As workforce agencies plan their return to in-person services, the workforce system needs to consider not only the quality and content of its services, but also how to continue on the virtual journey that began abruptly in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. Backtracking to in-person-only services will waste what has been learned during the pandemic and agencies will lose out on valuable opportunities to serve more people and provide more effective services.
In Strategically Virtual: Effective Job Search Support in the Time of COVID, Michele Martin, Director of Technical Assistance at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Director of the New Start Career Network, and Director of the New Jersey Career Network, presented a three-tier model for working with individuals who are unemployed. This model emphasizes expanding beyond labor exchange and basic job search skill development, such as résumé writing and interviewing workshops. It encourages the public workforce system to adopt more human-centered, holistic approaches to working with job seekers that center safety, care, community, and coaching as primary service strategies.
In a new brief, Strategically Virtual: Implementing Job Search Services in a Virtual Environment, Martin shares strategies for implementing the three-tier model in a virtual environment, using technological tools to reach a broader audience of job seekers and leveraging technology to provide the supports that job seekers most need. The brief also discusses some key shifts in service delivery that agencies should consider to support the core needs of job seekers.
In the Suddenly Virtual series, the Heldrich Center examined how the public workforce system had adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing case management, training, and job search services in an online environment. The Strategically Virtual series builds on this work, outlining how the public workforce system can use technology and community partnerships more effectively to expand services, address job seeker mental and emotional well-being, and ensure that a broader range of the public is able to access supports during a time of social distancing and massive job loss. The Strategically Virtual series is producing issue briefs, Medium blog posts, practical guides, and more. View all of the Strategically Virtual blog posts.