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Finding Opportunities for Workforce Innovation in the Pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic revealed many ways for government agencies to transform how they connect people with jobs, services, and training opportunities. Merit’s white paper weighs solutions for the upcoming recovery.

As many states continue to struggle with higher unemployment rates in 2021, job seekers face significant obstacles, too. With many job centers closed during the pandemic, there’s a need for workforce agencies to find new, contactless ways to connect with the job-seeking public, make sure they’re getting the support they need, and channel them into jobs faster.

The COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed government agencies across the board in their enduring work to serve the public during a crisis. And it’s made clear how important workforce development efforts are for the rebuilding of the American economy.

Merit’s latest white paper, Using Verified Identity to Revolutionize Workforce Development, covers why it’s time for government to embrace technology that would align workforce development efforts with 21st century needs and capabilities. Such technology must also help lay the groundwork for creating a more equitable and effective labor market in the upcoming years.

How COVID-19 changed the labor market

The U.S. faces a long road to economic recovery, requiring more efficiency in hiring and job placement. Adopting the right technology platform can help state and local workforce agencies mitigate the labor force challenges this country faces and potentially shorten the recovery timeline.

Here’s the scope of the COVID-19 recovery, at a glance, compared to the Great Recession:

  • The number of jobs lost between March-April 2020 was two times greater than all of the jobs lost in the Great Recession in 2007-2009
  • Only 1/3 of jobs lost early in the pandemic recovered quickly in May-June 2020
  • It took more than five years for jobs to recover following the Great Recession¹

Millions of workers were laid off in the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of them will need to train for new jobs. In September 2020, there were 3.8 million permanent job losses, up 2.5% from February 2020.² A solid recovery will require centralized support for potentially millions of people as they seek new livelihoods.

How verified identity supports workforce development

Merit’s white paper examines where workforce development stands today and how it can harness technology to create effective and efficient workforce initiatives.

By adopting verified identity technology, workforce development agencies can get people back to work faster, connect more learners and job-seekers with supportive services, give workforce agencies tools to report on key measurements to get the funding they need, and empower job-seekers with access to verified credentials that can help them find employment and other opportunities.

Sign up to download the white paper to find out how verified identity can help governments and organizations get people back to work faster, connect them with meaningful, higher-paying employment, and better support their learning journey so they’re successful.

¹ U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2020/article/employment-recovery.htm
² U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2020/article/employment-recovery.htm

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