What Is Back to Work: Listening to Americans?
Back to Work – Listening to Americans is a public opinion poll and related report by Gallup and Carnegie Corporation of New York. It solicits Americans’ views of the most important issues facing the nation amid COVID-19, support for a plan that provides jobs, education, and training, and high-priority areas to address with a national jobs recovery program. Its insights are meant to help identify immediate solutions for our current crisis as well as long-term strategies to achieve lasting progress.
Why Is It Needed?
With millions of Americans out of work, we must act swiftly to get people back on their feet and help young people at critical transition points to college and career who find themselves facing an upended jobs market and uncertain future. It will take the will and ability of the nation to think creatively about solutions. To achieve change at the scale required, it is essential that we start by listening to the voices of Americans — their hopes and challenges as well as their perspectives on how best to meet their needs.
What Are Americans Saying?
The survey reveals that even in these deeply divided times, an overwhelming majority of Americans across political affiliations agree on at least two points: 1) Many people are at risk, and we need to help each other, and 2) We can do that by providing millions of people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic with a combination of paid work, education, and training opportunities over the next few years.
A vast majority of survey respondents identify learning loss as a top priority for the nation to address. The survey also surfaces strong bipartisan support for a jobs recovery program that would put people back to work, addressing national and local needs while helping individuals build skills for future employment. Additional findings from the survey may be found here.
Why Did Carnegie Corporation of New York Support This Research?
For more than a century, Carnegie Corporation of New York has worked to ensure that America’s schools fulfill their fundamental promise — preparing all students to participate fully in our democracy and thrive in an inclusive economy and society. The pandemic has challenged that vision in unprecedented ways, exacting a profound toll on lives, livelihoods, and learning.
Even before this crisis, Carnegie Corporation of New York was working to develop more cradle-to-career pathways to meet the needs of our nation’s young people and create opportunities for all. Now, with the prospect of a sustained economic downturn, it is even more imperative that we build a stronger system that supports lifelong learning and skills development so that all adults can adapt as the economy changes or their personal ambitions evolve over time.
Our schools, communities, and economy are inextricably linked. In the Back to Work survey, Americans have provided strong insights about solutions that could enable us to emerge from this crisis as a stronger society. We hope that it will help policymakers come together to address the urgent needs of this moment and build a more equitable and secure future for all Americans.