New Virtual Conference Series Helps Columbus Area Businesses and Nonprofits Navigate the Challenging World of COVID-19

Staff Report

Monday, January 11th, 2021

The Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO) and Hiring Well, Doing Good (HWDG) are excited to announce the launch of an online conference series featuring leaders from the Columbus area sharing their expertise on how to adapt to the changing work environment during and after the pandemic, including an examination of the business policies and practices that impact workforce participation.

The first event in the series—“Economic Forces During a Pandemic: How COVID is Shaping the Labor Market”—will take place Thursday, January 21 from 11am to 1pm. To register, click here.

Speakers for this this event include: Jamie Loyd (VP of Economic Development and Strategic Partnerships at Columbus Technical College), Tricia Llewellyn Konan (VP of  Mission Services at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers), Trent Davidson (Franchise Sales Manager at Buffalo Rock Pepsi), Gail Burgos (Former Senior Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Global Payments), and Sendreka Lakes (Director of Education, Talent & Workforce with the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce). 

Dr. David Martin White (Former Vice Chancellor for the Troy University Phenix City Campus) will moderate the discussion.

“We’ve seen radical shifts in the labor force since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and these changes have hit the lowest rung of the economic ladder the hardest—poor and largely minority workers,” said Kristin Barker, GCO’s program manager for HWDG in Columbus. “But we’re seeing significant changes across the labor market for white collar and professional occupations as well. Consider that before COVID, only 5 percent of employed adults in the U.S. worked from home. That number spiked to 42 percent during the pandemic. Firms now say that 20 percent of their workforce will remain remote even after the pandemic subsides, a four-fold increase. We’ll be delving into these sorts of issues in our series.”

Additional upcoming sessions:

  • “Leveraging Community Resources: Mitigating the COVID Impact on Business and Nonprofits,” Wednesday, March 24 from 11am to 1pm. Click here to register.

  • “Maintaining the Strength of Your Workforce: Employee Retention During a Pandemic,” Wednesday, May 19 from 11am to 1pm. Click here to register.