Faced with job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans are turning to outplacement services provided by their former employers for help in their next job search. But with the economy faltering and whole categories of jobs going away, job seekers are struggling, and the resume writing, interview prep, and networking assistance that may have provided a boost in the past just aren’t enough now.
Enter Next Chapter, the brainchild of Paul Freedman, president of Guild Education’s Learning Marketplace, and Guild CEO Rachel Carlson, who have teamed up to help workers leverage their layoff benefits to not only find a job right now, but to reskill and launch a new career in the future.
“Outplacement as an industry, I’ll just be blunt: It exists to solve one problem from an employer, which is, ‘help me not get sued,’” Freedman said on today’s episode of Strada’s Lessons Earned podcast. “It’s an outdated service that solves a bigger need for the employer than for the employee.”
What’s making matters more complicated for job-seekers, Freedman said, is that preparing someone to get another job like the one they just lost won’t work. Due to the pandemic’s disruptive effects, some jobs are not coming back–at least not anytime soon.
The more ethical approach, he said, is an employee-centered one in which outplacement services not only help people land a job right away, but also look to the future by evaluating how their existing skills align with a different role, or advising how they might upskill and launch a new career in a field that is more secure or will give them a higher income and better benefits. By combining artificial intelligence and human intervention, he said, Next Chapter aims to curate a variety of choices to help displaced workers land well.
Someone laid off as a concierge in the hospitality industry, for example, might find a more economically stable career in healthcare, Freedman said. If you like to help people in hospitality, “you call it customer service and in the medical industry you call it bedside manner,” he said. One field is laying off; one is definitely hiring. One might be more difficult until the pandemic subsides; one may open a career path you can start on today.
To learn more, listen to Freedman’s interview on Lessons Earned.