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Pandemic-Era Graduates Entering The Workforce Have No Idea What They’re Doing

Since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, new graduates’ industry-specific test scores and certifications have declined following remote learning, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The pass rates for national certifications and assessment exams have declined in the occupational areas of engineers, office workers, soldiers and nurses following the COVID-19 pandemic that sent many students away from the classroom and into remote learning, according to the WSJ. High school graduation rates have fallen and scores for college admissions exams have dropped to a 30-year low for students who were in high school and college when the pandemic hit.

“You learn by doing,” said Roman Devengenzo, an engineer who worked with new hires while consulting for a robotics company in Silicon Valley, according to the WSJ. “These kids in school during the pandemic, all they’ve done is work on computers.”

In a study examining students grades Pre-K to 12, students needed on average four extra months of school instruction to catch up to grade-level expectations, according to a report by the nonprofit NWEA, which creates academic assessments for students. Incoming Ninth graders in particular were found to need at least a full year of extra instruction to catch up with expected levels.

The pandemic resulted in 100,000 nurses leaving the profession, with students taking entrance exams for nursing school averaging around 5% lower than pre-pandemic scores, according to the WSJ. Scores for Army recruiting exams fell 9% and engineering exams fell 10% following the pandemic.

The resulting shortcomings are one of the reasons for national productivity falling for the past five quarters, starting at the beginning of 2022, leading to the longest contraction in productivity since at least 1948, according to the WSJ.

Employee turnover has surged since the start of the pandemic, hampering productivity for businesses due to the need to train new employees at high volumes. More than 4.5 million workers voluntarily left their jobs in November 2021.

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