National Investment Employment Corps

In just under two months, tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs and our nation’s unemployment rate has skyrocketed from record lows of 3.5 percent to nearing 20 percent. Not all businesses and jobs will survive this pandemic. In order to weather this economic crisis, Congress should begin planning for a publicly subsidized jobs program. During the Great Recession of 2009, public jobs programs subsidized hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers in private companies, as well as public and community-based organizations. This program can be paired with state and local officials identifying “service-ready” community, nonprofit and small-business projects in addition to “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects.1 This pandemic will have long lasting consequences for our nation. In order to not just recover, but thrive, we must think differently and plan for our collective future. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the permanent establishment of a National Investment Employment Corps (NIEC) would provide universal job coverage for all adult Americans and eliminate involuntary unemployment and provide health insurance for all full-time workers in the program.2 Further, we can reverse years of underinvestment by mobilizing and training our workforce to upgrade the skills of American workers to meet the needs for the jobs of the future, including information technology, advanced manufacturing, logistics and certain health fields.3