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2021 - 2022


Building a regional hub​ and center of excellence for AI, Data Science, and the Internet of Things in Louisville, KY. The Future of Work Initiative is using a lean start-up methodology to build a sustainable data economy ecosystem.


implementation of programming for business community


program expansion to include youth and educators

To achieve this vision, we have 3 workstreams:


In April of 2021, the Future of Work Initiative, powered by Microsoft, held a virtual summit on Accelerating AI and Data Automation. The keynote event was a conversation between Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and former Executive Director of the Future of Work Initiative, Ben Reno-Weber.   Fischer shared that we would need to have a clear focus on the reducing the marginalization of people of color and women in the tech industry. He explained that the purpose of the conference is to ensure we have the right type of inclusive growth and opportunity for everyone in our city.  Watch all the conference videos on YouTube.

Here at the Future of Work Initiative, we are dedicated to preparing the Louisville community for the data economy.  

Workforce Transformation

  • Hosted two AI conferences, each with 1000+ attendees and over 400 companies represented (in-person in 2020 (pre-covid), virtual in 2021)

  • Facilitated multiple AI and analytics workshops and events for over 150 people to train leaders on leveraging data for organizational insights.


In partnership with industry, we are:

  • Applying for an EDA grant, led by the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council (LHCC), which is guided by the Brookings’s roadmap that sparked the Louisville Future of Work Initiative and based on our work thus far.  This project will diversify and increase the region’s digital health and AI talent pipeline by creating systems to connect training programs, employers and job seekers; facilitating and scaling existing and new training programs (especially focused on preparing underserved populations with skill sets needed for these jobs); developing and implementing a comprehensive equity strategy; and systematically mobilizing wrap-around supports. LHCC is the lead applicant for this grant. There is a potential for additional training of over 4,000 people/year.


In partnership with Microsoft Cincinnati, we:

  • Provided free training in Excel and Power BI for over 600 business professionals in the Louisville area

  • Are planning additional free courses for 4Q 2022.

In partnership with JPMorganChase and Metro United Way, and based on feedback from job placement efforts, we:

  • Created DataBoss 2022 where participants from the trainings above had the opportunity to be paid for completion of data projects, in order to enhance their data portfolio and increase their hireability.

    • Provided mentorship/guidance for data analytics projects for over X individuals.

    • Introduced over 100 diverse data analytics job seekers to 30 hiring managers from across the region at our Industry Night events.

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Workforce Transformation

COVID-19 Upskilling Initiative

As part of our COVID-19 upskilling initiative, in partnership with Humana, University of Louisville, General Assembly, and Rockefeller Foundation, we:

  • 2 Black-led local nonprofit upskilling organizations were able to provide data analytics training to 40+ individuals with funding provided through our partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation,

  • 750+ credentials were earned by individuals who demonstrated completion of an online data credential as a result of our one-month, daily laptop raffle.

    • Over 4,000 people expressed interest on our website, over 1,700 completed an online survey to receive access to the training credentials (they were 55.4% women and 20.6% Black, both above population parity, atypical for tech jobs in the region and nationally).

  • 100 participants received funding and a stipends from Future of Work to move through instructor-led coursework in data analytics, UX design, digital marketing, or front-end web development.

  • Created The Butterfly Project, which mobilizes youth (from underrepresented backgrounds in data/computer science) to be social change agents within their city while preparing them for data economy careers. Participants are taught historical and local perspectives of social justice overall and then in the context of jobs, justice, housing, health and education, then partner with local community organizations to use data to understand and address systemic inequities. 

    • The Butterfly Project won Louisville the distinction of champion city (one of 50 cities out of over 650 applicants worldwide) in the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge.  Read about our most recent program, which trained over 60 teachers providing the potential for 24,000 students to gain skills in data analytics over the next 4 years (60 educators x 100 students/year x 4 years)


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Improving the Education Pipeline



In partnership with Jefferson County Public Schools (Louisville’s public school system), we: 

  • Created and implemented ID+ Academy, a first of its kind equity-focused data science pathway at Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS - Louisville area public school system), incorporating Microsoft Imagine Academy data science curriculum, framed with equity/identity. Includes two industry-recognized credentials:  MTA Database Fundamentals and Excel 2019.  

  • Taught a 12-course artificial intelligence/internet of things course for middle schools (120 students trained)

  • Provided MakeCode Arcade classes (game design) for approximately 500 elementary school students.

