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Cognizant U.S. Foundation Awards $1.25 Million to Aspen Institute’s Future of Work Initiative to Support Continuous Learning Systems

November 18, 2019  • Future of Work Initiative

Grant Enables Research and Local Gatherings to Provide Policy Solutions for U.S. Cities; Recommendations to be Released in 2020

New York, NY, Nov. 18, 2019—The Cognizant U.S. Foundation today announced a $1.25 million grant to the Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative to support four major U.S. cities—Chicago, Ill., Charlotte, N.C., Phoenix, Ariz., and Hartford, Conn.—in advancing local policy, training, and education initiatives to ensure workers thrive in jobs of today and tomorrow.

Launched in 2015, the Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative is a nonpartisan effort to address the challenges American workers and businesses face due to the changing nature of work. With funding from the Cognizant U.S. Foundation, the Initiative will bring together local leaders, industry executives, academic institutions, training providers and policymakers to better understand how American cities can develop continuous learning systems supporting worker competitiveness and career longevity. Continuous learning systems address ongoing skills and knowledge development to support personal growth, career competitiveness and professional networking.

The project launches today at a public event at Malcolm X College, a campus of the City Colleges of Chicago. This is the first of several gatherings in the four named cities that will help map resources, identify solutions and drive collaboration to build continuous learning systems. Research findings on the cities will be released in 2020, providing a road map for other communities across the country in designing effective models for lifelong learning. With release of the recommendations, the Initiative will host public events nationwide to drive awareness and build enthusiasm for new programs and policies that foster continuous learning. Recommendations will include policy solutions for employers, government and educational institutions.

“Preparing the American workforce for the future of work is a national economic imperative,” said Kristen Titus, Executive Director of the Cognizant U.S. Foundation. “We recognize this requires a localized approach and deep engagement and collaboration among the employers, education and training providers, policymakers, and worker advocates who know their market best. Together with the Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative, we aim to equip local leaders with the research, resources and innovative solutions to help ensure long-term economic viability for their communities through a robust local talent pool.”

“At Cognizant, we are keenly aware of the importance of building a diverse, skilled workforce that can thrive in the digital economy,” said Allen Shaheen, Cognizant U.S. Foundation Board Member and Executive Vice President, Digital Engineering, Cognizant. “We look forward to advancing system-wide change, and delivering insights that can help policymakers and organizations, including many of our grantees, drive even greater progress in workforce development. We are thrilled to bring our resources and partners to support this effort.”

“As technology changes the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century economy, we must update the outdated education model in which Americans could expect the education and skills they obtain when they are young to last their entire career,” said Alastair Fitzpayne, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative. “By partnering with the Cognizant U.S. Foundation, we will build a better understanding of the challenges facing local economies and identify promising practices and policies that help workers prepare for the jobs and skills of the future.”


About Cognizant U.S. Foundation

The Cognizant U.S. Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private foundation supporting STEM education and skills training across the United States. Launched in 2018 with an initial $100 million investment from Cognizant, the Foundation has since awarded $12 million to organizations working to educate and train the next generation of workers. To learn more, visit

About the Aspen Institute’s Future of Work Initiative

The Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative is a nonpartisan effort to identify concrete ways to address the challenges American workers and businesses face due to the changing nature of work in the 21st century. Established in 2015, the Initiative is driven by the leadership of Honorary Co-Chairs Senator Mark R. Warner and Purdue University President and former Governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels, and Co-Chairs John Bridgeland and Bruce Reed. Executive Director Alastair Fitzpayne leads an Aspen Institute staff, based in Washington, DC. To learn more, visit

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Rick Lacroix



Jodi Sorensen