By MIT Solve
By 2030, automation is expected to displace an estimated 23 million jobs in Indonesia, and nearly 70 percent of jobs in formal employment could be automated in India during the same period — including 12 million jobs held by women. Coupled with the economic disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, there is an urgent need to upskill the existing workforce to meet industry demands and prepare the workers with the skills required to participate in the digitally-driven economy of the future.
Caterpillar Foundation’s mission meets this moment with its commitment to build thriving communities by investing in the skills people need to join the modern workforce.
To this end, the Foundation’s Future of Work in India & Indonesia Challenge powered by MIT Solve invited applicants across the region to submit innovative workforce development solutions that addressed the Challenge prompt: How can workers in India and Indonesia gain the skills they need to participate and prosper in the digital and technology-driven economy of the future?
“Solving challenges that affect a vast number of people requires diversity of thought and innovative ideas," said Asha Varghese, President of Caterpillar Foundation. "MIT Solve creates a platform that showcases innovation, along with the support to turn ideas into real solutions that truly impact individuals, communities and our world.”
Nearly 100 solutions from social impact entrepreneurs were submitted. After carefully reviewing these applications, esteemed judges with wide ranging expertise in workforce development, country economics, and labor selected 10 exceptional finalists to pitch their solutions and participate in focused Q&A sessions in April 2022.
“[We had] a wonderful set of submissions. I really applaud the effort and thoughtfulness that has gone in to develop these meaningful solutions," said Dr. Vijay Kumar, Associate Dean of Digital Learning & Executive Director J-WEL at MIT.
After intensive judge deliberation, the five winners were selected. All five winners are working on innovative, human-centered solutions that equip existing workers with skills and training opportunities. Winners will receive funding and a six-month tailored support program to accelerate their impact for Indian and Indonesian populations.
We are thrilled to introduce the winners of the Future of Work in India and Indonesia Challenge:
Joyful, gamified approach to help garment workers gain the technical skills needed for Industry 4.0.
Shimmy Upskill uses games and accessible design principles to teach workers the machine and technical skills they need to stay relevant for Industry 4.0. In 2018, Shimmy piloted the Proof-of-Concept Upskill app with garment workers in Bangladesh and Indonesia. Since then, they’ve refined the application and trained over 786 workers. Their unique user interface and novel uses of AI have helped hundreds of completely digitally illiterate workers leapfrog into technical training quickly.
Free low tech platform with ready-to-use IT lesson materials for teachers to keep up with the everchanging tech industry.
KELAS provides teachers with ready-made material that can be immediately used in their class. Although we are helping to upskill the teachers, the end beneficiary will ultimately be the students who learn the relevant skills to become top applicants for future jobs. KELAS is a low-tech platform that provides free, ready-to-use materials to High School and Vocational High School teachers in Indonesia. All curricula are approved by industry leaders and align with national requirements for their respective majors.
Micro-tasking platform for low-income women to earn income and upskill from home on their smartphones.
Rani's micro-tasking platform provides jobs to women in a flexible, fun, and dignified way. Rani sources job tasks directly from private sector clients in artificial intelligence and machine learning (dataset generation, data labeling), social media companies (content creation, categorization, and search optimization) and research labs. Clients upload their data into a back-end API and specify parameters for accuracy, turnaround time, and redundancy. Rani assigns price, breaks the data into micro-tasks and pushes them onto the smartphone application. Women can also upskill in sector-specific and language skills, and connect with each other in this worker-centric job tasking platform.
Crowdsourcing skilled people to upskill others, incentivised by Social Capital Credits (SoCCs), who redeem SoCCs to improve their own skills
Upskilling Cascades train people in digital, technical and vocational skills, which they pass on to others, who in turn pass on to others, in a cascade. We also identify people who already have these skills to start the cascades. All “teachers” earn SoCCs, which they can redeem for their own upskilling, certifications, or micro-credit to start/improve their businesses based upon the SoCCs Redeeming menus communities themselves help create. SoCCs are recorded and transacted on the SoCCs App and Web platform. This, and access to mobile phones and computers at our Learning Centers, becomes a stepping stone for people to begin using digital literacy skills.
Increasing the proportion of women in supervisory roles and boosting the productivity of the lines they manage.
Pratibha is a machine learning algorithm-based screening and training tool which has the potential to promote gender equity and empowerment in the workplace by reducing bias in the managerial screening process during recruitment while also measuring and remediating skill deficiencies in prospective candidates. This low-cost solution has the ability to not only increase the representation of women in managerial roles but also improve the work environment for frontline workers, the majority of whom are women, through better-trained managers.
This article was issued April 27, 2022. Shimmy is a member of SPESA.