Learning & Development, Recruiting

‘Next Chapter’ Platform Helps Connect Laid-Off Workers with New Careers

A new initiative launched by some major private sector employers and educational institutions seeks to pair displaced workers with in-demand positions.

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Rapid Growth in Unemployment

Aside from the illness itself, one of the most significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been economic, including the devastation of the labor market. “Over the past two months, the coronavirus pandemic has devastated large swaths of the U.S. labor market, with more than 36 million American workers filing claims for unemployment insurance,” says Alan Berube for Brookings.

And it hasn’t gotten any better. The recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs report indicates that the nation is seeing its highest level of unemployment since the Great Depression.

Some Skills in Increasingly High Demand

Ironically, many employers are actually seeing labor shortages, as their products and services are in increasingly high demand. Companies in food service, hospitality, and personal services like beauty salons and spas have been virtually decimated by the pandemic.

At the same time, though, Rachel Carlson, CEO of Guild Education, says in a press release that “employers are grappling with the seemingly endemic skills gaps in healthcare, supply chain and skilled trade fields.”

In the May 8, 2020, press release, Guild Education announced the creation of Next Chapter, a collaboration with Walmart, TTEC, Gainsight, Paschall Truck Lines, and Utility Technologies.

Unlike traditional services aimed at helping the unemployed by placing them in jobs similar to those they left, Next Chapter seeks to retrain them in the skills they need to find work and succeed in jobs with higher wages in emerging or growing industries.

The economic impacts of COVID-19 have created enormous disruptions in the labor market and millions of American’s lives; however, with any disruption often comes opportunity, and the silver lining for displaced workers is the chance to find more rewarding and lucrative work in in-demand fields.