Back 2 Work

Feb 9, 2021  |  By Kim Coutts  |  

Civilian and San Diego and Imperial Counties Community Colleges Launch Back2Work Program Focused on Pandemic-Resilient Careers

Along with the rest of the country, the San Diego and Imperial County regions have experienced an unprecedented health and economic crisis during the pandemic. Pandemic shut-downs have led to significant layoffs, and millions of workers are currently struggling to find jobs. At the same time, employers are struggling to find workers with the training required to fill open positions. This lack of alignment between worker skills and employer needs is particularly prevalent in middle-skills jobs that require more training than high school but less than a college degree.

With an understanding that economic recovery depends on effectively pairing trained workers with essential jobs, Civilian worked with the San Diego and Imperial Counties Community College Association (SDICCCA) and San Diego-Imperial Centers of Excellence (COE) for Labor Market Research to identify occupations that remain in high demand despite the current downturn.

The resulting Resilient Jobs report analyzed occupations that experienced employment growth or stability during the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009. These recession-resilient jobs were then compared to data from more than 150,000 job openings posted online between March and June 2020 to determine which occupations were also pandemic-resilient.

The research revealed 27 pandemic-resilient, middle-skill careers that pay more than the living wage and average at least 275 annual posted job openings. Armed with that data, Civilian created education and outreach tools, including an infographic and a microsite with student resources. The full Back2Work campaign included digital advertising, direct mail, social and earned media outreach designed to provide hope and direction to workers displaced by the pandemic.

As California continues to grapple with pandemic-related unemployment, this research provides actionable information to help workers get back to work or change careers, aid employers to find qualified candidates for open positions, and support regional economic recovery.

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