Talent Tuesday: The COVID-19 Employment Crisis

Many considered “non-essential” workers have found themselves out of work and filing for unemployment for the first time in their entire careers. We spoke to Sue and her husband Jim, who have asked us not to use their real names for fear of legal recourse from their former employers.

Jim is in the entertainment industry, a comedian, event producer and actor who says work has simply stopped for now. His wife Sue, who worked in administration at a PR firm for over twelve years was laid off at the beginning of April with no warning whatsoever. She says she filed her first ever unemployment claim right away, but the sheer volume of claims has severely slowed the process. As of this blog posting, she has yet to see her first government check. In essence their household is in financial lockdown. No income whatsoever at this immediate moment.

In what Sue calls a brave move on her part, she decided to take the 4ProPlus Online Professional Accounting and Payroll course and says she may be coming back for more, including the soon to be released Contact Tracing Certification Course.

There is a proposal in Congress from Pennsylvania State Representative, Chrissy Houlihan -(D) that has “New Deal” written all over it. The plan is to hire and train over 200,000 Contact Tracers nationwide, killing two birds with one stone – tracing the virus at the level needed to stop it – while putting Americans back to work at a living wage.

Many states are not waiting for a federal plan. Colorado, California and Illinois, to name a few, are already hiring an army of testers. Sue says’ “why not get the training? It’s inexpensive and the benefit of pre-certifying might give her a leg up on the competition for these new positions. I feel like it makes sense to add new ammunition to my resume and with this, it may even make a difference for the better.”

Sue’s newfound interest in learning is not unique. In every category, the online education industry has seen an uptick in downloads across the country. And it is not just business training like accounting and excel. Many new learners are amping up their side-hustles and gig-worker skills as well. Creative training in social media, SEO and photo/video editing are seeing a lot of activity according to online learning sources.

Remote learning during the COVID-19 lockdown is a smart use of free time. Leveraging it to upskill and cross-skill can open up opportunity for the future. Learning a new skill can also provide a sense of control to help cope with anxiety engendered by the pandemic.

As James Wallman says in his book Time and How to Spend It, personal growth is central to many psychological theories of long-term happiness. So, while a few hours devoted to an online course may not be as enticing as the instant gratification of reality TV or social media, it could lead to greater life-satisfaction. “You could say that humans are like bicycles: if you’re not heading towards something you fall over,” Wallman says. And when we are social distancing, online courses are one of the best ways to do that.

College kids can include themselves in Wallman’s assessment. Joe Macaluso, a Division Director with Robert Half, says his best advice to new college grads is; “Not to take their foot off the gas and continue to prospect new companies that are hiring, while amping up their resume as best they can. You want to be ahead of the competition.”

He also says “Learn. Learn more and learn more. Whether new to the job market or new to unemployment, like Sue, Maculos says the advice is the same. “Use this extra time to bolster your résumé and add new skills that will help you become better at what you do,” he says, “ When you’re able to head back to work, you can leverage those new skills for a raise, a promotion, or even to take on a new role, allowing you to truly make the most of this uncertain time.”

Investigate online training to add skills, improve skills or move into an entirely new career.

To learn more about the soon to be released: Certificate of Contact Tracing Proficiency course.

James Wallman’s Book “Time and How to Spend It” is available here: Amazon Link