JFF CEO Maria Flynn recently co-authored an opinion column in Barron’s calling on the Biden administration and Congress to support the creation of universal career navigation services that are accessible to all workers.
In a piece titled “Building the Workforce of the Future Will Take More Than Money,” Flynn and Tom Dawson, interim CEO and president of the Strada Education Network, argue that federal policymakers must support the development of an information infrastructure that allows workers to readily navigate today’s ever-evolving labor market in order for President Joe Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure proposal to achieve its goals of helping working class families and building the high-growth industries of the future.
The economy is changing, and research suggests that up to 40 percent of the jobs lost during the pandemic may never come back. Therefore, Flynn and Dawson acknowledge, it is essential to invest in education and training to enable displaced workers to acquire new skills. However, they add that learning opportunities alone aren’t enough. “[I]nvestments in education and training, while necessary, are insufficient drivers of a more inclusive economic future,” they write, noting that workers also need access to information that enables to make informed choices when facing “potentially life-altering decisions” about their career and education pathways.
Without an infrastructure that makes that information readily available, they say, “We will fail to unlock economic opportunities for millions of Americans.”