May 18, 2024

The pandemic has had a deleterious effect on the economy, our daily lives, our careers, and our schools. Parents are having to choose between working and taking care of their kids’ educational needs, while companies have had to make serious adjustments to keep business rolling. Everyone is basically in a holding pattern, but one of the ticking time bombs that has largely gone unnoticed is the high school and college aged students who are about to graduate into one of the most difficult job markets in history.

The Challenges Of College In A Pandemic

Many colleges shut down temporarily at the outset of the pandemic, but some tried to bring students back into unsafe conditions. Liberty University was one such institution, and it’s now facing lawsuits that allege the schools put students’ health and safety at risk as a pretext to continue to collect fees and tuition for fewer services. 

Other colleges and universities have moved their courses online, which presents a whole other set of challenges. Students lack the in-person interactions they need to build a network and learn to work together on a team. It does have the benefit of preparing students for remote work, but there will be challenges in integrating these students into the workforce if steps aren’t taken to ensure they are getting at least a baseline college experience.

Undergraduate students often find that their classes and organizations help them build a network upon which they can build their careers later. Without such a network to leverage, career building is going to be a challenge.

What’s more, without those building blocks and that basic universal college experience, workplaces may struggle to integrate recent grads into new roles.

Careers, Workplaces, And The Economy

Right now we are living in what is arguably the worst economic downturn since The Great Depression. The United States has officially been in a recession since June, and it’s not showing any signs of turning around.

Students who are graduating into this environment are going to have a difficult time finding work, which is ultimately going to slow the economic recovery even more. As older generations begin to retire in a few years there will be fewer low to intermediate level job candidates to move up the ladder and push middle level candidates into those vacant leadership positions. 

In short, this pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn are going to be playing out in our economy for decades to come.

Supporting Students To Turn The Economy Around

It’s difficult to imagine hiring right now, but that will be crucial to ensuring today’s students are able to become tomorrow’s business leaders. Now is the time for education and training, and most importantly for supporting graduates who stuck it out and made the most of a bad situation, as they are the ones who faced a pandemic with an antifragile mindset.

It’s going to take time and effort to recover fully from this economic crisis, but the time to start taking action is now. Learn more about the challenges of college during coronavirus and how to support students from the infographic below.