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MaRS and Google Team Up to Enable the Future of Work

Making a career change can be one of the toughest decisions someone makes in their life. There are so many different things to consider, from training to staying financially afloat.

MaRS and Google are here to help though, as the two have announced a partnership to create a brand new Employment Pathway Platform. Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, is giving MaRS $1 million in funding to create the new platform that is expected to launch in early 2019.

The Employment Pathway Platform will help new job seekers plan a new route through the ever-changing job market and develop their own course to transition to a brand new career. Data skills and training options will be compiled together then analyzed again a user’s skills and preferences, creating a detailed skills assessment. From there, job seekers will see potential jobs that align with their goals and aptitudes, potential ways to gain new skills they may need to switch careers, and connections to the institutions that offer those skills or relevant services.

The new program was unveiled at an announcement event at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, where several politicians, as well as Google and MaRS employees, spoke. Google’s country director for Canada Sabrina Geremia spoke about how the new initiative is rooted in keeping workers competitive in their fields and happy at the same time.

“The Employment Pathways Program is a place for Canadians to go and figure out the skills they’ll need in the future, based on the ones they have today, and how they transition those over time,” said Geremia. “We want all Canadians to be successful and to thrive in the future of work, and technology, when you apply it properly, is a tool that should help every Canadian get there.”

The first phase of this new program will look to support 10,000 workers who are looking to transition careers, with a specific focus on young folks, immigrants, Indigenous people and other groups who may be particularly vulnerable to labour market shifts.

“While no one can predict exactly how work will change in the future, we know that tomorrow’s jobs are likely to require skills that are uncommon today,” said Andrew Dunckelman, economic opportunity lead at Google.org. “That’s why we’re excited to support MaRS Data Catalyst in their work to equip people, particularly those who are most disadvantaged, with a clear path to work opportunities and related skills.”

As more companies work towards automating workflows and eliminating low-skill positions, there will be a rise in unemployment, and the Employment Pathways Program is looking to address those gaps first. The first industries addressed by the initiative will be the shift from manufacturing to advanced manufacturing and other markets heavily impacted by automation such as retail, hospitality and certain financial institution services.

This project is the brainchild of the MaRS Data Catalyst team, a group that looks to use data insights to make the world a better place to work and live. In the past, the group has worked with startup accelerators, entrepreneurship research groups, and innovation councils on projects involving open data, healthcare and more.

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