MaRS receives $1 million from Google to train workers impacted by automation

work, the philanthropic arm of Google, has invested $1 million in Toronto-based MaRS to create the Employment Pathway Platform.

The platform is meant to help workers navigate a changing job market and develop a path to establish or transition to a new career. It will pull together data skills and training options from multiple sources, and then analyze a user’s existing skills and employment preferences against them.

Users will receive a detailed skills assessment, potential job types that align with their aptitudes, a plan for gaining the skills and experiences necessary to make a career switch, and connections to training institutions with relevant services.

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“As the impact of automation on jobs will differ, a uniform response to career transitions will likely come up short,” said Joe Greenwood, lead executive of data at MaRS. “The best results will come from providing a more personalized strategy that helps people to future-proof their careers. By helping workers make the transition, we aim to maximize participation in the digital economy.”

The first phase will aim to support 10,000 workers making career transitions, focusing on young people, immigrants, Indigenous people, and other groups particularly vulnerable to shifts in the labour market. The industries that the platform expects to initially focus on include manufacturing and the shift to advanced manufacturing; service industries impacted by automation, such as retail and hospitality; and financial services impacted by service and investment automation.

“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 “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.”

The MaRS Data Catalyst team — which tracks and provides public access to innovation-related data — said it wants to partner with Toronto’s artificial intelligence community and startups to design the technology powering the platform.

The Employee Pathway Platform is expected to launch in early 2019.

Photo via Burst.

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Freelance tech writer. Former BetaKit News Editor.

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