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College and Career Readiness through Blended Learning

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workplace skills

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Dear Friend of JFYNetWorks,

You may remember a young man named Joey whom we have featured before. Joey was a pleasant, affable high school student with a winning smile and a low opinion of himself. “I want to go to college,” he said, “but I’m not sure I can do it. There’s too much to learn. How am I ever going to make it?” We have recounted how we helped Joey work his way through our College Readiness course by showing him the periodic reports that documented how much he had achieved and how much closer he was to the goal. Our blended learning specialist, Melissa, even counted the number of software modules he had to complete and checked them off as he did them. By the end of the year, he had learned enough to pass the college placement test. In the fall, he was admitted to community college without having to take any remedial courses. We’ll never forget his charmingly modest expression of triumph to Melissa: “I got this, Miss.”

Labor shortage continues. 99% of jobs go to college graduates

Labor Shortage Continues

99% of Jobs Go to College Graduates

by Gary Kaplan, JFYNetWorks Executive Director

“There are no jobs for high school diplomas.”

The May jobs report reiterates a theme we have been hearing with increasing urgency: the shortage of skilled labor. The current 4.3% unemployment rate is a 16-year low. That means there are very few unattached workers available at a time when job openings are near all-time highs. For employers who can’t find qualified workers it means foregoing opportunities for expansion. For the economy at large it means slower growth. But it’s not just a quantitative problem, it’s also qualitative: there aren’t enough workers with the specific skills employers need. The wide range and varied dimensions of the skills shortage are indicated by a survey of Saturday’s newspaper reports.

by Gary Kaplan, JFYNetWorks Executive Director

The need for a higher-skilled workforce is real.

by Gary Kaplan, JFYNetWorks Executive Director

The March state employment report (released in late April) focuses on two concerns: weak job growth and a shortage of skilled workers. Job growth waxes and wanes from month to month, but the skilled worker shortage has been a constant refrain for years. The Federal Reserve regional summary (the Beige Book) for April seconds the call for more workers at every skill level.

Workplace skills then and now: The Lesson of Inland Steel

Workplace Skills Then and Now: The Lesson of Inland Steel

by Gary Kaplan

“Sorry, son, we can’t hire you. You’re overqualified.”

Thus ended my career as a steelworker. The place was Inland Steel in East Chicago, Indiana. The time was the 1970s. I was looking for an interim job while I plotted my next career move. I thought that working in a steel mill would be educational, in addition to bringing in some serious, and seriously needed, cash.

I had grown up in the Calumet Region of Northwest Indiana, one of the world’s largest concentrations of heavy industry. Steel mills and oil refineries were the landscape of my childhood. Many of my high school classmates had gone directly to work at Inland, Youngstown, US Steel or Standard Oil and were well on their way to owning a house, a car, a cabin in Michigan, a boat, and eventually a union pension. Though I had been around the mills my whole life, I had never been inside them. I thought it was time I found out how America’s industrial might was created.