Terry McAuliffe announces plan for post-COVID economy
Former governor Terry McAuliffe today released a plan to invest in Virginia workers and a more equitable post-COVID economy.
McAuliffe, running for the Democratic Party nomination for governor, laid out strategies for increasing worker protections, supporting caregivers and care workers, and creating opportunities for higher education and training.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 2 million women in the U.S. have left the workforce, with Black mothers two and a half times as likely as white mothers to have left the workforce. In addition to rolling back decades of progress toward gender equity, this will have substantial long-term economic consequences, resulting in a projected $64.5 billion reduction in wages and economic activity annually for American women.
The McAuliffe plan seeks to combat these impacts by accelerating Virginia’s increase of the minimum wage to $15 in 2024, requiring employers to provide paid sick days and family medical leave, and holding companies accountable for pay disparities.
Recognizing that women continue to shoulder the majority of child care and family caregiving responsibilities, the McAuliffe plan will also make childcare more accessible and affordable by increasing subsidies for families in need and addressing restrictions that prevent women from accessing child care assistance.
The plan also addresses the challenges faced by home healthcare workers. Predominantly women of color, these workers provide critical services to older Virginians but are often some of the lowest paid workers.
McAuliffe addresses these issues by pushing for increased wages for home healthcare workers and working with the federal government expanding Medicare and Medicaid coverage to increase access to these services for Virginians in need.
“In 2021, child care should not be a ‘woman’s issue’ but we cannot ignore that is the reality for too many women across the Commonwealth. The effects of this pandemic are driving women out of the workforce, and we must act quickly before a generation of women is left out and left behind,” said House of Delegates Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, who has endorsed McAuliffe in his bid for governor. “Taking immediate action to improve access to affordable child care will lift up families and benefit our entire Commonwealth. I have been championing efforts to provide child care relief to Virginia families during the pandemic, and I am so glad Terry McAuliffe has included these efforts in his plan. The only way we can recover and rebuild a stronger economy is by thinking big and acting boldly, and I know we can trust Terry to get it done.”
The McAuliffe plan also focuses on building stronger pathways to the workforce and creating opportunities for Virginians to access high-demand, good-paying jobs that require an associate degree, certification or credential instead of a four-year degree. McAuliffe proposes creating a five year pathway for high school graduates to transition seamlessly into an associate degree or career-training program. This will help to build on the successes of Gov. Ralph Northam’s G3 program, which makes tuition-free community college available to low- and middle-income Virginians pursuing high-demand fields.
McAuliffe also advocates for creating opportunities for students to take advantage of registered apprenticeships that provide hands-on job experience.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the inequities that hardworking Virginians and women of color have faced for generations, and nowhere is that more clear than in the millions of women who are being driven out of the workforce. Virginia must step up and confront these inequities head on if we want to truly secure our economic recovery and build a stronger, more equitable Commonwealth for all. My bold new plan will do just that,” McAuliffe said. “First things first: hardworking Virginians deserve a raise. As Governor, I will accelerate our minimum wage increase to $15 per hour in 2024. With paid sick days and family medical leave, better access to affordable childcare, and support for our home health care workers, we will work to build an equitable workforce system that supports and lifts up women rather than excluding them. We’ve invested in workforce training before, and we’re going to do it again and create pathways to a better future for all Virginians.”