The Journal’s Douglas Belkin, Ben Chapman and Ben Kesling report:
The knock-on effect of years of remote learning during the pandemic
is gumming up workplaces around the country. It is one reason
professional service jobs are going unfilled and goods aren’t making
it to market. It also helps explain why national productivity has
fallen for the past five quarters, the longest contraction since at
least 1948, according to the U.S. Labor Department... Employers are
spending more time and resources searching for candidates and often
lowering expectations when they hire. Then they are spending millions
to fix new employees’ lack of basic skills.
Talent First, a business-led workforce-development organization in
Grand Rapids, Mich., is encouraging employers to stop trying to hire
based on skill. Instead, hiring managers should look for a willingness
to learn, said President Kevin Stotts.
“Employers are saying, ‘We’re just trying to find some people who could
fog the mirror,’ ” Stotts said.
Since 2020, when the pandemic began and remote learning moved students
out of schools and into virtual classrooms, the pass rates on national
certifications and assessment exams taken by engineers, office workers,
soldiers and nurses have all fallen.
Meanwhile, in the Boston Globe Christopher Huffaker reports similarly depressing data about the panicked Covid-era spending on K-12 education:
When the American Rescue Plan Act passed in March 2021, hopes were high
across the country that the much-needed influx of funds to public
schools could help students recover from months of remote learning, and
also fill holes in school infrastructure the pandemic exposed, like
outdated HVAC systems.
But with a year remaining to spend the $2.6 billion in total relief
funds that went to Massachusetts schools, it’s unclear how far those
dollars have gone, and what they have achieved. State test scores from
the 2021-22 school year showed a partial recovery, but more recent
national data from the assessment and research organization NWEA showed
a concerning reversal: After progress in the prior year, scores backslid
in 2022-23... Absent further recovery, students stand to take major
hits to lifetime income and other outcomes...