Eric Schmidt and Speaker DeLeo Participate in MIT Panel on Economic Inclusion and Skill Development in Boston

Career Climbers / 5th May 2017

MIT hosted a panel with Chairman of Alphabet Inc., Eric Schmidt, and Massachusetts House Speaker, Robert A. DeLeo, in Cambridge this week, along with leaders from the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE) and its flagship program the Inclusive Innovation Challenge, as well as the job training and upskilling nonprofit Year Up.

The panel discussion centered around the ways in which job skills are changing, which strategies MIT IDE and Year Up are undertaking to help people adjust to these changes, the role technology plays in helping to increase equity and build a more inclusive economy, and how these strategies can be further embedded into public policy and government workforce programs.

During the panel, Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Alphabet Inc., parent company of Google, announced a new grant award from Google towards MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy. The $500,000 grant will help fund MIT IDE’s global Inclusive Innovation Challenge, which aims to find and fund businesses and nonprofits who are using technology as a tool to help prepare people for the future of work.

“To strengthen the Massachusetts economy in these dynamic times, the House has focused on supporting students and workers of diverse backgrounds and skillsets,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “Whether it’s ensuring community college students gain tech skills through our STEM Starter Academies, increasing access to coding classes for high school students, or enhancing the quality of our early education and care workforce, we are preparing our residents to compete in the digital economy. I’m grateful to MIT and Google for their efforts in this area, and their enthusiasm for engaging with the public sector.”

“Everyone should have the opportunity to secure the skills they need to succeed. MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy is investing in groups who are helping everyone to secure those skills and the job opportunities that go along with them,” said Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet Inc., parent company of Google. “We’re pleased to back their work and look forward to seeing the results.”

“The MIT IDE’s flagship program, the Inclusive Innovation Challenge, recognizes and rewards digital innovations that create widely shared prosperity,” said Erik Brynjolfsson of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and a professor at MIT Sloan School of Management. “No single future is pre-ordained, but by working together we can create a world of work that benefits the many, not just the few.”

“At Year Up, our goal is to close the Opportunity Divide — the gap between millions of unfilled jobs and millions of motivated, talented young people — by providing low-income young adults with in-demand technical and professional skills. We focus on changing public perceptions, employer practices and government policies that perpetuate the Opportunity Divide, and we’re thrilled to partner with organizations like MIT and Google as we look to dramatically broaden our reach,” said Shawn Bohen, Principal for Strategic Growth & Impact at Year Up.

About the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE)

The MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy is solely focused on the digital economy. The IDE conducts groundbreaking research, convenes the brightest minds, promotes dialogue, expands knowledge and awareness, and implements solutions that provide critical, actionable insight for people, businesses, and government. We are solving the most pressing issues of the Second Machine Age, such as exploring the status and trajectory of AI and machine learning, and defining the future of work in this time of unprecedented digital transformation. The IDE was founded by MIT Sloan Prof. Erik Brynjolfsson and Senior Research Scientist Andrew McAfee, co-authors of the NYT bestseller The Second Machine Age and Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future, to be released on June 27, 2017. For more information, visit

About the MIT IDE Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC)

The Inclusive Innovation Challenge is the flagship program of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy. The IIC awards over $1 million in prizes to Inclusive Innovators – organizations around the world that are using technology to solve a grand challenge of our time: to create greater shared prosperity by reinventing the future of work. The 2017 Challenge is now open. Learn more, nominate an organization, or apply at

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