Dr. Quintin Bullock, President of CCAC, writes about preparing the Greater Pittsburgh region’s workforce for the challenging times ahead and facilitating the economy’s rebound for New Pittsburgh Courier. The article can be read in full here. A version of it was also published in Pittsburgh Business Times.
History will surely recall the first year of this decade as the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the year when large portions of our economy stopped, when institutions that defined our everyday lives – from schools to grocery stores, from offices to playgrounds – changed. Economists will undoubtedly look back and see the business cycle at work, characterized in the broadest sense as recession followed by recovery, unemployment followed by opportunity.
But there are communities within our society that don’t see life in terms of business cycles. They are stuck at the bottom and the only cycle they see is multi-generational poverty, inadequate educational opportunities, and high levels of long-term unemployment.
As our country recovers from the economic devastation wrought by COVID-19, the government and private sector are undoubtedly going to expend enormous amounts of energy and money to train members of the workforce whose jobs no longer exist and whose industries have been forever altered. We need programs to prepare those individuals for new jobs in new industries that are going to be in demand in the future.
But what about the underserved and economically disadvantaged communities that have experienced long-term poverty and unemployment? Over the next decade, as we reach new peaks of economic prosperity in this country, will we demonstrate the same level of commitment to building a path to prosperity for those who have been left behind for decades?
In an article for CFO Dive, the CEO of AC client Steel City Re writes about the need for CFOs to take a hands-on approach to managing their company’s reputational value, especially in the COVID-19 era. Doing so sends market signals that lead to improved equity and debt pricing.
CFOs have been responding to the slowdown by talking about cash flow, net earnings, and how long of a shutdown they can handle. What they should be talking about is fear.
Consumers reined in first quarter spending faster than many analysis predicted. Households, apparently, engaged in social distancing well ahead of stay-at-home orders.
As a result, consumer spending-based projections were flawed, and will remain flawed if financial models fail to consider the role of behaviors like fear in driving the economy. In their next round of earnings calls, CFOs might consider leading a different discussion — on behavioral and informational economics.
In the next quarter, fear, anger and disappointment management will be the x-factor shaping companies’ equity and debt prices. That x-factor has a name: reputation risk management.
Dr. Quintin Bullock, President of CCAC, writes about responding to the Greater Pittsburgh region’s immediate workforce needs following COVID-19 for Pittsburgh Business Times. The article can be read in full here.
At some point after the Covid-19 crisis ends, our economy is going to start growing again. Some types of jobs — some entire industries — are going to be changed forever. Manufacturing is already on an accelerated path toward automation. Large numbers of employees are going to need retraining to meet the demands of the economy of the 2020s, and community colleges will certainly have an important role to play.
Our ability to thrive despite the massive disruption and shifts that are likely to take place will require industry-education partnerships across the region. Adults who become students again want to maximize the benefits of their general education degrees and utilize these skills to adapt to the times and rebuild their careers.
That means educational institutions need to understand specific industries and businesses when developing retraining programs. Curriculum needs to be designed to meet a clear demand, and schools need to be agile in identifying current and future trends. For example, a few months ago, no one had heard of “contact tracing.” Now, there is clearly going to be a strong and immediate demand for contact tracing investigators throughout the country.