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, according to the Brookings Institution. But with the majority of laid-off workers facing an uncertain employment future, the question remains: How will workers and employers transition into a post-coronavirus world of work?
The Committee for Economic Development (CED) explains that employers are a major source of ongoing training for employees. With events like the COVID-19 pandemic, laid-off workers 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 in order 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.” The recommendation, especially for individuals on the bottom earning tiers, is for increased public investments in community colleges. Providing virtual training could help these individuals learn new skills and become employable again. Be it a community college or similar, the CED explains that it could be subsidized by either a modified Pell Grant or direct payments to the individual who is taking classes to become a member of the workforce again.
As the course of the pandemic is uncertain, only time will tell how these newly created job problems will be addressed.