After 100 Days of COVID, XPRIZE Launches $5M Competition to Get Americans Back to Work

XPRIZE has always held global competitions to find the best solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges, and now they want to solve the problem of rising unemployment due to the pandemic.

On Monday, the nonprofit organization announced XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling to reinvent job training methods to reemploy the hardest hit communities.

Sponsored by the nonprofit philanthropy group, New Profit, the contest aims to find optimal ways to give workers new skills and secure employment amid drastic changes due to technological advances as well as COVID-19.

XPRIZE is inviting teams to develop new innovative ways that can be applied to multiple occupations. Teams must prove reskilling can be done two-times faster than current solutions and must be affordable, accessible, and collaborative.

The focus will be on over 80 specific occupations that are growing fast, require only a high school diploma or post-secondary certificate, and pay above a living wage. The goal is to set a new standard for how current and future generations of workers are trained for the jobs of tomorrow.

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“On the 100th Day of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we launched one of our most important competitions to date,” said XPRIZE CEO Anousheh Ansari. “XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling is designed to address the reality of a changing workforce where technology is displacing workers at an unprecedented pace, which has only been heightened by COVID-19.”

It’s not about automation, robotics, or artificial intelligence. It’s about people.

With a $5 million top prize, they are calling on all tech experts, educators, training providers, staffing agencies, employers and academic institutions to form teams that will use novel methods to rapidly train 500 people at no cost in 60 days, and place them in jobs…ensuring job retention of at least 90 days, while demonstrating “exponential adoption by deploying the training solutions for 5,000 individuals in three industries.”

Rapid Reskilling is committed to ensuring diversity because most of the people unemployed in the U.S. right now are people of color, and their goal is to have at least 40 percent of the teams made up of people from those communities.

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XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling is part of New Profit’s broader Future of Work Grand Challenge, a collaborative, cross-sector effort that will help prepare 12 million Americans from disinvested communities for workforce success by 2025, with help from the MIT program ‘Reimagining Pathways to Employment in the US’ from MIT Solve.

XPRIZE is no stranger to solving major problems on a global scale. They launched the Carbon XPRIZE, which is developing breakthrough technologies to convert CO2 emissions into everyday, usable products.

“We’ve been at the forefront of innovation for 25 years,” said Dr. Emily Musil Church, Executive Director of Equity at XPRIZE. “The future of work isn’t just robotics, or artificial intelligence, or automation; it is ultimately about people. XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling will create a future in which all workers can rapidly attain new and more relevant skills to open up new opportunities equal to the pace of technological developments.”

If you’re interested in forming a team and joining the competition, visit for more information.

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