What is “Workforce Education & Development”?

Advances in innovation and changing world dynamics are occurring at an unprecedented rate, driving the direction of the global economy. While these trends hold great promise, they require a modernized and highly-skilled workforce that has the ability to adapt to the changes. The skills demanded by today’s workers are different, and more varied, than they were even a decade ago. And, the jobs available to these workers have also radically changed, and will continue to do so. Individuals, businesses, and policymakers need to reconsider and redesign the types of education or training allowing job seekers to secure, retain, and advance in their employment. Meeting employers’ needs for both entry-level and skilled workers will require new approaches, tools, and partnerships—whether through collaborating with educational institutions, establishing workforce efforts built for scale, or piloting and investing in innovations focused on scalable employment solutions.

The Challenge

This category challenges students to develop workforce solutions that provide individuals with the technical knowledge, practical skills and readiness necessary to secure employment and become self-sufficient. Additionally, proposals may be focused on novel processes, services or technologies aimed at developing the capacity of individuals, corporations, academic institutions, and governments to meet the challenges and demands of the 21st century economy and its workforce.

Proposals may be global or domestic in focus, and may span a broad array of issues including (but not limited to): job training and employment assistance tools, services or programs that reduce barriers to employment, policies aimed at creating equitable economic growth, and strategies for increasing workplace stability, mobility, and pathways to a sustainable living wage.

Examples of proposals include (but are not limited to):

  • Remote training programs that provides continuation learning and job transition programs to specific populations of displaced workers, domestically or internationally.
  • A public-private partnership or collaborative model that supports local economic development by tackling unemployment challenges
  • A novel job training and assistance program that supports populations that routinely face barriers to opportunity, such as youth, veterans, and refugees.
  • An entrepreneurship accelerator that provides under-skilled individuals in remote locations with a viable career path.
  • A public policy solution that combats “short-termism” — the current concentration on short-term projects or objectives for immediate profit at the expense of long-term security.


The “Workforce Education & Development” category is open to all matriculated students across the 10-campus University of California system, as well all matriculated students from Makerere University.

Multidisciplinary teams are strongly encouraged.   For additional information about general contest rules, timing and how to apply, please refer to the Contest Application Requirements.

Past Winners

Somo Project

Somo Project

Mak (UC Berkeley)

2. MÄk



More Winners

For Additional Information: