The Class of 2020 got an amazing gift: a high school diploma. However, college enrollment is down across our region and the state.
The biggest job
Like green shoots growing back after the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, signs of a post-pandemic economic rebound are springing up everywhere in greater Lansing.
Those signs usually say “Now …
For employers in the Greater Lansing region, the focus on attracting and retaining talent has been a priority and challenge even before the global pandemic. For the past several years, the annual Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce membership survey has shown that talent and workforce development is the No. 1 priority for regional businesses.
As I thought about the many relevant events affecting our members in labor, I kept returning to one topic. It’s been something I have been thinking about for a while but hesitated to write about because how does one share the brighter side of a pandemic which has caused so much hardship for the membership and for our country? This hesitation began to wane as it became apparent that many of our fellow Americans in the working-class were getting caught in the trap set by big business and special interests: divide and conquer.
In the Lansing area, there were 15,275 unique job postings in September of 2020. That figure steadily climbed 44% over the following 12 months to 22,042 in August 2021. This impressive shift is likely tied to the large number of people that had left the workforce for various reasons over the past 18 months, including longer-term unemployment benefits lessening the financial pressure to return to work, hesitancy surrounding the pandemic and its effect on working conditions, perceived or actual risk of COVID-19 infection and family safety, schooling circumstances and childcare availability.
The pandemic has shown us the critical necessity for healthcare workers. Even before the pandemic, the realities of an aging population required an influx of new healthcare workers to address rising care needs. Now, in the midst of the most critical public health event of our lifetimes, healthcare professionals are even more essential.
As Michiganders lost their jobs during the pandemic, there was a rise in need for skilled workers in many industries. It pains me to say it, but many who lost their jobs will find it hard to replace them at the same level, all while employers in high demand industries — such as agribusiness, health care, IT and manufacturing — are struggling to find talent.
In uncertain economic times, it’s never a bad idea to seek out ways to get some extra cash in your pockets.
(The author is a Lansing City Councilwoman and a candidate for mayor, opposing incubent Andy Schor, in the Nov. 2 General Election.)
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