People need options to prepare for the future of work. Fast-growing companies need talent. Palette Inc., a pilot housed within the Brookfield Institute, helps bridge the two.

Anxiety about the future

Labour mobility is plummeting, precarious gig economy work is increasing, and mid-career workers are struggling to keep pace with technological change. With millions of people currently in the workforce who are fearful of the looming impacts of automation on their job security, they are rightly concerned that their skills are no longer valuable or relevant. Navigating the murky waters of career transition is often unclear and unpleasant.

Growing pains

The competition for talent is steep and expensive. Companies that can’t find the workers they need won’t grow to their full potential. Talent fuels growth and, yet, too few job seekers have the skills and experience needed, while new high demand jobs and skill sets pop up seemingly overnight. Satisfying this demand via employer-sponsored workplace training often isn’t feasible for the small and medium-sized businesses that are creating new jobs.

Training that doesn’t fit

What is clearly needed is a vehicle for continuous learning that is responsive to industry need and nimble enough to equip job seekers with in-demand skills. Unfortunately, the our education system is designed to prepare young people to enter the workforce versus continuously training people throughout their careers. New approaches to lifelong learning – a ‘third pillar’ of labour market – need to be developed that are industry-led and designed to be rapid, nimble and intensive to serve mid-career workers.

Palette Inc.’s mission is to help mid-career workers whose jobs are threatened by automation to retrain and upskill into high demand careers in the innovation economy.

The result is win-win-win – an ecosystem of innovative companies that find the talent they need locally, a cohort of skilled mid-career workers retrained for the innovation economy, and a lot less anxiety about the future for everyone.

Palette Inc. is a national not-for-profit developed in partnership with the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship. We are currently building a pilot for 2018 and seeking partners from industry, education and training, and employment services. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact us.

Meet the Team

Arvind Gupta
Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Toronto
AJ Tibando
Project Lead

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