MinnPost: How COVID-19 Could Exacerbate Inequalities in Minnesota’s Workforce

Click Here for Full Story By Walker Ornstein

When Olive Angle Wilson was hired in March as an assistant pre-kindergarten teacher in North Minneapolis, the job was a great fit. Wilson, 19, said it was rewarding to help children during a formative time in their life.

Wilson had struggled to find stable work or decide on a career until participating in training programs with the nonprofit Twin Cities Rise and earning the child care gig. But the pre-k job lasted only two weeks. As the COVID-19 pandemic spread in Minnesota, Wilson was furloughed.

Furloughs and layoffs have become common across industries and around the state, of course, with more than 560,000 people applying for unemployment insurance since Gov. Tim Walz began instituting sweeping public health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. Yet for those in Minnesota who already struggled to find work prior to the outbreak — including, disproportionately, people of color — the new barriers to work represent a particularly bruising setback.

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