Upskilling to create new employment opportunities
With layoffs happening around the globe and the U.S. Treasury Secretary suggesting a risk of upwards to 20% unemployment rate in the US without federal intervention, millions of people are stuck asking “what do I do next?”
While economic recovery is unlikely to come overnight, there are several steps you can start taking today to mitigate your present circumstances — Starting with filing for unemployment benefits and checking for state or local relief programs.
Due to recent legislation passed by the federal government, if your employer had to temporarily shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak you are eligible to file. This also includes employees that are currently quarantined, but expect to return to work, as well as people who have had their hours drastically reduced.
If you are affected by the coronavirus outbreak you should file online as soon as possible, even if you are unsure if you are eligible. You can read more about filing for unemployment here.
Other benefits may come in the form of a 1.2 trillion dollar economic stimulus package that Congress is currently mulling over, which could include direct payments to Americans up to $1000 per individual. While a good start, it may take some time to get this relief in your hands, and continued economic turmoil is likely for the immediate future.
So what can you do now to help set yourself for the future? Upskill.
As many Americans begin to cope with their recent unemployment status and are left with extra time on their hands, a great way to be productive during a downturn is to upskill — A trendy term for learning new skills that can translate into new business opportunities.
While it may be tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel right now, this article from The Hill highlights some of the reasons why the fallout from Coronavirus may eventually help small businesses in the long-term.
Due to the outbreak, Americans are fundamentally changing the way they live, work and eat — And some of these changes are likely to persist beyond this current crisis. Remote work and online productivity are the new norm, and many employees can benefit from learning these skills and applying them to new and existing businesses.
Small businesses are set to embrace new technologies and digitize workflows previously only common in the tech industry. Skills that may not have previously been seen as essential to brick and mortar, service or manufacturing companies will help modernize the way we, as a country, do business.
Some of these changes were already taking place before the coronavirus outbreak even began — McKinsey & Company has estimated that up to one third of the American workforce will need to switch occupations by 2030 due to automation, and AT&T’s own internal research from 2018 suggested only half of its employees had the necessary science, technology, engineering and math skills for expected growth areas.
A few tech skills you can start learning (or brushing up on) today to boost your resume and offer new value to employees:
- Remote work solutions
- Web development
- Graphic design
- Video production & editing
- Online marketing & Social media
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Spreadsheets & database
Even a basic understanding of these skills can provide tremendous value to small businesses looking for new ways to work.
To help facilitate your upskilling there are many free online courses available to help get you started on your journey. At Dig Down Media we are offering free consulting and online webinars to affected small businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak. Other great sources of information include:
- Google Digital Garage – Online courses, designed for you to grow your career or business
- Alison – Free online courses from the world’s leading experts
- Upskill – Over 200 free programming lessons
- LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) – Technology courses including (1st month free)
- MIT OpenCourseWare – MIT’s free online courses
- HarvardX – Free online courses from Harvard University
- Bonus: Khan Academy – Free courses for children
While times are tough right now, we can be confident that things will improve in the future. By using some of the time that millions of Americans suddenly find themselves with to upskill in technology-based skills we can be better off in the long run for it.
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