Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Even after the pandemic is behind us, millions of jobs — most of them in the travel and service industries — will be gone forever, and workers are figuring out their next moves.

The big picture: Pivoting from one career to a whole new one is a difficult feat, but many have pulled it off. That could be a good sign for America's resilience amid the pandemic's economic destruction.

  • "The American worker has proven to be extremely adaptable," says Jane Oates, president of WorkingNation, a nonprofit that raises awareness about the challenges facing U.S. workers, and a former Labor Department official.

There are examples of pivoting from the worker level all the way up to the Fortune 500 level, she says.

  • Former bartenders and restaurant workers have joined training programs and found new jobs at tech companies, the New York Times reports.
  • Restaurants are selling groceries as a new way to make money in the era of social distancing.
  • GM pivoted from cars to ventilators when America needed to fill a shortage.

Case in point: I spoke with Deleyse Rowe, who worked on a cruise ship's service staff until her entire industry was walloped by the pandemic in March.

  • For a couple of weeks, Rowe was hopeful that things would quickly get back to normal. "Then I started to see everything shut down, and I thought, 'OK, this is not coming back for a while,'" she says.
  • Rowe enrolled in a free Amazon Web Services training course at Per Scholas, a nonprofit that provides technology education to low-income adults. The course was funded by AWS, and after completing it, Rowe got a job working at one of the tech giant's data centers, where she's making more than she did on the cruise ship.
  • Rowe loves her new job, but the quick switch wasn't easy. "I can't lie. It's been tough," she says. Rowe says she periodically reaches back out to her former Per Scholas teachers for tips.

But, but, but: Even though there are prominent success stories, preparing millions of displaced workers for the post-pandemic economy won't be possible without massive federal investment, experts say.

  • “We need a New Deal for skills,” Amit Sevak, president of Revature, a company that hires workers, trains them to use digital tools and helps place them in jobs, told the New York Times.

The bottom line: "We're in a Cambrian explosion period of experimentation with new ways of working," says Roy Bahat, a future of work expert and head of Bloomberg Beta, a venture fund backed by Bloomberg LP. "It's showing people will try to adapt if they must."

  • "The issue is that it's unclear if it's actually working. Is it keeping businesses alive? Is it keeping workers employed? Or is it more like a stopgap than meaningful resilience that will produce lasting benefits?" says Bahat.

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2021 - Health

Women's health care jobs aren't coming back as fast as men's

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Health care jobs held by women have come back much more slowly than jobs held by men, mirroring trends in the economy overall.

Why it matters: The vast majority of health care workers infected with COVID-19 have been women, and they've borne the brunt of the industry's economic woes, too.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Scoop: Google is investigating the actions of another top AI ethicist

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."