Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wisconsin leads nation in job loss

‎Ten months after Governor Walker's Special Legislative Session on jobs that resulted in more than 100 million in corporate tax breaks, Wisconsin lost more jobs than any state in the nation according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Tuesday.

The bureau said Wisconsin was the only state in the nation with a statistically significant decline in employment, dropping from 2,757,200 jobs in September to 2,747,500 jobs

Where are the jobs?

In Illinois, ridiculed by Walker for raising taxes, created the most jobs in the nation.

Governor Walker, Where are the jobs?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

For-profit college CEO resigns over flawed placement rates

The Career Education Corporation's CEO has resigned after an outside investigation found "improper" practices in the for-profit company's determination of job placement rates.

The Career Education Corporation operates over eighty campuses including Sanford-Brown University and Sanford Brown Institutes enrolling 116,000 students.  

The company's third quarter report to investors to the Securities and Exchange Commission said that the review by an outside law firm the to investors disclosed that some of Career Education's health education and art and design schools failed to provide documentation to back up job placements, and that 13 of its 49 schools in those fields had failed to meet the placement rate requirements of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.
While a news release did not specifically say so, it appeared that those developments had prompted the resignation of Gary E. McCullough as president and chief executive.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Two-year college students blocked from enrolling

Colleges and universities are experiencing unprecedented cuts in public funding.

In Wisconsin Governor Walker's budget slashed technical college funding by 30% for each of the next two years. As a result, technical college state funding has returned to a level not seen since the 1980s. The state's investment in the Milwaukee Area Technical College, the Wisconsin Technical College Systems' (WTCS) flagship institution with more than 50,000 students,  has dwindled to a measly 7% of total funding. The state's contribution is suppose to be 33%..

At the same time the University of Wisconsin system was cut by $250 million and more cuts are being contemplated.

Across the country similar draconian cuts are undermining access to higher education as colleges and universities cut back on classes and sections and increase tuition to make up for the loss of state funding. The cuts are also undermining the ability of two-year colleges like MATC to address the skills gap by training the  the next generation of skilled and technical workers at the very time that large numbers of veterans and dislocated workers are enrolling to acquire new skills of upgrade existing ones.

The Latest issue of the Chronicle on Higher Education reports:

A weak job market has brought a wave of applicants to community colleges in search of job training, but those same students are finding it difficult to gain access to courses they need, says a report released Thursday.

Nearly four in 10 community-college students responding to a national survey commissioned by the Pearson Foundation said they were unable to enroll in at least one class they wanted this fall, and 20 percent said they had trouble enrolling in the courses they needed to complete their degree or certificate.
Students who had the most difficulty with course enrollment were those attending part time and taking remedial courses.

Pearson's first survey of community-college students, conducted last year, found similar results, with one in five students feeling squeezed out of classes they needed.

The Chronicle of Higher Ed article is linked here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Putting Millionaires Before Jobs

New York Times editorial
November 3, 2011

There’s nothing partisan about a road or a bridge or an airport; Democrats and Republicans have voted to spend billions on them for decades and long supported rebuilding plans in their own states. On Thursday, though, when President Obama’s plan to spend $60 billion on infrastructure repairs came up for a vote in the Senate, not a single Republican agreed to break the party’s filibuster.

That’s because the bill would pay for itself with a 0.7 percent surtax on people making more than $1 million. That would affect about 345,000 taxpayers, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, adding an average of $13,457 to their annual tax bills. Protecting that elite group — and hewing to their rigid antitax vows — was more important to Senate Republicans than the thousands of construction jobs the bill would have helped create, or the millions of people who would have used the rebuilt roads, bridges and airports.

Senate Republicans filibustered the president’s full jobs act last month for the same reasons. And they have vowed to block the individual pieces of that bill that Democrats are now bringing to the floor. Senate Democrats have also accused them of opposing any good idea that might put people back to work and rev the economy a bit before next year’s presidential election.

There is no question that the infrastructure bill would be good for the flagging economy — and good for the country’s future development. It would directly spend $50 billion on roads, bridges, airports and mass transit systems, and it would then provide another $10 billion to an infrastructure bank to encourage private-sector investment in big public works projects.

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican of Texas, co-sponsored an infrastructure-bank bill in March, and other Republicans have supported similar efforts over the years. But the Republicans’ determination to stick to an antitax pledge clearly trumps even their own good ideas.

A competing Republican bill, which also failed on Thursday, was cobbled together in an attempt to make it appear as if the party has equally valid ideas on job creation and rebuilding. It would have extended the existing highway and public transportation financing for two years, paying for it with a $40 billion cut to other domestic programs. Republican senators also threw in a provision that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing new clean air rules. Only in the fevered dreams of corporate polluters could that help create jobs.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, bitterly accused Democrats of designing their infrastructure bill to fail by paying for it with a millionaire’s tax, as if his party’s intransigence was so indomitable that daring to challenge it is somehow underhanded.

The only good news is that the Democrats aren’t going to stop. There are many more jobs bills to come, including extension of unemployment insurance and the payroll-tax cut. If Republicans are so proud of blocking all progress, they will have to keep doing it over and over again, testing the patience of American voters.