Future Nostalgia

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    Welcome to the 32nd Edition of the Humanity Working Newsletter! This time – a group of amazing companies that are impacting the future of work and how you can identify a particular set of skills for your company.

    Developing the Workforce

    I’m happy to announce that my company, BillionMinds, is now a Techstars company! If you have not heard of Techstars, you think of them as an organization that surrounds startups with the necessary resources to move to the next level. As they like to say, “Techstars helps entrepreneurs succeed.”

    Techstars creates cohorts that participate in programming together. Often, these cohorts are geographically based, but in our case, we’ve joined one centered around a single theme: Workforce Development.

    My favorite definition of Workforce Development is from the International Labor Organization. They define it as “A comprehensive approach to improving the skills, knowledge, and employment opportunities of workers, including vocational training, career counseling, job placement services, and ongoing professional development.”

    Or, as we would put it – “the stuff that gets people hired, retained, and promoted.”

    But what exactly is needed to get people hired, retained, and promoted? It turns out it can be pretty wide-ranging.

    Workforce Development is Multidimensional

    Workforce development is not just about changing policies, buying online skills catalogs, or organizing an offsite.

    To illustrate the point, take a look at the diverse group of companies in our Techstars cohort – an amazing group that I had the good fortune to hang out with in Denver last week. In addition to BillionMinds, there are 11 of them, and they are all addressing workforce development in complementary ways.

    For example, some of the companies are focused on getting people ready to be hired through education and effective job-seeking:

    • Pelican Invests helps families conquer the financial challenges of getting a great education.
    • Mapt helps students and their families navigate the college admissions process.
    • Wingspans helps students and employers discover the full range of possibilities for their future careers and tell compelling stories about their experiences.

    Then there are the companies that help help with career management:

    • CareerGenie helps employees navigate career discovery, up-skilling, interview readiness, and job applications.
    • Fathom streamlines the employment training and support services that employers offer.

    Underserved communities often have specific challenges that can prevent them from thriving at work. Four companies are addressing these challenges from different angles:

    • Incskill is targeting the over 95% of digital content that is inaccessible to people with disabilities and non-traditional learners.
    • Flexspeak provides easy-to-use assistive technology to help non-speaking people with Autism, Down Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy communicate more effectively.
    • DeltaGen helps those struggling with current GenerativeAI interfaces benefit from this groundbreaking technology.
    • Inclusion Unpacked simplifies diversity and inclusion for business and organizational leaders by providing access to inclusion experts, tools, and resources on demand.

    Finally, there are specific opportunities in particular industries. Two companies are addressing the health and education industries:

    • Welfie equips underserved youth with the skills, resources, and software needed to pursue careers in medicine, helping them care for their own communities and ensuring everyone has access to quality healthcare.
    • SubHub offers mobile-friendly, short-form training content for substitute teachers, improving retention and increasing quality.

    The Role of BillionMinds: Now and In The Future

    So, where does BillionMinds fit into this picture? Being around these great companies has allowed me to think more deeply about that – not just in terms of what we do today, but what we want to do when we grow up. Those of you who use our services today know that we are mainly focused on helping give employees the soft skills they need to thrive in current and future work environments. We want to create a workforce of highly adaptable and resilient employees ready to take on any challenge as work shifts.

    But in the future, we want to do more than that. We believe that just the act of working today is making far too many of us burned out and ill, and we are fed up with that.

    It should be the right of every employee to have meaningful, enjoyable work so they can start every day with a sense of purpose and finish it with a feeling of accomplishment. To achieve that, we need to provide mindset and skillset training to ensure that people are ready and excited to take on the challenges of work. However, we also need employers to create energizing, sustainable work. That means BillionMinds must move beyond simple training programs and partner more closely with like-minded employees, employers, students, and educational institutions. Look for us to do more of that in the coming months and years.

    If you would like an introduction to any of the companies in the Workforce Development cohort, let me know—whether you are a potential investor, customer, or just someone who is interested in what they do. Imagine how much better the future of work will be if all of these companies play a significant role in it!


    A Very Particular Set of Skills

    I would guess there are not that many people outside of my immediate family who work in the same field as me, have the same last name as me, and hail from the same city as me.

    But I found one – so of course I had to interview him!

    Aside from all these excellent qualifications, Ben Slater is also a deep thinker on skills development, particularly how to measure them and why they will be more important as work changes.

    You can check out our interview on your favorite podcasting platform (just search for Humanity Working) – or watch the video below:

    About Us

    I’m Paul and I’m the CEO and Co-Founder of BillionMinds. If you are worried about how prepared your employees are for change – change in work environments (like hybrid and remote), business strategy, or even technology changes, you should talk to us. Just reach out to me here on LinkedIn and we can get a call scheduled.

    As for this newsletter – please let me know your thoughts on it in the comments (I try to respond to everything)

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