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New York Times: Reinventing Workers for the Post-Covid Economy

Part of WiFi (What I Find Interesting) Wednesday.


New York Times: Reinventing Workers for the Post-Covid Economy

Read Reinventing Workers for the Post-Covid Economy by Eduardo Porter, from the New York Times, December 1, 2020.

Of the many challenges that 2020 and COVID-19 has thrown at us is that people laid off or otherwise unemployed may need to find new jobs in different industries. Typically this has meant people returning to or starting a new degree/certificate program. But are the programs ready for these people to return?

Eduardo Porter, in the New York Times, highlights some of the challenges people face as they look at their new career opportunities.

“Training has always been a challenge for policymakers, and the pandemic complicates matching new skills with jobs. Austin Urick, 31, went back to school after he lost his job last year selling equipment for the oil and gas industry. He enrolled at San Jacinto College near Houston to learn instrumentation and electrical systems. He expects to graduate this month, certified to calibrate and replace gauges and pumps used by oil and gas companies.

The industry, however, has suffered during the pandemic. While he has some good leads, his job hunt hasn’t yielded any offers. “It is worrisome,” Mr. Urick said. “But my Plan B is not just oil and gas.” The instrumentation degree can be taken in different directions. “I can work in an elevator company or in a hospital, anywhere that has gauges,” he added. “I can go down the street to Budweiser.”

by Eduardo Porter, from the New York Times, December 1, 2020

This shift to emerging training programs may require a more coordinated effort, led by our community colleges and trade schools. But the shift may need to help people adapt to digital work rather than the typical hands-on work programs have relied on in the past.

“We need a New Deal for skills,” said Amit Sevak, president of Revature, a company that hires workers, trains them to use digital tools and helps place them in jobs. “President Roosevelt deployed the massive number of workers unemployed in the Great Depression on projects that created many of the dams and roads and bridges we have. We need something like that.”

Rhode Island is using stimulus money from the CARES Act to fund a training initiative that provides additional support for workers — like child care and transportation assistance — and gets commitments from employers to hire trainees. Gov. Gina Raimondo thinks the pandemic offers an opportunity for something similar on a national level.

But she acknowledges that this is a heavy lift. “This stuff is easy to say and really hard to do,” she said. “We’re talking about transitioning a whole economy, and transitions are hard.”

by Eduardo Porter, from the New York Times, December 1, 2020

As Governor Raimondo acknowledges, this is easy to say and really hard to do. I hope that our education leaders are keeping track of where the opportunities are hidden and make swift work on making them available.

Continue reading Reinventing Workers for the Post-Covid Economy by Eduardo Porter, from the New York Times, December 1, 2020.


Diverse Issues in Higher Education: Students Feel Anxious About COVID-19. Why Aren’t They Turning to Campus Mental Health Resources For Help?

Read Students Feel Anxious About COVID-19. Why Aren’t They Turning to Campus Mental Health Resources For Help? by Sara Weissman, from Diverse Issues in Education, November 30, 2020.

It should be of no surprise that college students, regardless of age, are feeling the effects of the pandemic. College Pulse, Course Hero, and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) recently conducted a survey of college students to find out how they are feeling, as reported in Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

Researchers surveyed 3,500 college students in full-time, four-year undergraduate programs the week of Sept. 28, representing 196 universities.

One in five students described themselves as “constantly” anxious about the pandemic, and 56% of students felt at least “somewhat” anxious.

But 77% of students reported that they haven’t turned to university mental health supports. Only about 10% of students used any remote health services, like telehealth or tele-counseling, and less than 5% of students used grief counseling or support groups.

Meanwhile, over half of the students – and 70% of “somewhat” or “very” anxious students – reported that they would have benefitted from more emotional support than they received in the past six months, with female students more likely to feel a lack of support than their male counterparts.

by Sara Weissman, from Diverse Issues in Education, November 30, 2020.

The article addressed some of the reasons why this lack of use may be happening, including the novelty of the services offered.

This is “one of the losses traditional-age students are experiencing when they’re not on campus,” he added. “That proximity has probably been one of the biggest drivers of students not using the resources that are on campus.”

Students’ access to university mental health resources also varies based on their home environments, pointed out Amy Gatto, senior campus program manager at Active Minds, a nonprofit focused on student mental health. Students can come up against logistical barriers – like a lack of space and privacy for tele-counseling – but also added stigma.

Services like tele-counseling are a “pretty new phenomenon,” Kevin Kruger said, in part because of the legal complexities of offering licensed therapy across state lines. “Five years ago, if you sampled all the campus counseling centers in the country, maybe 3% to 5% of them were using any kind of virtual counseling. It just wasn’t a modality that campuses were using.”

He encourages universities to emphasize these growing virtual resources – and to teach students how to use them – especially in online orientations for first-year and transfer students.

by Sara Weissman, from Diverse Issues in Education, November 30, 2020.

We have so much to learn about helping our students connected in this virtual world, that other distance learning programs likely never had to content with. I can only hope that our institutions improve their access to services before we return to in-person learning in the unforeseen future.

Continue reading Students Feel Anxious About COVID-19. Why Aren’t They Turning to Campus Mental Health Resources For Help? by Sara Weissman, from Diverse Issues in Education, November 30, 2020.


Harvard Business Review: Managing an Underperformer Who Thinks They’re Doing Great

Read Managing an Underperformer Who Thinks They’re Doing Great by Liz Kislik, from Harvard Business Review, December 2, 2020.

Whether we personally supervise others or are supervised in our current role, there is a chance that we’ll work with someone who may be under-performing in their role. I’ve worked with this type of person before and it can be challenging to change the situation.

Liz Kislik, in the Harvard Business Review, offers five tips for supervisors to follow in order to change the work dynamic:

  • Be clear about expectations
  • Provide employees with resources and support
  • Determine whether you’re willing to continue investing in the individual
  • Assess whether they’ll accept help
  • Target praise carefully

Whereas most employees may hear feedback and believe that it reflects their work environment and productivity, underperformers may need a different tact:

Helping an unaware underperformer be more realistic about their work requires a lot of attention and involvement. Understanding what’s driving their lack of awareness will either help you determine what support they need in order to improve, or confirm your assessment that they just might not be able to satisfy the requirements of the job.

by Liz Kislik, from Harvard Business Review, December 2, 2020.

Continue reading Managing an Underperformer Who Thinks They’re Doing Great by Liz Kislik, from Harvard Business Review, December 2, 2020.


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Joseph Rios, EdD
leadershipandvaluesinaction@gmail.com
I am Joseph Rios and I believe that leadership is an expression of our values
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