September is National Workforce Development Month. Each fall, we take a moment to highlight and recognize the hard work done by workforce professionals and the tremendous impact made by the government workforce programs we support. These workforce development professionals deliver training, education, career planning, job placement, internships, apprenticeships, and work trials. Their hard work and dedication provide vital services that help thousands of people find satisfying employment, economic security, and self-sufficiency. Moreover, workforce development programs help grow active, thriving communities characterized by high employment rates and strong wage growth.
The challenges of 2020 have impacted all of us profoundly. In some ways, the year's uncertainty and unforeseen hardships reflect the history of what we workforce professionals have always known. Our economy and our way of life depend on a simple formula: connecting those who need jobs to employers who need workers. The realities of COVID-19 have prompted us to evolve and stretch our thinking and delivery in ways never thought possible. Throughout the pandemic, workforce services programs have continued to support job seekers. Workforce services professionals have worked tirelessly to find new ways to connect the public with work and training opportunities. Despite the travel and logistical hurdles, we have continued to work with employers to adapt their methodology and keep placements going and talent pipelines healthy.
I'm very proud of the Maximus workforce services professionals that I get to lead and work beside every day. These incredibly dedicated professionals provide employment services to over 43,000 job seekers across 11 states and Washington, D.C. every year.
Meeting the Challenges of COVID-19
I'm especially proud of what Maximus workforce services teams have accomplished as we have ramped up to help government agencies tackle the challenges of COVID-19 and its economic aftershocks:
- Backstopping state Unemployment Insurance programs for 14 states and helping millions of American workers to get answers and receive assistance as COVID-19 related furloughs accelerated.
- Transitioning nearly all of our employment services operations to a completely remote, virtual approach in under 30 days.
- Successfully deploying staff to provide emergency support to states with pressing surges in Unemployment Insurance claims by transitioning personnel from less hard-hit regions of the country. This approach has allowed us to shift critical resources and people to the country's hardest-hit areas as the pandemic has advanced geographically.
- Delivering virtual job fairs for employers across the nation, directly empowering employers to hire hundreds of individuals and families on public assistance.
Workforce Services Going Forward
The future of workforce services will demand that we remain flexible, expand virtual assistance, and leverage technology in new ways. As workforce professionals, we've seen economies dip and rise, and industry demand ebb and flow. Each economic cycle brings change, and the one thing that remains constant is the call to meet the change head-on, adapt, and improve performance. National Workforce Development Month allows us an opportunity to reflect on the impact of the work we do. Our workforce services teams regularly perform miracles, and it's inspiring to see the good they foster in the communities where we live and work.