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Team of Eastern Washington organizations advances to final round of $5 million XPRIZE contest

Builders work on a job site near Airway Heights on June 17. Dignified Work, which includes Spokane-based Career Path Services, is a finalist in a nationwide competition to rapidly retrain workers for jobs in the health care, social services and construction.  (Libby Kamrowski/The Spokesman-Review)
Builders work on a job site near Airway Heights on June 17. Dignified Work, which includes Spokane-based Career Path Services, is a finalist in a nationwide competition to rapidly retrain workers for jobs in the health care, social services and construction. (Libby Kamrowski/The Spokesman-Review)

Dignified Work, an industry-training program by Spokane-based Career Path Services and Tri Cities-based WholeStory, was selected as a finalist for XPRIZE’s $5 million Rapid Reskilling competition.

XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling is a 30-month competition to quickly reskill under-resourced workers and place them in living-wage jobs.

Career Path Services and WholeStory teamed up to create a platform that addresses the need for skilled workers in high-demand industries such as construction, health care and human and social services by matching them with employers.

“Our goal is to enroll job seekers who are transitioning between careers or young people embarking on their careers,” said Andy Dwonch, team leader for Dignified Work and chief operating officer for Career Path Services.

The free platform provides job seekers with occupational, technical and life-skills training. It consists of online training and phone calls with instructors and peers, among other things.

“It’s about making sure the job seekers understand workplace practices and communication skills, so they are not only oriented in what to expect on day one for those jobs, but motivated and prepared for what the employer expectations will be,” Dwonch said.

Dignified Work is among five teams selected for the final round of XPRIZE’s Rapid Reskilling competition.

The other teams are Los Angeles-based Alelo; Team Isotonik – formerly HireMee – of Bengaluru, India; SHIFA360 of San Diego and Boston-based VITAL.

The teams were selected because of their reduction in training time as well as job placement and retention rate, according to XPRIZE.

“The finalists are reimagining job training and career development; leveraging AI, VR and disruptive technologies and their efforts are paramount in demonstrating the value of fast-paced training programs,” XPRIZE CEO Anousheh Ansari said in a statement.

Dignified Work was selected out of 118 applicants worldwide and competed in XPRIZE’s Rapid Reskilling semifinal round last year, training and placing jobseekers with construction companies in Virginia.

In the competition’s final round, Dignified Work will partner with employers in the Pacific Northwest to place more than 5,000 job seekers in positions to quickly gain essential skills and potentially launch long-term careers in construction, medical administration and human and social services.

Dignified Work is in the initial stage of reaching out to businesses within its network for placement, with plans for a larger outreach effort in the next month, Dwonch, the team leader, said.

Career Path Services is a nonprofit workforce development and human services organization.

WholeStory is a technology platform that allows job seekers to highlight life experiences and soft skills in addition to work experience.XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling is sponsored by Boston-based, nonprofit-venture philanthropy organization New Profit in partnership with Jobs for the Future.

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