Updated Dec 23, 2020 - Axios Events

Reskilling America: The path for post-pandemic job recovery

Drawing of cartoon-like people climbing stairs with a building in the back. The title reads: Powering Economic Opportunity: New Pathways to Job Recovery.

Learning new skills will be essential for many Americans who lost jobs as a result of COVID-19, since many of the jobs will not be returning. But not everyone can reskill the traditional way.

Why it’s important: To thrive in a rapidly changing job market, American workers will have to rethink their approach to skills and work.

As one expert at Google’s Powering Economic Opportunity: New Pathways to Job Recovery event put it: Job seekers must now be life-long learners.

At the event, policy makers, local government, nonprofit leaders and other experts talked about how they can pool resources and work together to better prepare American workers for today’s job market.

Their top three solutions:

  • Expand access to free or nearly free digital tools and training, like Grow with Google’s free digital training and resources.
  • Develop online courses and certificates — like Google Career Certificates — and a way to scale these offerings to communities that need it most to train a more equitable workforce
  • Encourage life-long learning and make reskilling resources more accessible to people.

According to Grow with Google VP Lisa Gevelber, “For years, Google has supported digital skilling programs and created pathways to help people secure good-paying jobs. Accessible job-training solutions will help people get hired into jobs that will be most relevant in the post-pandemic economy."

What this means: Companies are developing digital tools and programs that help people better understand the digital world, job skills training, and career certificates that job seekers can use to pursue in-demand, better-wage careers.

Oftentimes, these companies partner with governments, nonprofits and higher education institutions to help bridge the gap.

  • One example: Grow with Google offers digital tools and training to people looking to start new jobs or careers.

    Google’s online Career Certificates prepare people with no experience for jobs in high-growth, high-paying fields including IT Support, User Experience (UX) Design, and Data Analytics in 3-6 months with no degree required.

Key numbers: “We have over 400,000 people enrolled in these programs already, and a hundred employers across America who are hiring the certificate graduates. Top companies in retail, entertainment and finance, and, of course, Google,” Gevelber said.

Even more, Grow with Google has partnered with Jobs for the Future (JFF) to help bring these career certificates to over a hundred community colleges around the U.S.

The impact: Students across Illinois and Alabama “really see their job prospects increase after completing a certificate,” said Maria Flynn, president and CEO of Jobs of the Future.

  • One Ohio student who listed her certificate credentials online has received five times more searches per week and several interview invitations.

When asked how local governments can get involved, Flynn suggested “expanding access to high-quality, short-term credentials like the Google certificate.” This helps meet the urgent need to reskill workers as well as the longer-term needs for creating better quality jobs.”

The takeaway: Making certificates, and other alternative career pathways, more accessible opens up a world where it’s easier for people to reskill for a new career – or a lifetime.

What Google is saying:

“What we are seeing on a positive note is how resilient Americans are, and we're seeing them put technology to work.”

– Lisa Gevelber, Vice President, Grow with Google

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