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COVID, Low-Wage Earners and Upskilling – We want front line workers a chance to climb the occupational ladder

After World War Two, America expressed its gratitude to returning veterans by supporting their education. We subsequently renewed and made permanent these well earned benefits for veterans. We should do the same today for the people who are on the front line: grocery workers, food delivery workers, restaurant workers, building cleaners, hospital orderlies, EMTs, and everyone else on whom we have come to realize we depend for our very lives.

Tens of millions—Axios estimates well over 25 million—are putting their lives on the line for us and are taking a disproportionate hit of the job loss tsunami. For many years now we have bemoaned the surge of earnings inequality, but the conversation has been abstract. These low-income workers, until recently just data points in the discussion, are the real, living face of that inequality. Now that we understand how important they are and how much we owe them, perhaps the political moment has arrived to take action; especially as once this crisis recedes, many of these jobs will disappear as habits change and as firms automate.

Equally importantly, we want to give people a chance for something better, a chance to climb the occupational ladder.

When times are bad people want to return to school. In the Great Recession of 2007-2009, full time enrollment in community college increased by 24 percent.

We need to assure that low-wage frontline workers are in a position to take advantage of this opportunity.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ If Hospitals and Supermarkets Are The New Front Line, We Need a New GI Bill | Opinion

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