With economy in flux, workers turning to job-training programs

    With millions of layoffs and fears of future cuts for remaining employees due to the pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reports that many workers are trying to make themselves more employable in the economy’s “next incarnation.”

    In the 2008 recession, long-term unemployment remained high for years, scarring workers’ psyches and household finances. New technology and evolving skill requirements made it hard for many people to rejoin the labor force even as the economy recovered.

    This time around, use of online learning platforms—many of which weren’t available a decade ago—has soared, and job-training programs are inundated with applicants.

    At LinkedIn Learning, downloads of certificate-eligible classes in professions like accounting, project management and information technology have increased more than 600% since February. Enrollment in micro-degrees and professional certificates at EdX, which offers online courses from universities like Harvard and Stanford, have increased by six to 15 times their normal rates during the crisis, according to the company.

    People with college degrees may be in particular trouble in the future, according to Matt Sigelman, chief executive of Burning Glass Technologies, a labor-market analysis firm. Data from recent layoffs shows college grads are less likely to have lost a job recently, but among recent job postings, there has been a sharper decline in professional jobs than those requiring less than a bachelor’s degree.

    More troubling for the long-term recovery, he says, are steep declines in hiring for roles such as engineering and research and development.

    New opportunities will rise from this crisis, Sigelman says, but he expects to see a “readiness economy” emerge, where skills aimed at preventing or responding to future crises could be in high demand. Those may include jobs in fields like cybersecurity, health care and supply chain management. Read the full story. 

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