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Millions of unemployed Americans need to upgrade their skills, fast.

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Filed: Country: Philippines
Timeline

By Jamie P. Merisotis and Stan Jones

(excerpt)

drop-C.gifommunity colleges have been getting a great deal of attention lately, especially from the Obama administration, and for understandable reasons. At a time of soaring higher education costs, community colleges (average annual tuition: $2,361) are a relatively inexpensive means of providing large numbers of Americans with the higher skills they and the economy need. Community colleges are open to everybody and have done a wonderful job helping many Americans of humble backgrounds (including Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks, actor-director Clint Eastwood, Costco CEO Jim Sinegal, and newscaster Jim Lehrer) get an education. They also serve a diverse population. If you are a retiree interested in taking a creative-writing class, an immigrant wanting to improve your English, or a recent high school graduate looking to garner college credits inexpensively before transferring to a four-year institution, community college is the place for you. If you're out of work, however, it may not be, for a simple but vexing reason: time. The unemployed need to earn a degree quickly, so they can get back into the workforce. But speed is not the defining quality of most higher education institutions, including community colleges. It takes the average community college student five years to complete a two-year associate's degree, and four years to earn a one-year certificate.

Why the molasses-like pace? Part of the reason is that many students—especially recent high school graduates but also a fair number of adults—begin community college with such academic skill deficits that they have to take remedial classes before beginning their college-level coursework. A bigger reason, however, is that most colleges and universities, community colleges included, see themselves as academic institutions first and workforce-training centers second, and they structure their curricula accordingly. Even community college students headed for job-oriented degrees—in, say, landscape technology—must pass an array of general education courses in math, English, science, and the humanities. These courses are vitally important in providing students, especially recent high school graduates, with the critical thinking and communication skills they'll need to succeed in today's demanding economy. But they don't necessarily make sense for the many recently unemployed adults who have already developed such skills during their years in the workplace. Community colleges also typically schedule their courses at the sort of times—Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:40 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; Wednesdays from 6 to 10 p.m.—that make it extremely difficult to amass the right credits in the right sequence to graduate on time—especially if you're unemployed and have children or other adult responsibilities.

The longer it takes to get a degree, the fewer people get one, notes education and training consultant Brian Bosworth, because students lose heart and "life intervenes." Not surprisingly, completion rates are even lower in community colleges than they are in four-year colleges. Nationwide, only 23 percent of full-time community college students graduate in three years or less. Community colleges point out, rightly, that this figure doesn't fully reflect their success rates; if you measure over six years and count students who transfer to and later graduate from four-year schools without receiving a community college degree, then community college graduation rates are closer to 40 percent. That's a more impressive figure, to be sure, but still not stellar.

Those who do manage to earn one- or two-year degrees are usually in a much better position to get a job—but how much better is hard to say, because few states require community colleges to track the career paths of their graduates, even though the data are available. Nor do community colleges do much to help their graduates find employment. "At community colleges you don't generally have people whose job it is to place students," says Davis Jenkins of the Community College Research Center at Columbia University's Teachers College.

With odds like these, it's natural that many unemployed people turn to for-profit schools like ITT Technical Institute, Bryant & Stratton College, or the University of Phoenix. These institutions heavily market their ability to do what community colleges don't: help students get degrees quickly and place them in good jobs. And they are better organized to deliver on that promise. Typically, for-profit schools use "block scheduling," in which students take only one or two classes at a time before moving on to the next block. Classes are usually held at regular and consistent hours—say, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day—making it possible for students juggling families and part-time jobs to build their schedules around their schoolwork. And the academics tend to be integrated into the job-oriented curricula. For instance, if you're working toward a licensed practical nursing degree, you won't be required to first pass an algebra course. Instead, instructors teach you the specific equations you'll need to know to pass your state licensing exam and to work in the field. Designing the curricula this way boosts the chances that students will succeed. Graduation rates for one- and two-year degree programs at for-profit colleges are 56 percent, substantially higher than at community colleges.

But there are problems with some of these schools, beginning with price. The average tuition at a for-profit college is about $14,000 annually, nearly six times more than at community colleges, and some charge as much as $25,000 a year. Students attending these schools often tap out their available government grants and loans. Some even wind up taking out private loans with double-digit interest rates and stiff terms. And while the best trade schools provide a solid education and help students graduate quickly and find decent jobs, the worst offer subpar training and have terrible graduation and job placement records.

drop-W.gif hat the unemployed really need are public institutions that combine the best qualities of both types of schools: the low cost and public mission of community colleges, and the quicker-to-graduation curricula and job-placement focus of the best proprietary schools. A handful of education systems around the country—in Ohio, Wisconsin, New York, and Washington State, for example—have attempted to build such programs. The most successful may be in Tennessee.

