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The Markle Foundation works to realize the potential of technology to achieve breakthroughs in addressing some of the nation’s most pressing issues as well as address the challenges it presents. Markle challenges itself and diverse partners to deploy their varied expertise to identify solutions and achieve systemic change. Today as advanced technology and automation change the very nature of work, Markle’s priority is advancing solutions towards a skills-based labor market that will enable Americans to transition to the opportunities of the digital economy. Markle’s current workforce initiatives—Rework America and Skillful—build on Markle’s previous success in creating the policy and technology architecture that has enabled improvements in healthcare, national security, and access to the Internet.
The Rework America and Skillful initiatives aim to enable all workers, especially the almost 70% of American adults without a four-year college degree, to have the opportunity to succeed in our increasingly digital labor market. We aspire to make change at the national scale, to accelerate the efforts of others, and to have impact beyond the reach of organizations working alone or in silos. We aim to overhaul how employers hire and train, to reshape how people view their career possibilities, and to unlock career opportunities for millions of people who may otherwise be unable to access the futures they deserve.
The Rework America’s networks define and advance policies and practices among employers, educators, policymakers, technologists and workers themselves so that all are better equipped to anticipate, adapt to and harness for good the rapid pace of technological change transforming our economy. Specifically, The Rework America Business Network was launched in 2018 with 11 founding large U.S. member companies, which collectively employ approximately 2.2 million Americans. These companies seek to deepen their talent pools of qualified candidates and expand opportunities for people of diverse backgrounds by recruiting and hiring with a focus on individuals’ skills. Member companies also seek to explore how companies can better utilize a skills-based approach when it comes to learning and development.
Our Skillful Initiative is developing skills-based training and employment practices in collaboration with state governments, local employers, educators and workforce development organizations. Skillful and its partners are working to create a labor market in which skills are valued, and people can more easily access the information and education they need to keep pace with technology’s impact on work. Skillful currently operates in two states, Skillful Colorado and Skillful Indiana, bringing investment, training, tools and innovative methods to augment local workforce development efforts. It formed and facilitates the Skillful State Network, a collaboration among 28 state governors to accelerate the development and deployment of effective skills-based practices to transform their labor markets.
Today’s labor market denies these workers market power: employers create barriers to good jobs by relying on ineffective proxies to assess ability, denying opportunity to workers who have built skills outside the classroom. At the same time, our system does not provide sufficient support, information, and tools for those who need to build new skills to compete for better jobs in the rapidly changing economy.
The Markle Foundation is working with innovative partners from business, education, and state government to develop a catalytic Federal policy agenda to build a skills-based labor market in which: