In the corona crisis, the state of Vorarlberg wants to focus on qualifications in order to be prepared for the economic upturn that follows after the pandemic.
“The subject of skilled workers has not disappeared,” stated Governor Markus Wallner (ÖVP) on Thursday in a joint press conference with Labor Minister Martin Kocher (ÖVP) in Bregenz. Vorarlberg has already coped well with a structural change after the textile crisis, said Kocher.
After the end of the pandemic, a structural change will be experienced, for example in the direction of environmental technology, said the labor minister. Qualification measures make it possible for people to stay in their traditional area of work or to find work in a new professional field.
Tourism and gastronomy suffer from the situation
Wallner emphasized that in Vorarlberg currently over 3,000 people are undergoing a qualification measure. The tourism and gastronomy sectors are particularly suffering from the current situation and are concerned that they will lose employees. “In the end we open and have too few employees,” said Wallner. Qualification is therefore considered important. Kocher emphasized that the unemployed in tourism are not about upgrading, but about upgrading their skills.
Although Vorarlberg currently has more than 15,000 unemployed – an increase of over 56 percent compared to the previous year – Wallner saw “positive signals”. The opening steps would have brought a noticeable improvement, for example in retail. For 62,000 Vorarlberg residents who had to make use of short-time work, 300 million euros flowed to Vorarlberg. Now 24,000 people are still registered for short-time work. Kocher called the short-time work a “very good instrument” to get through the crisis months, but from July there will have to be a new short-time work model.
Opening steps “unavoidable”
Vorarlberg’s Economic Councilor Marco Tittler (ÖVP) called the opening steps intended in Vorarlberg “unavoidable”. Half of the increase in unemployment figures can be traced back to the gastronomy and tourism sectors. One had to make sure that there was no higher base unemployment left after the crisis. Likewise, there should be no losers in progress and no “lost generation”. The aim is to offer the young people even more accurate offers with regard to an apprenticeship position.
Both Wallner and Tittler thanked the federal government and the AMS for 59 million euros, which are available this year in Vorarlberg for labor market policy activities – “more than ever”. There is a commitment to maintain this level in the next few years in order to be able to “establish sustainable programs,” said Tittler.