Deadline: 2020-03-02 Award: $100,000 Open to: Everyone*
Globalization, automation, artificial intelligence, and other new technologies are dramatically transforming the very nature of work and the digital literacy skills required of global workforces. This creates challenges and opportunities. On one hand, technology-driven innovation is eliminating jobs, squeezing wages, and requiring complete retraining across agriculture, manufacturing, the service industry, and many other sectors. This is sowing workforce disruption, fear and anxiety. On the other hand, technology trends are increasing productivity and safety, creating new jobs and entire industries, fostering entrepreneurship, and affording people more opportunities for higher-value tasks and creativity. Meanwhile, the workforces of today are suffering from a skills and vacancies gap. Of employers surveyed, 45 percent report struggling to fill roles due to lack of skills. At the same time, some 30 to 45 percent of the working-age population around the world is underutilized—that is, unemployed, underemployed, or inactive, with young adults and women being a crucial pool of untapped labor.
The challenge: how to mitigate the worst effects of these transformations. The opportunity: how to accelerate and expand the opportunities afforded so that everyone – including those left behind and most marginalized – can fully participate and create prosperous livelihoods for themselves.