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Skills for an Inclusive Economic Recovery

Workers of color, immigrants, and workers with a high school degree or less have suffered the greatest job losses during this pandemic and are overrepresented in jobs that have been hardest hit by the economic downturn. Yet policymakers still have not developed a national workforce and re-employment strategy that focuses on the workers and small businesses that have been most impacted by the economic crisis.
To address that need, we developed a set of policy goals, principles, and a call to action for state and federal policymakers to leverage skills policy to help build an inclusive economic recovery. These include:

  1. A safety net that supports workers’ long-term pathway to a skilled career. Remove barriers to our nation’s safety net for all workers, including those impacted by the pandemic, and make it a foundation for new career pathways.

  2.  A comprehensive approach to re-training and re-employment for all displaced workers. 

    Guarantee income, healthcare, training, and re-employment support for any worker who loses a job due to economic disruptions such as pandemics, automation, or trade.

  3. Publicly funded job creation that includes training for those in need of a new career. Ensure job creation efforts, such as those around infrastructure or an expanded public health workforce to fight the pandemic, include investments in skills that expand access to longterm careers for local workers.

  4.  Support to local businesses to avert layoffs and encourage upskilling. Subsidize small and mid-sized businesses to avert layoffs, keep their employees paid, and support their re-training during down time.

  5. Sector partnerships to drive industry-specific training and hiring strategies. Support the partnerships that communities need to develop training strategies targeting the specific needs of individual industries and the local workforce.

  6. Digital access and learning for all working people at home and on the job. Eliminate barriers by making high-quality digital learning available to all workers.

  7. High quality, job-ready education for those who need to re-enter the labor market, including making college work for working people. Increase system capacity and expand access to high quality, industry driven education and training that prepares workers for good jobs.

  8. Public data and accountability regarding who is being included in this recovery. Report data on how different workers and businesses are faring in the recovery and hold policies accountable to equitable outcomes for those most impacted.


Read the executive summary here.

Download the full report here. 

Updated October 12, 2020

Related Resources:


Skilled America Podcast 


National Skills Coalition on Medium

Skills Blog



Virtual Events

  • Notes from the Field: Covid-19's Impact on California's Workers | April 28, 2020

From our Networks

  • Campaign to Invest in America's Workforce sent a letter to Senate Leaders and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies - urging them to invest invest at least $15 billion in our nation’s workforce development system, consistent with investments proposed in the Relaunching America’s Workforce Act, to ensure that we can respond quickly to current and projected demands for new workers in key industries, while helping those who have lost their jobs as a result of this crisis to transition to new family-supporting jobs. Close to 700 organizations have signed on to the letter.
    Read the full letter here.
  • Campaign to Invest in America's Workforce urges Congress to immediately invest at least $15 billion in our nation’s workforce development system. Read the full letter here.

    Update: 500 organizations signed on to CIAW's letter

  • Business Leaders United has developed a set of policy goals for an immediate stimulus package to assist workers who need income, healthcare, and housing today and to shore up small and mid-sized businesses trying to weather this crisis.