Meet Our 2021 Innovation Fund Finalists

by Jeshua John, on November 15, 2021 at 12:20 PM

The Workers Lab is excited to share our finalists for the 2021 Innovation Fund cycle. They emerged from a list of almost 400 incredibly talented and promising applicants. The finalists are now in the running to win one of our six $150,000 awards that will help their ideas succeed and flourish. 

We're so happy to move these great ideas forward, and we’re grateful to our review panel that included worker leaders, staff, board of directors, past winners, and subject matter experts, for their hard work. 

Finalists include: 

  • CalFLEXI, a city-run platform in Long Beach, California, supported by Pacific Gateway Workforce Partnership, which gives hourly workers control over when they work and what they earn, and effectively connects workers with people and companies seeking their services. This innovation is aiming to inform similar government-level efforts across the country. 
  • CoRise Cooperative is a Chicago-based, union-aligned organization working to provide the full range of business needs that family child care providers require, through serving as a public contracting entity,  providing multilingual business coaching and support, and developing a fully provider-owned and controlled cooperative corporation.
  • Digital Catalyst Initiative for Older Workers is an upskilling program from the Center for Workforce Inclusion that helps underserved older adults acquire and practice career-oriented technologies on-the-job. The program also provides pro bono support to minority and female-owned small businesses to implement ecommerce tools and techniques.
  • Future of Fashion: Brand Accountability is a program of the Garment Worker Center that aims to leverage recent California state legislation and related coalition building to hold fashion brands accountable for monitoring and enforcing higher labor standards in their supply chains.
  • Let's Get Set is a project that guides working mothers on paths to financial security and wealth creation with mobile tools, such as tax preparation and savings support, and coaching tailored to meet their unique financial needs. 
  • Los Deliveristas Unidos, a rapidly expanding collective of app-based food delivery workers in New York who are organizing for better working conditions, livable wages, healthy and safe work environments, and pay transparency, while building pathways for worker representation in the app-based delivery industry.
  • Louisiana Dollar Store Workers United, a project of Step-Up Louisiana Organizing Fund, plans to develop a credible voice for employees at the Dollar Store corporations through building a statewide committee of workers. The project will co-create transformational antiracist safety and security plans that prioritize workers and customers, not just property or policing.
  • ¡Reclamo!, a tool from the Immigration Advocates Network, which is designed to help workers and organizers easily identify and confront wage theft through automation of the data collection process and access to legal support.
  • Sex Worker Liberation Project, being led by Black and Pink Inc., is aiming to provide safety and health needs for sex workers nationwide, with a specific focus on supporting sex workers in the South, by offering access to resource consolidation through their Sex Worker Liberation Toolkit, access to bail support, and affirming health care. 
  • Solidarity Tech is an all-in-one, deep organizing platform for unions and progressive organizations that offers a set of tools previously out of reach for all but the most well-resourced campaigns, at affordable prices. 
  • The Autism Hiring Program, led by Howard County Autism Society, is building a more inclusive workforce by connecting businesses in Central Maryland to an untapped workforce of skilled autistic adults and serving jobseekers not supported by existing systems.
  • United for Respect Education Fund, is working to catalyze leadership development through technology. The new set of technology tools will help organizers listen and learn from their members, activate users into worker leaders, and spotlight opportunities for deeper engagement. 

We look forward to announcing our winners of the 2021 Innovation Fund cycle very soon.

To support our work and the ability to find and resource these amazing innovations, please click here to donate to The Workers Lab.

Topics: Learning Hub