Makr Shakr to train people impacted by tech

11th December, 2019 by Owen Bellwood

Robot bartender creator Makr Shakr has launched a new scheme to support workers whose profession may be affected by automation.

Makr Shakr will award US$1,000 to workers affected by automation

The Makr Shakr Automation Stipend will award US$1,000 to one person for every robotic bartending unit sold. The funds are to be used for the training and development of workers that could be affected by the implementation of robots in a wide range of industries.

The stipend pilot programme will run in Buffalo, New York, this month, and will roll out into Europe later in 2020.

The first candidate is Brian Townsell, a 50-year-old who grew up working in restaurants and hotels. Townsell said he has been unable to pursue his dream to work in the brewery field while supporting his family.

In collaboration with Suny Erie Community College and the Suny Erie Foundation, Makr Shakr has sponsored Townsell through four months of the brewery science and service course at the college.

To select candidates for the stipend, Makr Shakr says it will consider “transition and redistribution”.

Transition means the stipend will support those most likely to lose their jobs and whose training could help find more secure employment, while also educating new generations. The fund’s redistribution focus means Makr Shakr will “identify those who will benefit from this new order” and will ensure training in the food tech market to anyone who might lose their job because of automation.

Makr Shakr’s Automation Stipend aims to be the first fund of its kind. The fund’s launch follows suggestions by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and former US labour secretary Robert Reich that tech firms have an obligation to support individuals that could be negatively impacted by their innovations.

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