Name: US Department of Energy
Industry: Government Department
HQ: Washington, DC
The United States Department of Energy was looking for ways to cultivating a more competitive bioeconomy, through strengthening small business workforces. The availability of skilled workers at all levels is critical to growing the US bioeconomy. The lack of skilled workers disproportionately affects the small and rural businesses, as they cannot compete for higher-priced labor and also don’t have the means to train them on their own. Also, a report from the International Energy Agency says that there is a lack of representation for women and minorities in the energy sector. Building diversity in the sector, through training and recruiting women, and people from visible minorities, indigenous peoples, new immigrants, and other marginalized groups is very essential. However, constraints like lack of Internet connectivity and access to career-focused training programs at various locations across the country pose a significant impediment.
According to a report from the DOE, the current bioeconomy is estimated to have directly generated more than $48 billion in revenue and 285,000 jobs. However, it had the potential to grow by a factor of five, and expansion of the employability skill-building efforts could be a big enabler.
Our challenge was to create a training platform that could be widely applicable, giving different options to those with constraints, and delivering education programs purpose-built for developing awareness and practitioner-level skills for employability.
To provide access to world-class training to everyone in the bioeconomy, we developed a new solution called Skill-in-a-Box that can help learners from any corner of the world, with/without the Internet and even with/without computers.
iZen tools used
- iZen’s LEAP (Learning Engagement and Access Program), which includes a robust LMS with various tools and training programs
- The new “Skill-in-a-Box” solution which provided “affordable access” to the courseware to everyone with constraints
- New training programs custom-designed to build awareness and future-ready workforce
iZen won the Small Business Innovation Research award from the US-DOE, for this inclusive innovation. Here are the comments from the DOE:
1) “The concept is simple yet unique and elegant, for an educational challenge facing the USA. The product is intended to overcome some of the economical and technological disparities that certain segments of our population face.”
2) “Innovative yet simple.”
3) “This demonstrates a unique approach to workforce development…and it could be impactful to the users.”
The platform provides a first-of-its-kind solution to businesses, people, and communities in any corner of the world, providing affordable, easy, 24×7 access to world-class education & training, and increasing the reach, self-efficacy and learning achievement in general.