By Mitch Coppes, Government Relations Senior Specialist, Goodwill Industries International
On Tuesday, May 19, the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board held a virtual meeting to discuss strategies for supporting workers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Comprised of leaders from industry, higher education, government and nonprofit organizations, the board advises the Administration on workforce development policy and work to promote career education and job training opportunities. The board put forward a national call-to-action for policymakers and workforce stakeholders that includes three priorities for assisting workers in the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis:
- Expedite American workers’ return to employment and upward mobility by investing in career pathways and implementing skills-based hiring practices
- Remove obstacles to the modernization of American education and training to accelerate reskilling and facilitate innovation in workforce development
- Build the technological infrastructure necessary for the future of work
The call-to-action includes policy recommendations to advance these goals, such as prioritizing retraining and reskilling opportunities in in-demand fields like health care and manufacturing for displaced workers, promoting apprenticeship programs and other work-based learning, expanding access to broadband and technology, and promoting digital literacy. The plan calls for “immediate and unprecedented investments in American workers” to support career pathways that will help get people back to work.
On Capitol Hill, the House recently approved a new COVID-19 recovery package, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which would provide an additional $2 billion for the workforce training system. Goodwill Industries International (GII) has urged policymakers to make an even greater investment in workforce programs to support the economically vulnerable populations served by Goodwill®, including young people, second-chance individuals and adult learners. In addition, older workers and individuals with disabilities are experiencing their own unique challenges in accessing healthy employment opportunities during the pandemic. Policymakers should provide additional resources in the next recovery legislation to support employment and wrap-around services for these essential members of America’s workforce. GII stands ready to partner with Congress and the Administration as the nation recovers from this period of extreme crisis.