Preparing America for the jobs of tomorrow

The U.S. Department of Education launches EdPrizes.

Problem

The need to strengthen the competitiveness of the American workforce is one of the most urgent challenges we now face as a nation. With currently 1 million unfilled jobs that require Career and Technical Education (CTE), the U.S. Department of Education recognized the potential for open innovation to accelerate and advance the development of technological solutions that close the skills gap.

Context

CTE prepares students for the high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand jobs of tomorrow across 16 career clusters and 79 pathways.

Solution

We created EdPrizes, a series of prize competitions to spur the development of new technology products to prepare students for jobs of the future. To date, three challenges have been conducted as national activities under Section 114 of the Perkins Act. Cash prizes are awarded to finalists and winners from the prize pool, totaling more than $1,000,000. Furthermore, in-kind gifts have been secured from over 25 private sector companies, including Autodesk, Dremel, IBM, Microsoft, Oculus, Samsung, and Snap-on.

EdPrizes has stimulated the private sector to develop education technology solutions to build needed skills—in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost.