With much of the American economy effectively shut down, Albany area state Democratic Assemblymembers Pat Fahy and John McDonald held a virtual town hall Thursday on career transitioning during the pandemic.
As New Yorkers wait to un-"PAUSE," the new economy will present major changes for jobseekers and business owners alike.
"This is all about getting ready as we think about how we tip it forward in our lives and our careers and whether we still have a job to go back to or not."
Fahy kicked off the Zoom session, dubbed "Moving Forward: Adapting Your Job Search and Career Transitioning During COVID-19," intending to explore career transitioning and job search in a digital environment while shuttered at home. Fahy says a lot of people are online, looking for a job or either working while trying to upgrade their skills.
Last Thursday the state Department of Labor said more than 60,000 Capital Region residents had filed for unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic
Capital District Women’s Employment & Resource Center Executive Director Elizabeth Miller says computers and smartphones have become essential.
"That's their lifeline to their children, to their to their jobs, to their spouse, that is definitely the way that they can get on to Zoom and to these Google training sites. It's a little more difficult if you don't have access to a computer to actually implement those those learning tools, but that will come, and just by accessing these the virtual training centers, they're also in when you're in Zoom you realize that you're not alone. And I think that's one of the things that we're all feeling is. 'Oh, this is just happening to me.' And 'what do I do?'"
Brian Williams is Commissioner of the Rensselaer County One Stop Shop Career Center.
"The digital literacy of everybody that's out there is a little less than I think businesses thought it was going to be. So we're working with Albany Can Code to put together a five-week live training, with some mentoring built in. There's a big focus on the Microsoft Office platform, so we're going to be doing a pilot project in that in the next couple weeks. Getting a job a lot of times is the easy part. Keeping the job is the hard part, where life kind of gets in the way. So you know what our staff here at the Career Centers are able to do is make that connection to those other services that are out in the community, that can kind of help folks navigate the system of things that are going on out there."
Over at the Capital Region Chamber for Commerce, Jason Benitez, Vice President for Talent and Inclusion, says businesses are adapting and evolving.
"This is a profound moment for employers in many ways. Supervisors and managers. It can be a moment of introspection for them in how they lead, where they're leading from. You know, are you leading with empathy? Are you leading with emotion and understanding? I think that the the ways in which supervisors and managers and CEOs think about workplace climate, think about you know, the wellness of their employees, I think that's going to be shifting and that should be something top of mind for supervisors as we begin to re-open."
Benitez says that when a society goes through a mass pandemic, it will enhance empathy.