launched in June 2020, XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling is sponsored by nonprofit venture philanthropy organization New Profit and in partnership with JFF, a national nonprofit.

The solutions developed in the competition aim to reduce training time by at least 50% for occupations with a living wage and will be provided at no cost to the individual.

“The United States is going through a historic reassessment of labor across all industries,” said XPRIZE CEO Anousheh Ansari in a news release. “More individuals are looking to change careers than ever before, and the technology being developed in XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling will empower individuals to find new pathways to better education, better training solutions, ultimately leading to a better career.”

The eight semifinalists were selected from a pool of 10 qualified teams. The teams were paired with workforce development boards across the U.S. to recruit new learners and deploy their respective training solutions.

The Dignity of Work team is paired with Hampton Roads Workforce Council in Norfolk, Virginia.

“The technology from our semifinalist teams is already producing very promising results, and with another year left in the competition, I’m extremely encouraged to believe these teams will deliver on XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling’s original goal of quickly reskilling workers for the digital revolution,” said Monique Golden, social science lead for XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling.

The semifinalist teams are entering the large-scale field testing stage of the competition, in which each team must demonstrate how their proposed solutions will rapidly place trained workers in 60 days or less, and then support the workers to ensure job retention of at least 60 days.

The teams’ solutions are a mix of online learning management systems and digital apps to train for occupations such as community health worker, medical assistant, machinist, construction laborer, medical equipment preparer and sales representative.

After completion of the semifinalist round, a $1.5 million milestone award will be shared equally between up to five finalist teams whose solutions received the highest scores from the judging panel for successful implementation of their solution.

Winners will be selected in January 2023.

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