By: Mark Baum, Senior Vice President, Industry Relations, Chief Collaboration Officer, FMI

We know from our U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends COVID-19 tracker that 25% of Americans are especially worried about having enough money to pay for food. Questions about the emerging job market have resulted in these anxieties and uncertainties impacting households across income levels. A staggering 30 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits since March 14, which is more than the combined populations of the eight largest cities in the U.S.

The food industry finds itself in a unique position in this national emergency to both nourish lives and provide for those looking for steady income, based on their own needs to hire workers. We’re witness to unprecedented labor challenges across foodservice, hospitality, travel/tourism and related sectors, and simultaneously, an unparalleled demand for grocery jobs.

Therefore, in early March, FMI sought a solution to address this unique dynamic and found a technology company to serve as a conduit to making these types of job connections in real time – a collaborative partner that could help us put up and scale up fast. Eightfold, in partnership with FMI and supported by McKinsey & Company, created such a platform, free of charge, as a service to the industry, during the coronavirus crisis. This platform is Talent Exchange, a new offering powered by

The Talent Exchange is for organizations with furloughed employees; organizations looking to hire quickly; and for affected individuals. Eightfold’s AI powered business model is adept at matching people, and since many roles are transferrable – cashiers, for instance – user scenarios can quickly leverage Eightfold’s machine learning to match individuals seeking employment with potential jobs – at scale and in real time.

Currently, companies such as Instacart, Ingles, and C&S Wholesalers are among the hiring side of the more than half a million participants in the Talent Exchange. Examples of companies populating the worker supply side of the Exchange include United Airlines and Macys. Our goal is upwards of a million job connections.

Some of the heroes of the food industry work behind the scenes in distribution centers or manufacturing facilities They produce product and deliver it to customers, and they help keep stores operational. Food is one of 15 areas of critical infrastructure during this national emergency, and we believe this partnership with Eightfold will become a template for how we create business and career connections in the future.

I recently joined Ashutosh Garg (CEO & Co-Founder of Eightfold) along with  Josh Bersin (Founder and Dean of the Josh Bersin Academy), for a webinar discussion: The impact of COVID-19 on workers today and the ramifications on the future of work – How AI is helping.

Watch Webinar

Visit Talent Exchange