There are several industries in New Jersey that are experiencing a shortage of qualified workers. These in-demand industries - such as nursing, manufacturing, construction trades, and transportation logistics - offer secure, well-paying jobs. In July 2019, New Jersey added 1,600 jobs in trade, transportation, and utilities, 1,200 jobs in manufacturing, and 500 jobs in construction.
At the same time, almost one million New Jersey residents reported living with income levels below the federal poverty line last year. That does not account for a living wage and New Jersey's above-average cost of living.Read more
The amount of student loan debt in our country and state is at crisis level. Some 44 million Americans carry student loans totaling more than $1.5 trillion, and in 2016 someone defaulted on a student loan every 28 seconds. In Massachusetts, roughly 855,000 residents owe $33 billion in student loans (107% growth from 2007-2017) and nearly 95,000 residents in Massachusetts are delinquent on student loan payments. To make matters worse, Education Secretary DeVos has rolled back protective provisions included in the Obama Administration’s Student Aid Bill of rights, such as holding loan servicers accountable for providing accurate information to borrowers about their debt, and preventing loan servicers from slapping excessive fees on borrowers.Read more
Student loans are a burden which prevents many from fully participating in our economy and which can make higher education inaccessible in the first place. Student loan debt delays home purchases, business start-ups and other major economic investments. And the fear of accruing debt can prevent students from enrolling or completing a degree.
Seventeen percent of Illinois residents – more than two million people – carry student loan debt, the median value of which is $17,748. Twelve percent of those borrowers have student loan debt in collections. Refinancing private loans and investing in new financing tools are opportunities for the state to earn a reasonable investment return while supporting the aspirations of our residents.Read more
According to a 2018 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, service-connected disabled veterans had an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent in August, 1.4 percent higher than the national unemployment rate.
Fortunately, many institutions have developed specific programs and services designed to enhance veteran success in higher education. These programs are specifically designed to help veterans thrive in civilian life.
Despite federal education benefits, service disabled veterans still face barriers from accessing these programs. One barrier preventing veterans from taking advantage of these programs is overall cost, especially for those veterans who have not lived in New Jersey for long enough to qualify for in-state tuition.Read more
Right now, Michigan is facing a literacy crisis. The MDE reported this week that around 55% of students entering the fourth grade are not reading at grade level.When I was a teacher in Detroit, I had seniors in high school that were reading at an elementary level, and I knew then we needed to make a change.
A lot of this comes down to our state not giving students the tools they need to succeed. When the recession hit, many librarians were laid off and school library programs terminated, and school libraries and librarians across our state still haven’t recovered. Today, only 43% of Michigan schools have a school library, and I believe this is an issue of access and equity at the highest level.Read more
The cost of post-secondary education continues to rise and so does student debt. Accessible workforce training and college education are essential to achieving financial security for individuals and economic growth for our state. The existing tax incentive for post-secondary education savings is a flat deduction that has been utilized disproportionately by higher-income earners. Current account holders have higher incomes (just 12% earn less than $70,000) and are more likely to be white and reside in metropolitan areas. We are trying to improve the accessibility of post-secondary training and education by fixing our state’s tax incentive for saving. We can make our state more equitable while also boosting the economy & helping state budgets.Read more
For many of our students, attending college, let alone obtaining a degree, feels daunting and out of reach, especially for first generation college goers and non-traditional students. In addition, many students who attend college, often find it difficult to manage school and working part-time and/or have trouble affording the high cost of earning a college degree in four years. This can lead to students dropping out of college or not matriculating in a timely manner. These students often find themselves in debt, but without a degree they lack the ability to to benefit from the higher earning potential that often accompanies a college degree.Read more
Today's economy favors those with college degrees and has been unforgiving to those without. Of the 7.2 million jobs lost in the recession, nearly 80% required only a high school diploma. Conversely, 99% of the jobs created post-recession went to workers with a college education. Our best projections tell us the gap between workers' skills and employers' demands will grow.
In Washington, less than half of working adults hold a two- or four-year college degree, while almost 70% of our state's job openings in the next seven years will require a postsecondary credential. However, for many working adults, college is a long, expensive commitment incompatible with family needs, the constraints of an inflexible work schedule, and a tight budget.Read more
In many cities across the country, the zip code you’re born in is the most predictive factor in the health, wealth, and life outcomes you can expect. This uneven playing field can manifests in your ability to attend college and lifetime earnings. Lack of access to post-secondary training decreases the likelihood of attaining a good-paying job and supporting a family. Even after receive advanced training, the debt incurred may keep prosperity out of reach. Young people from lower-income families have an especially difficult time saving for college, because the financial status of the family may not lend itself to supporting their education. The price of admission reinforces the barriers that young people face in exiting poverty.Read more
With so many technological advances, the needs of the workforce are constantly changing. It is imperative that our student's education caters to those needs and students have the skills to thrive outside of the classroom. Many companies have to look outside of the state to fill high-level jobs in the field of engineering and cyber technology because that has not been the focus of the curriculum in Alabama. If we want to develop a workforce skilled at creating new technology with strong cyber networks that can’t be comprised, we must teach those skills and invest in the next generation of innovators from an early age.Read more