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Character’s Content

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Every year large percentages of American elementary school students fail to learn basic math skills like how to add fractions with unlike denominators. The situation is even worse among students from the poorest American neighborhoods, despite the fact that from fourth grade on their teachers drill them in these simple steps: find a common denominator; add the numerators; reduce. There are many explanations for why such a simple procedure proves to be so hard to convey. Reformers and policymakers point to sub par teachers and inadequate principals; to single-parenthood and other demograph…

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Dept. of Labor Announces $100 Million TechHire Competition

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While everyone looks to Silicon Valley and its tech startups for the next unicorn to generate huge amounts of wealth, there is considerable competition for talent with the right skills. With the immigration debate stuck in neutral, there are hundreds of thousands of tech jobs throughout the U.S. that are currently unfilled in rapidly growing sectors.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration announced a $100 Million TechHire grant competition designed to provide individuals with the skills they need and connect them to those high-growth jobs across a diversity of H-1B industries…

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Haves, have-nots in Jackson County further apart than ever

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The divide between the haves and have-nots is growing wider, threatening the long-term economic vitality of Jackson County and Oregon as a whole, a new study shows.
Top earners in Jackson County are making 13 times more than the lowest wage earners, a figure that’s been steadily rising in the past 10 years. Elite earners receive $1.63 to every $1 received by the county’s working poor, the study says.
“We are at a critical point in our economic history where inequality is recognized as a problem,” says Bruce Weber, director of Oregon State University’s Rural Studies Program…

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Oregon Receives $3 million Grant to Boost Manufacturing Apprenticeships

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The U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (USDOL-ETA), has awarded a $3 million grant to the Oregon Employment (OED) Department to help promote apprenticeship and workbased learning opportunities. “At a time when many of our most highly skilled manufacturing workers are retiring, this grant will help us expand apprenticeship and work-based learning. You can‘t beat having employers directly responsible for the programs, supported by education and social services,” said OED Director Lisa Nisenfeld.

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Assessing The Investment In College

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Let’s talk about the biggest investment you’ll make in your lifetime.

And no, it’s not your home, though that is a big one. Your choice of college–for yourself or your kids–is a huge investment in the future, but just a bit more difficult to measure.

Peter Cappelli at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania provides some perspective on making the decision, and what it’ll cost you.

He joins us with some of the major points.

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Employers Report More Than 50,000 Job Vacancies in the Spring

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Oregon businesses reported 53,300 job vacancies in spring 2015. That’s the largest number of vacancies ever captured by the Oregon Job Vacancy Survey, and an increase of 6,400 vacancies from the prior year. The growing number of vacancies reflects continued strength in Oregon’s labor market.

The ratio of unemployed Oregonians to vacancies dropped to 2-to-1 in the spring. This ratio is consistent with a strong economy: Oregon last saw an unemployed-to-vacancy ratio this low in spring 2008.

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Why getting a college degree doesn’t always pay off

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Today college is seen as crucial for career success and prosperity. “Will College Pay Off?” is a new book by Peter Cappelli, and the answer, he suggests, is that it depends — on the price tag, how fast a student finishes and what job they get afterwards. Economics correspondent Paul Solman talks to Cappelli about finding an educational path that makes financial sense.

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Here’s What Will Truly Change Higher Education: Online Degrees That Are Seen as Official

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Over the course of a few months in early 2012, leading scientists from Harvard, Stanford and M.I.T. started three companies to provide Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, to anyone in the world with an Internet connection. The courses were free. Millions of students signed up. Pundits called it a revolution.

But today, enrollment in traditional colleges remains robust, and undergraduates are paying higher tuition and taking out larger loans than ever before….

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How job training is being reinvented for the 21st century

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A highly trained workforce is a public good, crucial not only to the prosperity of workers themselves, but also to the strength of the entire economy. And, as with most public goods, the United States has been underinvesting in it for decades, leaving many American workers without the skills they need to get well-paying jobs.

Fortunately, there are signs of improvement. As the American labor market tightens and a growing chorus of companies complains that they cannot find skilled workers, innovative partnerships between governments, employers, and educational institutions are beginning to fill the void.

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