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Skills Wanted: Companies focus on what workers can do, not what degree they hold

The supply of and demand for middle-skill workers has created a mismatch in our labor market. The “skills gap” is real, and employers are coming up with their own solutions to combat the talent shortage. According to The Wall Street Journal in an article titled “More Companies Teach Workers What Colleges Don’t,” these solutions include focusing less on four-year degrees and more on skills that workers have or can learn. [Photo Credit: The Markle Foundation]...

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State Initiatives Work to Eliminate Lingering Stigma of “Vocational” Education

The push for all high school graduates to earn a four-year baccalaureate degree over other post-secondary pathways has resulted in employers struggling to find workers with in-demand technical skills. Vocational education—now more commonly referred to as career and technical education (CTE)—has an image problem, and students (and parents) are skeptical about the workforce value of a two-year degree or credential. But efforts are underway to change public perceptions about these programs and eliminate the lingering stigma that middle-skills jobs are second-class options....

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Does Our National Conversation about College Debt Adequately Take Interest into Account?

Question.  When it’s written or said that a person has taken out, say, $30,000 in student loans, is it usually assumed that $30,000 is the total to be paid back, with interest already factored in?  Or is interest generally not yet accounted for, meaning the borrower is on the hook for measurably more than $30,000?  I may be wrong, but after reading a lot about student loans for Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree, my sense is that most references to student loan debt ignore the reality of interest, thus underplaying how difficult paying back loans may be. ...

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