Giving Compass' Take:

• Here are several community-led, evidence-based approaches that local leaders can adopt to build job recovery initiatives. 

• How can donors help with job recovery programs and support resilient communities? 

• Read more about economic recovery programs during COVID-19? 

When a durable recovery strategy from the COVID-19 pandemic finally emerges, it will confront not just one badly damaged economy, but numerous fractured economies. The pandemic recession is hitting some sectors harder than others, with regions dependent on manufacturing and hospitality particularly devastated. Even state and local government jobs have taken a hit, which will likely get worse in the coming months. And within these hard-hit industries, the young, the less educated, and workers of color have borne the worst of the job losses.

For many of these workers, their old jobs won’t be coming back, even as the economy continues to reopen. Industries likely to expand in response to the pandemic—health care, medical device and supply manufacturing, and telecommunications equipment and software to support remote work and learning—require particular skill sets and greater education and training than many laid-off, lower-skilled workers currently possess. Additionally, evidence suggests that recessions cause many employers to permanently raise skill requirements as they retool their operations, making remaining jobs further out of reach for job seekers.

Despite this dire picture, local leaders can take steps to ameliorate the damage and accelerate recovery in their communities, even as budgets are stressed and federal aid is uncertain. We have identified several community-driven, evidence-based approaches to better link and prepare workers for the good jobs that do and will exist. Implementing these initiatives often requires community leadership, partnership-building, and better leveraging of existing resources.

Such coordination can be harder to achieve than, for example, grants to conventional training programs. But it is also more likely to generate true economic opportunity and help overcome long-standing inequities in education and employment practices affecting people of color.

Read the full article about community-driven approaches to respond to COVID-19 by John C. Austin and Brad Hershbein at Brookings.