How Colleges And Universities Can Protect Workers From The Pandemic

Labor economist Marie Mora says higher education should prepare more people for jobs that can be done from home.

By Joy DiazJune 29, 2020 10:55 am, , ,

More than three months after the pandemic hit Texas, economists continue to consider the state’s road to recovery. 

Marie Mora is a labor economist and professor at the University of Missouri in St. Louis, or USML. She believes, to protect Texans from the next downturn, more workers should move from blue collar to white collar jobs.

“Most of the jobs that were able to [be done from home] were predominantly white collar,” Mora told Texas Standard host David Brown. “We would need to find more creative ways to open up opportunities for workers to be able to transition to home as needed.” 

UMSL is reimagining their certificate programs to better suit adult learners. 

In the immediate future, “[colleges] can provide courses, maybe short programs, where adult learners can acquire not only the learning of skills but also certificates and credentials,” Mora said. 

In the long-term, these programs could count towards a full college degree.  “As workers are picking up the certificates they’re still making progress toward an actual degree,” she said. 

This raises the question: what about the blue collar jobs that are still essential; that can not transition to the home? Mora says more training and more protection for those specific workers would go a long way. 

Web story by Sarah Gabrielli.

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