A White House advisory panel, which includes Apple CEO Tim Cook among its members, has called for an “unprecedented” investment in online education and training programs to help Americans cope with the economic issues brought by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The White House advisory panel meetings are currently held via videoconferencing.
Reuters reports on the proposed measures:
The White House American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, which is co-chaired by White House adviser Ivanka Trump and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and includes Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, Lockheed Martin Chief Executive Marillyn Hewson and IBM Executive Chairman Ginni Rometty, plans to call for “an unprecedented investment in digital infrastructure.”
The board’s efforts are aimed at helping connect displaced workers with pathways to upgrade their skills and learn new skills so they can move into “good jobs in rebounding fields as the health crisis abates and the economy begins to recover,” according to a White House official briefed on the plan.
“Our nation cannot achieve a satisfactory post-pandemic recovery unless the technological infrastructure is in place to connect and empower all Americans to participate in the workforce,” the official said in recapping the board’s message.
The board wants governments “to streamline occupational licensing, education requirements, reduce the cost of licensing, and increase reciprocity” and urges the federal government to “allow student financial aid for high-quality, short-term, market-aligned credential programs.”
While many jobs will likely come back once the coronavirus crisis is over, there are some industries that may never fully recover.
The airline industry is expected to look much different in the wake of the crisis, with some airlines going bankrupt, while other airlines will merge to survive. In order to make a profit, airlines need to fill most of a plane and this is incompatible with social distancing.
The entertainment and hospitality sectors will also likely struggle to recover. Restaurants and movie theaters require full houses to make a profit, again, this is incompatible with social distancing.
The United States lost 20.5 million jobs in April, the steepest drop since the Great Depression in the 1930s. The unemployment rate rose to 14.7%, shattering the post-World War Two record of 10.8% touched in November 1982.