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To Fill Millions of Open Jobs, Many Workers Need More Than Skills

Rachelle Katchenago of Menasha, Wis., lost her job as a call-center contract worker last year after the pandemic lockdowns took hold. No one was hiring.Ms. Katchenago, 37, eventually heard of career courses, paid for by Microsoft as part of a Covid relief program. She plunged in, learning online customer service and sales skills, hoping to improve her employment prospects.But it turned out that the technical skills, in the free classes from Microsoft’s LinkedIn job listing and training service, were not the only thing she picked up. The Wisconsin group helping her with the courses also provided career guidance, …

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Student Loan Forgiveness Program Made Decisions in 12 Minutes, Documents Say

Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made no secret of her disdain for a program intended to forgive the federal student loans of borrowers who were ripped off by schools that defrauded their students. She called it a “free money” giveaway, let hundreds of thousands of claims languish for years and slashed the amount of relief granted to some successful applicants to $0.Then, after a class-action lawsuit made it impossible to stall any longer, her agency built what amounted to an assembly line of rejection.In Ms. DeVos’s final year in office, her agency denied nearly 130,000 claims — far surpassing the 9,000 …

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Should the Feds Guarantee You a Job?

What should the president do about jobs?For 30 years, Democratic administrations have approached the question by focusing on the overall economy and trusting that a vibrant labor market would follow. But there is a growing feeling among Democrats — along with many mainstream economists — that the market alone cannot give workers a square deal.So after a health crisis that has destroyed millions of jobs, a summer of urban protest that drew attention to the deprivation of Black communities, and another presidential election that exposed deep economic and social divides, some policymakers are reconsidering a policy tool not deployed since the …

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Reinventing Workers for the Post-Covid Economy

Rob Siminoski has been in the theater, in one way or another, since he graduated from college. But after 10 years at the Universal Studios theme park in California, he is only No. 13 on the stage-managing roster. Even if the park, closed since March, reopens some attractions — the WaterWorld stunt show, say, or the Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle — he is unlikely to be among the first to get the call.His luck is that his union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, offers an apprenticeship program for on-set movie electricians. It takes five years, and Mr. Siminoski, 33, is going to …

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