Autodesk Foundation Prepares for the Future Workforce With the Aspen Institute’s Future of Work Initiative, Focusing on U.S. Policy

Categories: Autodesk Foundation Our Company

Holds successful forum on Automation & AI for Good with Village Capital

Today at AU London, we’re pleased to announce that the Autodesk Foundation will continue to invest in workers and workforce development by partnering with the Aspen Institute’s Future of Work Initiative. This nonpartisan initiative aims to identify ways that we can address challenges in the workforce due to increases in automation and emerging technologies. The initiative provides actionable policies and interventions for US policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels, thereby advancing the national dialogue around the future of work.

New technologies and increased automation are impacting workers and businesses today. These trends may bring dramatic changes to the labor market in the years ahead. Rather than waiting to react to future disruptions, it is critical to understand the challenge and develop solutions that address the changes transforming the U.S. economy. We are eager to drive the dialogue forward by contributing to the nascent knowledge base that will help workers succeed in the age of automation.

The Aspen Institute’s Future of Work Initiative focuses on policy solutions at the federal, state, and local levels to:

  • Improve economic security for both traditional and independent workers
  • Expand investment in and access to effective education and training programs
  • Reduce pressure on businesses to prioritize short-term profits and encourage investment in long-term value creation


Our initial investment in workforce development was announced at AU Las Vegas last fall. The Autodesk Foundation launched a new initiative with Village Capital to catalyze ventures using automation and machine learning tools to positively impact workers.

Since announcing our partnership last November, we received dozens of applications from startups using AI to help people succeed in the new era of automation. Ten organizations were chosen to join us last week in our San Francisco offices for a daylong forum on Automation & AI for Good.

Jean Shia, Head of Portfolio and Investment, at the Autodesk Foundation, speaks to a mentor at the Village Capital Automation and AI for Good forum in San Francisco.

We spent the day listening to pitches while meeting and coaching these companies that are driving impact through their work in automation and AI. From the ten companies that joined us, three winners were chosen and awarded funding and mentoring by Autodesk executives and other leading technology companies. The winning startups included:

  • Green Badger – A cloud-based automation and compliance solutions for the green construction industry.
  • Roadbotics – A comprehensive automated road condition survey tool, using advanced machine learning to revolutionize the way road infrastructure throughout the world is maintained and managed
  • Quartolio – an AI-powered knowledge management platform that analyzes millions of open access articles, datasets, and patents and provides researchers with intelligible insights.

Winning startups are represented by their founders at the June 12th forum in San Francisco. From L to R: Benjamin Schmidt; Co-Founder, Chief Technology Officer, RoadBotics (Peer Choice); Tommy Linstroth, Founder, CEO Green Badger (Jury Choice); and Nicole Bishop; Founder, CEO Quartolio (Audience Choice)

These investments with The Aspen Institute’s Future of Work Initiative and Village Capital are a part of the Autodesk Foundation’s efforts to prepare the workforce to thrive in the future. One of our goals is to support and learn from organizations that utilize automation and AI for good and to prepare the future workforce in ways we’d never imagined.