Whereas community colleges in most states offer both one-year certificate and two-year degree programs, Tennessee split these functions into different institutions when creating its community college system back in the 1960s. As a result, the state operates thirteen academically oriented community colleges as well as a separate system of twenty-seven Technology Centers. These Tech Centers specialize in one-year certifications in high-demand fields like accounting, diesel-powered equipment, computer networking, drafting and CAD technology, industrial electricity, licensed practical nursing, and dental assisting. Students pay about the same tuition—around $2,400 per year—as do Tennessee's community college students (tuition covers about 30 percent of the cost of the training at the Tech Centers; the state picks up the rest). But in terms of how they structure and deliver an education, the Tech Centers more closely resemble for-profit trade schools. Academic lessons are woven into the instruction rather than taught in separate courses. Classes are scheduled in blocks and at convenient hours, and students move through them as a group, increasing the chances that they will learn from each other (a phenomenon known to education experts as the "cohort effect"). The Tech Centers also offer rotations and apprenticeships for their students with employers in the state, and a data system that tracks where and when students land their first jobs and at what starting salary level—information that helps the school fine-tune its courses to make sure the skills they are teaching are the ones the market actually needs.

The results are impressive. About 75 percent of students who enroll at Tech Centers graduate, and 83 percent of those graduates get jobs in their fields of study and are still in those jobs a year later. Tech Centers, in other words, outperform most for-profit schools, and do so at a fraction of the cost.

drop-I.gif f such schools can operate throughout an entire state, there's no reason that they can't do so throughout the country. And there are actions Washington can take now to encourage more states to follow Tennessee's lead. Buried in the recently passed health care reconciliation bill is $2 billion for a grant program for community colleges, over which the Obama administration enjoys considerable discretion. The president should announce that in distributing these grants, his administration will give priority to community colleges that reengineer their one- and two-year degree programs to stress timely graduation, job placement, and tracking the careers of those who graduate. A great deal of reform can be leveraged through this approach, as the administration has shown in its Race to the Top program, which applies similar tactics to K–12 education. The leaders of several large community college systems have told us that with proper funding they can have accelerated degree programs up and running in six months. This means, we estimate, that hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans could be enrolled in such programs within two years.

http://www.washingto...otis-jones.html

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So you think that will solve it hey? Nothing to do with illegals, just the case of Americans not being skilled enough hey..


According to the Internal Revenue Service, the 400 richest American households earned a total of $US138 billion, up from $US105 billion a year earlier. That's an average of $US345 million each, on which they paid a tax rate of just 16.6 per cent.

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Filed: AOS (pnd) Country: Canada
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Has more to do with unskilled jobs requiring skilled workers...

On the job training has gone out the window.... It's utterly ridiculous.


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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Syria
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Yeah sure. Let's all run out and pay that tuition to get a college degree only to find out there is no jobs or the one you get is $10 per hour and you got all those loans to pay off.

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Brazil
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Yeah sure. Let's all run out and pay that tuition to get a college degree only to find out there is no jobs or the one you get is $10 per hour and you got all those loans to pay off.

:thumbs:


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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: China
Timeline

Most of these kids brains are scrambled. http://www.eagleforum.org/psr/2009/jan09/psrjan09.html

Ayers enrolled in Columbia Teachers College, where he picked up a Ph.D., and emerged as a Professor of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He launched a new career, directing his revolutionary energy into changing classroom curricula instead of setting bombs.

Ayers's political views are as radical now as they were in the 1970s. "Viva President Chavez!" he exclaimed in a speech in Venezuela in 2006, in which he also declared, "Education is the motor-force of revolution."

Ayers has been on a decades-long mission to transform education into anti-American indoctrination and to get young people to demand that government control the economy, politics and culture. We see the result in 2008 post-election surveys: seven out of every ten voters between the ages of 18 and 29 now favor expanding the role of government, and agree that the government should do more to solve the nation's problems. It's obvious which party and which candidates will get their vote.

One might assume that Ayers's peculiar resumé would put him on the outer fringe of the leftwing education establishment. However, Ayers developed quite a following as he taught resentment against America. In 2008 he was elected by his peers as vice president for curriculum of the American Education Research Association, the nation's largest organization of education professors and researchers.

How can anyone get a job working for a large corporation after they have attended 4 years of being taught that "capitalism" and large business is just so "bad".


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The liberal elite ... know that the people simply cannot be trusted; that they are incapable of just and fair self-government; that left to their own devices, their society will be racist, sexist, homophobic, and inequitable -- and the liberal elite know how to fix things. They are going to help us live the good and just life, even if they have to lie to us and force us to do it. And they detest those who stand in their way."
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Filed: Country: Philippines
Timeline

Most of these kids brains are scrambled. http://www.eagleforu...9/psrjan09.html

Ayers enrolled in Columbia Teachers College, where he picked up a Ph.D., and emerged as a Professor of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He launched a new career, directing his revolutionary energy into changing classroom curricula instead of setting bombs.

Do you realize how many millions of people have college degrees and were never radical? What an absurd proposition. The OP, if you read it, had to do with training people for jobs.

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