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What's Got MDC Buzzing?

What's Got MDC Buzzing?

Here it is: the final links post of 2012! We've got big plans for the MDC blog and plan to hit the ground running in 2013, so be sure to check back with us in January. As for the "What's Got MDC Buzzing?" weekly web runs, be on the look out for our 2012 roundup, featuring the year's biggest news stories in assets, education, and employment.

This week, the New York Times reported on another punch in the gut from the financial collapse:

“… tens of thousands of underemployed and jobless young people, many with college credits or work histories, are struggling to house themselves in the wake of the recession.”

Even with signs of recovery, young people ages 18-24 still have the highest unemployment rate among all adults. Lack of affordable housing options and limited options in homeless shelters makes the situation even more bleak. The United States Interagency Council of Homelessness has launched Youth Count in nine cities, taking the first steps to a more accurate count of homeless youth. Knowing the scope of the issue will, ideally, lead to more effective solutions to connect these youth with resources, employment, and secure homes.

Although those kids looking for shelter aren’t seeing the returns, national data still suggest that—in the long run—having a college degree sets individuals up for higher lifetime earnings. Using the UNC system as her backdrop, Maxine Eichner lifts up a few other arguments for higher education, arguments that have nothing to do with economics and everything to do with a vibrant democracy and civil society. Our challenge: making these intangible benefits accessible to more people—especially when there are so many with tangible needs that make it nearly impossible to devote energy to such pursuits. (See above NYT article.)

Two new reports from the Community College Research Center dig into what it takes for community colleges to build a culture of evidence focused on student success and the I-BEST way to connect basic skills learning to technical training. (This one includes a cost-benefit analysis!) A college approach that helps students see where they’re headed from their first day on campus, and one that includes a structure that supports students all along that path could move us a long way toward a postsecondary world that delivers the economic and civic virtues discussed above.

This 60 Minutes piece looks at a new transitional employment program in Connecticut—Platform to Employment—focused on the long-term unemployed. With classes that help participants deal with some of the psychological fall out of being out of work for a long stretch and a subsidized internship at a company that’s hiring, participants are getting back on their feet and back into the workplace. That’s a start—and (we hope) a model for other state workforce systems.

Happy holidays from MDC!