COVID19 has changed the way we live and work for the foreseeable future and has challenged the American workforce system in ways that many of us could never imagine. The shear volume of impacted workers filing for unemployment has overwhelmed the systems put in place to provide a safety net for the American Worker and the youth that represent our future workforce. Social distancing and health concerns has placed a unique focus on organizations transitioning to online services / operations which presents numerous challenges for on the job training programs like Washington, DC's Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP) designed to provide youth ages 16-24 with an introduction to the workforce.
Increasingly human resource professionals are applying supply chain theory to the growing misalignment of talent available to meet 21st century workforce needs. There are a number of drivers at the root cause of this trend, one notable driver being the technological evolution that has dramatically changed the skillset required for workforce demand.
In 1979, I was chosen to participate in Project Concern, one of many desegregation social experiments implemented during the sweeping idealism of the 1960s. Based in Connecticut, Project Concern was a program that bused minority students living in impoverished inner cities to wealthy communities in the suburbs. From the third to the 12th grade of my education, I was bused nearly 25 miles from the city of Bridgeport, CT to what seemed like a completely different world–the affluent town of Westport, CT. Even today, the disparity between Bridgeport and Westport remains the same; by 1991 Bridgeport was listed as 5th in the nation for cities with the highest homicide rate per capita while Westport remains one of the wealthiest communities in the United States. It was my experience in Project Concern that taught me the true meaning of "the other side of the tracks".