Paul Osterman Calls for GI Bill for Essential Workers
In a new column for Newsweek, MIT Sloan Professor Paul Osterman is calling for the equivalent of a GI Bill to support further education and training for essential workers serving during the COVID-19 crisis.
"After World War Two, America expressed its gratitude to returning veterans by supporting their education. We subsequently renewed and made permanent these well earned benefits for veterans," Osterman writes. "We should do the same today for the people who are on the front line: grocery workers, food delivery workers, restaurant workers, building cleaners, hospital orderlies, EMTs, and everyone else on whom we have come to realize we depend for our very lives."
Osterman is the NTU Professor of Human Resources and Management at MIT Sloan, Co-Director of the MIT Institute for Work and Employment Research, and a member of the faculty steering committee for the Good Companies, Good Jobs Initiative at MIT Sloan. He is the author of "Who Will Care For Us?: Long-Term Care and the Long-Term Workforce" (Russell Sage) and editor of "Creating Good Jobs: An Industry-Based Strategy"(MIT Press).
In his Newsweek column, Osterman also reports on a recent survey project he has conducted in conjunction with the Good Companies, Good Jobs Initiative. In the survey, a representative sample of working Americans were asked about training they had received in 2019. As Osterman notes in the column, workers earning $30,000 or less per year were significantly less likely than higher-earning workers to have received employer-provided training. "Too many people receive too little training, and access to training is a reflection of the other inequalities in the job market," Osterman observes.