According to the Brookings Institution, economists are predicting that 58 percent of unemployed workers who were laid off as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns are likely to return to their old jobs. But with the majority of laid-off workers facing an uncertain employment future, the question remains of how workers and employers will transition into a post-coronavirus world of work.
The Committee for Economic Development (CED) explains that employers are a major source of ongoing employee training. But with events like the COVID-19 pandemic, these former employees have been dislocated from an upward career path.
According to the CED and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, during June 2020, approximately one-third of unemployment insurance went to the self-employed, individuals who do not benefit from employer-based training. This presents a challenge for those workers, who might require more training to enter the market as an employee.
One potential scenario for these pandemic-dislocated workers, according to the CED, is through “publicly supported training in a time of crisis.” Recommendations, especially for individuals on the bottom earning tiers, are for increased public investment in community colleges. Providing virtual training could help these individuals learn new skills and become employable again. Be it a community college or similar, and the CED explains that it could be subsidized by either a modified Pell Grant or direct payments to the individual taking classes to become a member of the workforce again.
Much as the pandemic’s course is uncertain, only time will tell until how these newly created job problems will be addressed.