- The U.S. Department of Labor Aug. 19 announced $90 million in grants available for training, as well as employment services for workers displaced by the pandemic and historically marginalized communities among others.
- The announcement more than doubles previously available funding, DOL said, and will fund: career, training and supportive services to help participants gain employment; services for job search, career guidance or training; and resources that provide flexibility in response to and recovery from events that cause widespread unemployment.
- "By doubling down on these critical investments, the Department of Labor reinforces its commitment to invest in strategies to help American workers get the services and training they need to secure quality jobs as our economy recovers," said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Suzi LeVine in a statement. "These grants focus on local innovation and put resources in our communities to ensure the workers most impacted by the pandemic get reemployment support to ensure an equitable recovery."
DOL's focus on an equitable recovery speaks to the pandemic’s disparate impact on certain employee groups. Job loss driven by the pandemic disproportionately affected women, people of color and individuals with disabilities, various 2020 studies revealed. But despite strong demand for talent, workers may need skills training to remain competitive in the market, sources say.
A lack of digital skills, in particular, has plagued workers from the front line to management, speakers said during a panel discussion hosted by the National Skills Coalition last year. The speakers noted that government involvement is important, but also said employer-educator partnerships are key.
Indeed, such partnerships have emerged as a way to upskill displaced talent. Goodwill’s CEO, for example, also highlighted the need for an equitable recovery earlier this year in announcing a partnership with a nonprofit organization focused on training.