- Democrats introduced a bill Jan. 28 aimed to inject $15 billion in workforce support and training, including investments in work-based learning programs and community college training grant programs, according to the bill’s fact sheet.
- A majority of the funds — $11 billion — would go "to support dislocated workers, employers, youth, and adults who are seeking jobs" through workforce training and support programs such as apprenticeships, online skills training and career navigation support.
- The bill, named the Relaunching America’s Workforce Act, is intended to support workers displaced by the economic downturn prompted by the pandemic. "Millions of Americans remain unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and roughly 7 million of the jobs lost are not expected to come back," House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. Scott, D-Va., said in a statement. "We must provide these workers the support and skills they need to get back on their feet."
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of learning and skill-building opportunities for job seekers, employees and employers alike as unemployment rose. The impact of the pandemic on workers has been uneven, with some sectors experiencing high rates of unemployment while others remained unaffected.
Many recently unemployed individuals are not confident they can apply their skills to new jobs, results of a May 2020 LiveCareer survey revealed. The survey found more than half cannot identify transferable skills; about the same amount said they are unsure how to communicate transferable skills through their resumes.
The coronavirus prompted some employers to discover how to leverage transferable skills. CVS, for example, built a list of more than 60 partner organizations from which it could hire to facilitate its search for workers from other industries with relevant skills such as customer service and hospitality.
The pandemic also drove demand and opportunities for online learning. Learning platform Udemy added free content for workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The platform observed an increase in traffic in the spring, seeing usage rates for its soft skill and technical training soar.