Philanthropy & Workforce Development
In less than a year, one of the biggest challenges has flipped from high unemployment to a worker shortage. In July, the national figure for job openings stood at 9.2 million, the hightest on record. Recent surveys for the unemployed show people have concerns that extend beyond the pandemic: health-related worries; a desire to work virtually; childcare issues; limited transportation; and the impact of increased unemployment stipends and stimulus payments. A lack of available and appropriately trained employees is affecting every sector right now.
So what does recovery look like? How does philanthropy play a role in workforce development and worker shortages? How can philanthropy address the concerns of the unemployed — the health-related fears, access to childcare, and a lack of other resources? This newest outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic is a multi-faceted challenge that will ripple throughout our region.
Building off the Philanthropy Summit from fall 2019, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks will host an educational series for our donors and funders to discuss the reasons for the worker shortage, along with tangible ways that grantmaking and charitable giving can create solutions. These monthly sessions, scheduled for August–November 2021, will focus on:
Part 1: Watch the Video
In this first session, we focus on a high-level overview of challenges in the region, as well as talk with local employers on hiring and retaining employees in the current climate. Representatives from the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Neighbor's Mill Bakery & Café and Penmac Staffing share their insights and experiences.
Part 2: Watch the Video
A panel of local nonprofits working with targeted populations address this question: What are the gaps and challenges that under-resourced individuals face when re-entering the workforce?
Part 3: Watch the Video
A panel of employers and local agencies discuss the challenges of hiring and retaining employees, as well as available workforce training resources.
A facilitated discussion on the issue of workforce development in the region with a focus on ways funders and philanthropists can help the community.
Contact Caitlin Golike, director of donor services, for more information.
- From The New York Times: Return to Work? Not With Child Care Still in Limbo, Some Parents Say
- Op-ed from MarketWatch: Many Americans aren’t going back to work, but it’s not for the reason you might expect
- “If times are flush for millions, then surely we can find a way to continue helping those who aren’t so fortunate.”
- Op-ed from CNBC: There’s another reason for the labor shortage
- Job openings rose to a record 10.9 million in July from a revised 10.2 million in the prior month. That is a fifth straight all-time monthly high. The labor market continues to be a puzzle, with record-high levels of openings but also low levels of employment, at least compared with pre-COVID levels.
- A big focus of our conversation in Part 2 was childcare. Childcare workers are quitting for better paying jobs. Nearly 1.6 million moms are still missing from the workforce and are unable to return to work because the “school and daycare situation remains chaotic.”
- Something else to think about: “As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, another, slower-moving cataclysm is on the horizon. The U.S. is on the brink of a sansdemic — a lack of people that will soon impact every business, college, and region.”
- From Bloomberg: Several U.S. cities are piloting “universal basic mobility” programs that subsidize bus rides, e-bikes and scooters in the hopes of sparking an economic boost.
- From NPR: How employers can win workers back (and keep them) after the ‘Great Resignation’
- “In the pandemic, people have talked a lot about essential workers, but we actually treat them as essential jobs. We treat the workers as quite replaceable.”