2020 Workforce Learning Innovation Research Grant Awardees | MIT J-WEL

You are here

2020 Workforce Learning Innovation Research Grant Awardees

Congratulations to all of our 2020 grantees in Workforce Learning Research Innovation! In 2020, J-WEL's Workforce Learning Collaborative awarded over $200,000 in funding to four projects.

J-WEL Workforce Learning reviews grant applications on a rolling basis. To learn more or apply, visit our grants page.

Projects awarded funding, 2020


Co-Lab Studio at CambridgeSide

PI: Michael Cima, Associate Dean for Innovation; Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Director of the Lemelson-MIT Program
Project team: Dr. Stephanie Couch, Executive Director of the Lemelson-MIT Program; and Betsy Boyle, Program Manager for the Lemelson-MIT Program 

The rapid rate of technological change generates a need for adults to continuously upgrade skills. Family obligations and time pressures present barriers. The Co-Lab Studio project creates a testbed for new approaches to helping adults and youth learn emerging technologies, thereby shortening the timeframe required for adoption and use.

Namrata Kala

The Returns to Workplace Training and Retention for Female Workers: Evidence from India

PI: Namrata Kala, W. Maurice Young (1961) Career Development Professor of Management; Assistant Professor, Applied Economics
Project co-author: Madeline Mckelway

This project will explore key barriers to enrolling and completing vocational training for women in India, and will pilot interventions to address these barriers. The second phase of the project is to design a full-scale randomized controlled trial (RCT) based on the results of the pilot work.



Training the Driver, Not the Car: Entrepreneurship Education Focused on Individuals in West Africa

PI: Susan Silbey, Professor of Anthropology and Sociology (SHASS), Work and Organizational Studies (Sloan),

Project team: Dr. Caroline Fry, Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Strategic Management, MIT Sloan; and Ethan Poskanzer, PhD Candidate, Economic Sociology Program, MIT Sloan 

This project will examine an innovative entrepreneurship program in Ghana that focuses on individual skill development. The project team will estimate this program’s effectiveness relative to more traditional entrepreneurship programs, identify the populations for which training is most impactful and study how the program affects participants’ careers.


Understanding the Manufacturing Worker's Decision to Train

PI: Dr. George Westerman, J-WEL Workforce Learning Principal Research Scientist

Project team: Axelle Clochard, MSc Student, Technology and Policy Program; Susan Young, Assistant Director for J-WEL Workforce Learning

This project will investigate the factors that influence low-skilled manufacturing workers’ decision to participate in work-related training. As this population is at risk of being displaced by the increasing technologization of manufacturing, understanding their learning motivations and barriers will be crucial to ensuring that they can benefit from upskilling opportunities.