In partnership with Simmons College of Kentucky, Louisville’s HBCU, we: 


  • Fundraised $500,000.00 to support implementation of data science major that incorporates HBCU principles of social and cultural progress

  • Developed data science major in partnership with Microsoft Imagine Academy

  • Provided training for professors to implement data analytics into non-data science coursework

In partnership with the U of L Digital Transformation Center and Jefferson County Public Schools

  • Created a Data Analytics Course to teach educators how to incorporate data analytics into any content area

  • Raised funds to ensure 25 educators will earn $500 while participating in the course

  • Confirmed educators will earn three graduate-level credit hours at University of Louisville for successful completion of the course.

  • Accepted over 90 applications from JCPS teachers to participate the course.

"We were shocked at the number of educators who expressed interest to take this course. While we can only select 25 individuals for this first program, we now better understand the demand and hope to offer more classes like it in the future."

- Ashley Triplett, Innovation and Training Strategist at University of Louisville

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Over 60 Educators, Students, Nonprofits Participated in Workshop to Learn Data Analytics for Social Progress

From July 11 - 15, 2022 over 70 individuals including SummerWorks interns, high school educators, college professors, and local nonprofit leaders participated in The Butterfly Project, a one-week  immersive social justice data analytics experience that culminated in an event at Roots 101: African American Museum. 

​Using Louisville/JCPS’s open access data sources, participants worked with community nonprofits throughout the project to use data to support their efforts addressing systemic inequities that directly impact Louisville residents. 

During the program, participants experienced and learned: 

  • Data analytics skills such as how to collect, clean, interpret, and visualize data, as well as how to identify data gaps and how these gaps affect outcomes.

  • How to leverage the power of data to strengthen the efforts of local nonprofits addressing social challenges impacting jobs, justice, education, health and housing.

Educators also learned how to incorporate data analytics into any content area and those who successfully completed the training received a $1,000 stipend.  

“This is a new way of thinking about the intersection of data science, workforce development, and social progress,” said Alisia McClain, Executive Director of the Louisville Future of Work Initiative.  “We are excited for the opportunity to expand from 15 participants to over 70 participants in our sophomore session of The Butterfly Project.”


Butterfly Project Topic Highlights

  • Creative Writing/Haiku Workshop

  • The Jemez Principles

  • Social Identity Wheel

  • Data Framework

  • Data Cleaning and Profiling

  • Survey Design

  • Data Storytelling

  • Putting The Narrative into Context 

  • Data Visualization

  • Power BI


The Butterfly Project Participants consisted of approximately 65 TeccBoss interns and 21 educators, along with 11 mentors and 8 nonprofit organizations. 


The participating educators included college professors, teaching assistants, and community leaders. 


These individuals represented the following organizations: University of Louisville, Simmons College, Fern Creek and Western High Schools, Pathfinder School, Grace James Academy of Excellence, Cane Run Elementary, Kentucky Leaders of Tomorrow, and the National Black MBA Association.


The breakdown of the teacher demographics was as follows: 







Nonprofit Organization leaders represented: 


  • Tech-nique - mission is to create a world where the voices and experiences of underrepresented minorities are welcomed and celebrated in the field of technology.

  • Amplify Louisville - a place for startups and founders to explore ideas, build solutions, launch products, and grow businesses while supercharging our local and regional entrepreneurship ecosystem.

  • Flight Club 502 - Dedicated to teaching young students about leadership and success through realistic goal setting in aviation and through Next Generation Learning Challenges/STEM education.

  • Cultivating The Youth Experience Inc. - mission is to serve our youth as an organization that empowers and leads them to embrace maturity, responsibility, diversity, education and collaboration.

  • Sowing Seeds with Faith - To enrich youth via an institution that sustains cycles of success in education and careers.  We believe that team-building and peer tutoring also helps to create an academically rich environment.

  • Queer Kentucky - diverse LGBTQ+ run non-profit based in Louisville, Kentucky working to bolster and enhance Queer culture and health though storytelling, education and action. 

  • South Louisville Community Ministries - provides emergency assistance for our neighbors facing crisis and work with our partners and neighbors to better connect and advocate. 

  • The Hope Buss - we strive to turn the needs of the community into strengths, believing that the work we begin will result in sustainable resources from which the community can eventually thrive with the ultimate goal of alleviating poverty.


The 65 TeccBoss students that participated in the program  

Covid Upskilling
Education Pipeline
The Butterfly Project

Top Industries Represented by Students

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Students are willing to spend time every week dedicated to learning. Over 90% of students expressed they would spend 3+ hours per week dedicated to technology upskilling.

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