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ICYMI: Pandemic Exacerbates Skills Gap

The coronavirus pandemic swept the nation in 2020 disrupting all facets of American life, including how we work. Countless reports, studies, and experts have cautioned the pandemic will further exacerbate our nation’s skills gap, displacing workers who lack the skills to keep up with technological changes.
 
As we begin the 117th Congress, Committee Republicans remain committed to identifying ways to ensure workers have access to reskilling and upskilling education. This priority will be paramount as our nation heals from the coronavirus pandemic.
 
In case you missed it, Politico ran a story covering this very issue:
 
Workers are struggling for skills support during pandemic
By Ryan Heath
January 6, 2021
 
Labor market experts are calling for 2021 to be the year the United States revamps its social contract.
 
Covid-19 laid bare the holes in America’s social safety net, but the federal government’s $3.5 trillion stimulus wasn’t designed to repair them. Instead of more “short-term life support,” World Economic Forum Managing Director Saadia Zahidi told POLITICO’s Global Translations podcast, "this is the moment to reserve some part of the support for investing in the future."
 
Marianne Wanamaker, an economics professor at the University of Tennessee and former member of President Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers, is more worried about training than further layoffs in 2021. Without skills better matched to the post-Covid economy, millions may find that new work goes to robots and other labor-saving technology instead, she said.
 
…“There is a skills mismatch and it's growing. There needs to be a much bigger focus on reskilling and upskilling,” Zahidi said, “most governments are failing to think right now smartly about the markets of tomorrow, the jobs of tomorrow," she added. What sets America apart is that it has the resources to do something about that — to help individual workers and employers make smarter long-term decisions…
 
The WEF says that over the next five years there will be more technology-driven job creation than job losses, but workers need additional skills and access to training to allow them to pivot when needed.
 
The difficulty is that individual workers often don’t have the information or resources needed to regularly update their skills midcareer…
 
…Becky Frankiewicz, CEO of Manpower North America, said a nudge is often all it takes to boost a worker’s skills. By identifying "skills agencies" employers and their staff can craft career paths through a sector, supported by “fast, short bursts of on-the-job training,” she said. According to WEF research, 85 percent of people can reskill in a matter of weeks to jobs with adjacent skills.
 
To read the full story in Politico, click here
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