- In partnership with Guild Education, a group of major U.S. employers is working together to help laid-off workers gain new skills and find pathways into higher-wage jobs. The launch of Guild's Next Chapter initiative will serve "displaced workers who have recently filed for unemployment to identify new roles with employers and sectors that are hiring," according to a statement.
- Employers that have laid off or furloughed workers can also access this platform and share with affected employees. Available resources include reskilling programs and coaching to find jobs in growing areas like tech, healthcare and customer success. "We're witnessing the tale of two labor markets. Food service, beauty, and hospitality are fueling unemployment rates not seen since the Great Depression," Rachel Carlson, CEO of Guild Education, said in the statement. "At the very same time, employers are grappling with the seemingly endemic skills gaps in healthcare, supply chain and skilled trade fields."
- Corporate partners include Walmart, TTEC, Gainsight, Paschall Truck Lines and Unity Technologies. Education providers involved in Next Chapter include Southern New Hampshire State University, Kaplan Higher Education and Brandman University, among others. "Rapid reskilling and access to education will be more important than ever as we emerge from this crisis," Drew Holler, SVP at Walmart, said in the statement.
Unemployment numbers continue to rise during the coronavirus pandemic. Employers implementing permanent or temporary workforce reductions should provide the best possible outplacement support to protect their employer brands, experts previously told HR Dive. Connecting with initiatives like Next Chapter, focused on employee opportunity, may be one way to do that.
Rising unemployment is also magnifying labor inequality. Research is finding that people of color, women, people with disabilities, hourly and younger workers are disproportionately being displaced from their jobs. Many of those groups were still recovering from the 2007 Great Recession, according to the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.
Younger workers and the newest entrants into the workforce may be even further strained. Many organizations, including some major employers, are cancelling internships. And fresh graduates are finishing their degrees remotely as campuses across the country are closed.
Regardless of age or demographic, employers and researchers agreed even before the pandemic that the current skills gap in the labor market requires mass upskilling of workers. Many organizations are collaborating or offering new solutions to deliver large training and upskilling programs and also to connect furloughed or laid-off workers to jobs. Given the increased demand for training, leading companies will need to take a proactive approach to succeed through the current climate and uncertain future.