State and local governments are struggling to adapt to the massive unemployment surge resulting from the COVID-19 crisis and the simultaneous need to change how they deliver career services to protect public health. Even though the national unemployment rate has slowly begun to decline, in August, there were still 19 million Americans out of work. Pre-existing workforce development programs are being forced to update their capabilities and implement new strategies to take on the difficult task of connecting a historic number of unemployed people to a smaller pool of jobs without much additional funding or resources. These challenges are compounded by the additional costs of operating in a global pandemic, such as requiring new technology and expertise to deliver career services remotely.

In Central Indiana, this surge of activity is happening on top of some long-standing challenges in connecting qualified talent with employers. Before the pandemic, partners observed that employers had difficulty finding the right talent, and job seekers were reporting that they could not find jobs that were a good fit. Recognizing that this misalignment requires multiple strategies to address, state agencies, municipalities, nonprofits, employers, and community organizations formed the Regional Workforce Partnership (RWP) in 2016. The RWP brings together leadership from these organizations to align their efforts, foster collaboration, and pursue meaningful policy priorities that create a stronger climate for businesses, individuals, and the Central Indiana community.

As the pandemic-induced recession unfolded, the RWP began developing the Rapid Re-employment Response plan at the request of Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. In building the plan, RWP members combined efforts, resources, and networks to provide one central online platform for job seekers with various educational backgrounds and work experiences to connect to available jobs and training opportunities.

Read the full article about finding jobs for workers during COVID-19 by Reniya Dinkins at Brookings.