Life In The Time of Corona (with apologies to Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

What a difference a week makes!  Last Wednesday JVS was continuing its journey to be a Next Generation Workforce Development Organization – rapidly expanding our market-responsive staffing contracts with employers, deepening our job quality focus, continuing to expand our model services, pursuing new policy and systems change opportunities for expanded impact and increased opportunity for our clients, and undertaking our new strategic plan.  Today we are seeing new jobless claims at a pace not experienced since the Great Depression, entire industries cratering, and millions of Americans and workers around the world experiencing economic hardship and health challenges.
With all that in mind, the core competencies of Next Generation Workforce  Development Organizations are resiliency, flexibility, adaptability, and market-responsiveness.  JVS was founded in 1938 during the Great Depression, when millions of Americans were unemployed. We’ve pivoted many times since then, and are pivoting now.  I am proud to say, that as I’ve watched our JVS colleagues respond to the Corona Virus crisis and our clients’ many needs with creativity and enthusiasm, in spite of their own personal hardships, we have demonstrated all of these competencies, and I am fully confident that we will emerge from this crisis as an even stronger organization. 
Since last week, JVS accomplished three remarkable feats.  In just 48 hours, the entire enterprise transitioned to a fully remote operating mode, enabling all staff to work remotely, board members to meet, and all business operations to continue remotely, without any major hiccups.  
Also within 48 hours, nearly all JVS clients had been contacted by a staff person, remote classrooms were up and operating, and remote coaching expanded to allow nearly uninterrupted  service delivery for our clients, who have been struggling with the repercussions of the Corona crisis.  Over the next week, we will continue to improve and expand our remote classroom and coaching services with the goal of meeting all client and employer customer needs and requirements.  
And, perhaps most impressive, this week we moved from playing defense to playing offense (Tom Brady notwithstanding).  While hundreds of our clients and thousands of others are being laid off, there are companies, and entire industries that desperately need workers to meet rapidly growing demand during the crisis.  Grocery stores, healthcare institutions, on-line fulfillment and delivery companies and many others are expanding and need workers.  JVS is rapidly moving to implement a remote talent matching system, through which we can match our clients who are looking for jobs to employers who are looking for people. Already we have placed several unemployed clients in positions at Amazon and Star Market.  
This crisis has accelerated our technology adoption and our long-standing need to provide better remote work and service delivery options, and we’ve all been forced to rapidly learn new skills.  When we come out of this crisis, which we will, the economic recovery will be difficult, may be long, and will involve many unknowns.  But, one thing we can be sure of is that as we recover, employers will need talent, and workers will need opportunity.  JVS’s focus and mission during this crisis is both to meet the needs of our clients and customers now, and strengthen our enterprise for the recovery and beyond.  I am fully confident that we will succeed at both.   

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