COVID-19 has taught us many lessons that we will be unpacking for years to come. Top among them is the need for economically viable careers that can withstand the test of crisis. At the writing of this post, a record 10 million Americans have filed corona virus-related unemployment claims and that number is steadily climbing. While the government is actively implementing economic relief programs, unemployment funds haven’t started flowing for many who are out of work right now.
Some of the worst hit industries are food service, hospitality, manufacturing, and retail. The informal economy composed of domestic workers, street vendors, and the like will suffer the most since they aren’t taxed or monitored by the government. This makes them ineligible for unemployment funds and unable to maintain their income, in many instances. The lowest wage earners are also among the largest group impacted by this situation.
Needless to say, the majority of those unemployed don’t have a formal education or training. The corona virus-related unemployment sector is primarily filled with non-essential workers. On the other hand, some jobs are fundamental in this current climate and, in general, are recession-proof. These types of jobs can usually survive the most stifling economic collapse such as the one we are currently faced with. Such jobs include:
- Healthcare and medical professionals
- Information technology specialists
- Law enforcement and correction officers
- Primary, secondary, and post-secondary educators
- Social workers and counselors
- Morticians and funeral workers
- Public utility and transit staff
- Emergency care workers
With the exception of a few, most jobs in this category require some type of formal training or education. Formal education may involve a 2-month course of study or more than 12 years of education and residency. In some cases, the work is intense and long but the rewards are plentiful whether we are in an up or down economy.
This is why I consistently advocate for my clients, family, and friends alike to obtain and/or continue their education beyond high school. As an educator by profession, I have seen the value of having a formal education in many situations. This is why I believe in quality, affordable, practical, and beneficial educational pathways that can help those around me remain economically viable.
Now, this situation is a wake-up call to many who did not heed my advice or the advice of others who have shared the same message. But, it is not too late. There are many companies and organizations who will still need formally educated and trained workers now and after this crisis is over.
Therefore, now is the time to continue your education. It is best to start while the need is great and opportunities are plentiful for those who choose recession-proof career paths. While many sectors of the economy are down right now, most colleges and universities are open for business. Most in-person classes have transitioned to the online environment so being confined to your place of shelter is not an obstacle.
Since most educational institutes have embraced technology over the past few decades, many colleges and universities are able to support their students’ needs through various learning management systems and other modalities.
I encourage anyone who is thinking about going back to school to do so now. Whether you already have college credits or not, you can start or re-start your education journey within a few weeks to a few months. In the words of one of the greatest educational thinkers of the last century:
The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.-Malcolm X
Aside from the obvious future economic benefits of obtaining a formal education, going back to school right now can help you stay productive. Pursuing your education can give you something meaningful and valuable to do during this lock down period. You don’t have to waste endless hours pouring over fear-inducing social media or engaging in other non-productive activities that are not conductive to your financial well-being. Today is the day to begin preparing for the future.