Announcing the Worker Health and Safety Finalists

by Tiffany Ferguson, on October 8, 2020 at 10:05 AM
Announcing the Worker Health and Safety Finalists

Ever wonder how innovative social impact ideas get funded? By applying to The Innovation Fund! This summer, 185 people submitted applications to us for their ideas about Worker Health & Safety. Today, we're down to 18 finalists.

If you have an innovative idea for workers coming back, consider applying to our Fall 2020 cycle - open until October 14.

In July, we  put out a call for  ideas that could improve or guarantee worker health and safety. We asked for ideas that forged fresh collaborations, lifted up underrepresented groups, and reimagined policy approaches to make work and life more healthy and safe for workers.  We're glad we asked because we surfaced a number of timely, creative ideas with tremendous potential for improving workers’ health and safety.

Now, we're thrilled to share with you our 18 finalists. We hope you get inspired by the following approaches to improve worker health and safety:

  • Building Skills Partnership — The safe reopening of the economy depends on the property service workforce to keep businesses clean and sanitized. Janitors are essential in the fight to control the spread of COVID-19, and BSP is ready to expand their newly developed Infectious Disease Certification program to serve this crucial workforce.
  • Center for Workers’ Rights — To increase local capacity to enforce the newly passed Sacramento Worker Protection, Health, and Safety Act, workers will be trained and deployed as field responders to educate and document employers violating the new safety protocols.
  • Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. — Workers under temporary visas who experience abuse technically have the legal possibility to change employers, but in practice this is virtually impossible. seeks to create a job board to connect workers with certified employers who comply with health and safety rules and do not exploit their workers.
  • CNA Simulations VR — Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) need clinical skills despite widespread cancellation of clinical rotations. CSVR is creating the first suite of virtual reality (VR) clinical simulations designed exclusively for Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) students.
  • CommunityHealth — By co-locating CommunityHealth telehealth microsites within community organizations throughout Chicago, this project aims to make healthcare more accessible. This would open the door to quality care to those with little or no current access, particularly workers who are uninsured or undocumented.
  • Family Values @ Work — Many frontline workers are afraid not only of contracting coronavirus, but the threat of having to quarantine and lose pay. This project seeks to train and activate health department staff to be effective conduits for democratizing information on paid leave options, public health guidelines, and inform workers of their rights.
  • Fyllan An on-demand platform that enables social distancing by pre-selling and monetizing the time slots of local service-based businesses. By pre-selling time slots in advance, business owners can automatically socially distance customers and lessen the viral load of the exposure of COVID to workers.
  • Harrison Institute for Public Law - Georgetown University Law Center — Seeks to protect food workers in institutional supply chains by harnessing university purchasing power and holding suppliers accountable to higher labor standards and practices.
  • Vibrant Hawai’i — Seeks to launch a pilot study that will bring subject matter experts from both the native community and the western medicine community to work alongside first responders (fire, EMS, police, medical providers) to research and document their experience with indigenous practice(s) to promote healing, wellbeing, and mental health support.
  • Healthcare Career Advancement Program — Aims to bring together Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) healthcare workers to identify needs related to the trauma of treating and caring for COVID-19 patients. They also seek to design trainings and supports that address related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psychological distress. 
  • Justice for Migrant Women — Developing and piloting a virtual support group curriculum to bring together farmworkers in support groups to heal trauma, build agency, and mobilize workers to address threats to their health and safety.
  • Labor Occupational Health Program - UC Berkeley — Provides education that builds the capacity of worker organizations and enables them to partner with Cal OSHA, driving strategic enforcement of health and safety laws through an agency-community partnership.
  • Legal Aid Justice Center — On the heels of the passage of statewide emergency temporary standards for workplace safety (the first state to do so in the country), LAJC aims to rapidly build and prototype a chatbot that will enable Virginia workers to determine whether their employer is likely violating COVID-19 workplace protections and learn how to report and seek help.
  • Medical Center of the Americas Foundation Launching a program to link nurses and makers in the binational El Paso - Ciudad Juarez region in order to empower frontline health workers to generate solutions that respond to their needs and improve workplace safety.
  • Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights — The Mississippi Essential Workers Justice Project seeks to establish an occupational health clinic to improve health and safety and working conditions for Black and brown essential workers.
  • Sustainable Innovations — Their e-health platform, Care-on-the-Move, allows community health entrepreneurs to deliver check-ups, follow-ups, and diagnostic services to workers in rural underserved regions. 
  • The Farmworker and Landscaper Advocacy Project — Aims to host pop-up socially-distanced, mobile events to provide direct cash assistance, legal advocacy, and community resources for vulnerable Latino workers.
  • Worklife Partnership This projects aims to launch a new worker-voice initiative, SAFE, that equips Resource Navigators to foster fast food service employer commitment to worker supports, acknowledgement, feedback and engagement. This work is focused on improving workplace safety and creating safe avenues for workers to share concerns and access help for basic needs or mental health concerns.

It won’t be long before our review committee selects six winners. Follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter to receive the announcement in late October.

About The Workers Lab

At The Workers Lab, our purpose is to give new ideas about increasing worker power a chance to succeed and flourish, and new ideas about workers need a chance now perhaps more than ever before. Read more about why from our CEO, Adrian Haro. Share your ideas with us. Apply now.

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Topics: The Innovation Fund