Close It Summit Announces Inaugural Tech Awards to SNHU and WDI-NY

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Southern New Hampshire University's Sandbox Collaborative and Workforce Development Institute of New York receive inaugural Social Tech Awards

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“We cannot think of higher praise than an award from the Close It Summit, the leading national convening for those thinking and working on about how to create equity and opportunity in the world of work," Lois Johnson, Director of Workforce Strategies, WDI-NY

Last week in Austin, the Close It Summit announced two inaugural awards honoring leaders in the future of work and learn. The two winners of the distinguished “Social Tech Awards" were the Workforce Development Institute (WDY-NY) and Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) Sandbox Collaborative. The producers of the annual event identified the importance of elevating and honoring tech that is new to the market and introducing unique solutions for the future.

Institute for the Future (IFTF) and Innovate+Educate co-hosted the Close It 2018: Future Meets Now October 16-17 in Austin, Texas. Attendees and speakers were experts in the fields of education, tech, business, economic development, entrepreneurship, workforce, and impact investing. The two-day private event explored the skills needed to succeed in the future workforce and examined how the educational system must change to ensure individuals can develop those crucial skills. With the advent of the gig economy, the need for an inclusive system for working and learning is shifting rapidly, and the Summit addressed critical components of this shift.

WDI-NY (https://wdiny.org/) has served at the intersection of business and workforce in New York since 2003, and recently launched Future Skills Exchange, a competency and skills based clearinghouse to support practitioners, employers, learners and policymakers to ensure New York prepares for the shifts in the future of working and learning. “The Workforce Development Institute (WDI) is deeply honored to have been selected for one of the inaugural “Social Tech” Awards this year at the Close It 2018 Summit,” said Lois Johnson, Director of Workforce Strategies, WDI-NY. “We cannot think of higher praise than an award from the Close It Summit, the leading national convening for those thinking and working on about how to create equity and opportunity in the world of work, now and in the future. These shared values are critical to the mission of WDI and inform all our work.”

SNHU Sandbox Collaborative (http://www.sandboxcollaborative.org) is a research and development arm of Southern New Hampshire focusing on “rethinking higher education” in ways to ultimately benefit the learner. Sandbox Collaborative was a recent recipient of a $1 Million Google grant to assess, train, and employ disconnected young adults across the U.S. providing them opportunities via soft skills assessments and a technology platform. “SNHU is honored to receive the Close It Summit ‘Social Tech Award’,” said Paul LeBlanc, University President and CEO, SNHU. “This award is a direct reflection of the work we do every day to challenge the status quo through innovative thinking and risk-taking, and we cannot be more proud of this recognition.”

“It was an honor to present these two organizations the inaugural award on behalf of Close It," said Jamai Blivin, CEO and Founder of Innovate+Educate/Close It. "These two organizations are helping to provide this intersection with the work they are both doing around working and learning. We applaud them for innovative work in a challenging new ecosystem.”

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Edie Dillman
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