Abstract - Bikram Senupta

Developing Inclusive Workplaces in the Digital Era: Two Organizations, One Mission

The labour market is witnessing profound changes caused by a combination of factors. IT literacy is emerging as a key foundational skill across industry roles as businesses accelerate their adoption of digital technologies. At the same time, technological advances such as automation and AI, are creating a significant disruption in the workplace. Many repetitive human tasks are being transferred to machines, thereby raising important questions about the nature of employable skills required for the future job market. All of these are coinciding with demographic changes that are infusing millions of youth into the labour market every month, often from high-need communities and lacking access to quality education. In this backdrop, there are well-founded concerns whether information technology, instead of bridging economic divisions, will serve to widen them. This talk will focus on two organizations that are playing complementary roles in pursuit of a common mission of addressing these demographic and employability challenges. Anudip Foundation seeks to generate sustainable knowledge-economy livelihoods for marginalized youth - e.g. economically disadvantaged, religious minorities, tribal populations, political refugees, people with disabilities or victims of trafficking - through market aligned skills training in IT and placement partnerships with leading employers. One such employer is its sister organization iMerit Technology Services, which leverages human knowledge and judgement along with hands-on technical skills to provide enterprise-grade data annotation services in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Till date, Anudip has trained more than 100,000 high-need students, with a placement rate of more than 70%. Around 80% of iMerit’s rapidly growing workforce comes from under-served communities, and 50% are women. Together, these organizations have evolved a successful model for creating inclusive and sustainable livelihoods in the new age digital economy. In this talk, I will introduce Anudip and iMerit, describe their operational models, success stories, as well as the challenges that arise when we scale and diversify. We will discuss the role of technology to address these challenges, and in particular, technology-enabled learning and development of human capability, which is central to the mission of the two organizations.