Uniquely human traits and capabilities will be more important in the post-coronavirus work landscape, according to Jamie Merisotis, author of a new book on the future of the workforce.
At least one study estimates 40% of jobs that saw COVID-related layoffs aren’t coming back, and Merisotis said the crisis offers the opportunity for large-scale rethinking of higher education and workforce-training programs.
Even before the pandemic, he said, Tennessee state government — the largest public employer in the state, with 42,000 workers — had been leading the way.
“For the state of Tennessee, I think what we’ve seen is that there really has been a cultural change; that training isn’t just something that you do once, but it’s a continuous process,” said Merisotis, an expert on education policy and president and chief executive of Lumina Foundation. “The state has recognized that learning as part of work is really important.”
Rather than a one-time job fair, he said, the state has 28 management and training programs employees can take advantage of.
But employers are only part of the picture. Merisotis believes the more than 40 million Americans still out of work need massive federal investment in community colleges that award associate degrees and short-term credentials to help them move into new sectors.