Job Seeker Blog

7 lessons for saving money while you’re in college

College can be expensive, even apart from the high tuition bills. You’ll need money for food, books, activities, transportation and other essentials. Follow these steps to make college affordable without giving up any of the benefits of attending a university.
Controlling your spending in college can require some creative thinking, but it is an attainable goal. Taking as many steps as you can to save money will help you manage your budget, and you may even be able to put some savings aside. With discipline and desire, it is possible to get an education without going broke.

College can be expensive, even apart from the high tuition bills. You’ll need money for food, books, activities, transportation and other essentials. Follow these steps to make college affordable without giving up any of the benefits of attending a university.
1. Limit the fast food visits

If you’re living on campus, chances are you’ve got a meal plan that allows you to eat at the dining hall. Because you’ve already paid for your meals, don’t let that money go to waste. Eating on campus instead of going to restaurants can save you lots of money in the long run. Stock up on snacks like fruit, nuts, granola bars and trail mix so that when you’re looking for a late-night snack you won’t be tempted to order out. If you live off campus or have a limited meal plan, learn how to cook. It can really pay off. Not only will it save you money, but it is also a valuable life skill that can serve you well long after graduation.

2. Avoid the shiny new textbooks

You may love the look and feel of a brand new book, but a new textbook carries a steep sticker price. Instead of splurging on new books, scour used book sales and shop online retailers to find used books available at a fraction of the cost. Still want to cut down on the high cost of books? Borrow from a friend or see if you can check the books you need out from the library.

3. Choose credit cards wisely

Overspending on credit cards is easy to do but can get you in trouble fast. Remember: If you don’t have money for the charges you rack up today, you’ll have to pay for them with tomorrow’s earnings. If you do decide to get a credit card, make sure to compare benefits and interest rates, and pay off the balance in full each month. If the balance accrues, the interest penalties can be significant. The key to using a credit card is to treat it like cash and spend only what you can afford.

4. Buy a coffee maker

If you’re a caffeine addict, a coffee maker is one purchase you should make. A daily visit to the coffee shop quickly adds up. An inexpensive coffee machine will pay for itself in no time, and if you want to make the purchase go even further, share the coffee maker with a roommate or friend and split the cost.

5. Ditch the cable subscription

Cable is expensive, and as a student you should ask yourself how much time you’re really going to spend watching TV. Chances are, the high cost of cable just isn’t worth it. Instead, opt for an online streaming subscription to watch your favorite shows.

6. Ask about student discounts

Many restaurants, retailers and vendors offer discounts to anyone with a student ID. It can’t hurt to ask if discounts are available before making a purchase. Plus, taking advantage of discounts at places like museums or theaters can be a great way to enjoy low-cost entertainment.

7. Sell your car

If you’re making car payments and don’t absolutely need a car on campus, consider selling your vehicle. Even if your car is paid off, you’ll have to pay for gas, insurance, parking and maintenance fees, all of which can really add up. Instead, utilize public transportation (or a friend with a car) to get where you need to go.

Controlling your spending in college can require some creative thinking, but it is an attainable goal. Taking as many steps as you can to save money will help you manage your budget, and you may even be able to put some savings aside. With discipline and desire, it is possible to get an education without going broke.

Full article here.

posted in: Blogging, California, Florida, Georgia, Graduation, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, News, North Carolina, Personal, Wisconsin

Americans with disabilities still can’t land jobs

Before the Americans with Disabilities Act, the country was a very different place for people with disabilities, who had to navigate hurdles such as inaccessible public buildings. Yet when it comes to the workforce, the hurdles may not look much different than they did 27 years ago.

The share of adults with disabilities who are working by some measures hasn’t improved since the ADA was passed in July 1990. When the law was signed, about half of disabled Americans were employed, a share that declined to 41 percent by 2010, according to Census data.

Before the Americans with Disabilities Act, the country was a very different place for people with disabilities, who had to navigate hurdles such as inaccessible public buildings. Yet when it comes to the workforce, the hurdles may not look much different than they did 27 years ago.

The share of adults with disabilities who are working by some measures hasn’t improved since the ADA was passed in July 1990. When the law was signed, about half of disabled Americans were employed, a share that declined to 41 percent by 2010, according to Census data.

Ironically, some economists suggest the ADA may have made it less likely for employers to hire people with disabilities because of the costs they might incur for providing accommodations. Yet disability advocates point out that Americans with disabilities face a host of complex issues such as stigmas, typically lower education rates and higher rates of poverty, which add to the difficulties of finding a job while disabled.

Full article here.

posted in: Blogging, California, Diversity, EmployerNews, Florida, Georgia, Graduation, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, News, North Carolina, Personal, Wisconsin

Want a job when you graduate? Major in these areas

Until college graduation, students spend their whole lives preparing for one thing: a job.

Fortunately, unemployment among college graduates has been on the decline in the last decade, but many graduates still struggle to find well-paying jobs to start their new lives in the workforce.

College graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher are currently facing an unemployment rate of only 2.4 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compare that to the average unemployment rate of the working population of the U.S., which is almost twice that, at 4.4 percent — clearly, getting a degree makes you more marketable.

Until college graduation, students spend their whole lives preparing for one thing: a job.

Fortunately, unemployment among college graduates has been on the decline in the last decade, but many graduates still struggle to find well-paying jobs to start their new lives in the workforce.

College graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher are currently facing an unemployment rate of only 2.4 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compare that to the average unemployment rate of the working population of the U.S., which is almost twice that, at 4.4 percent — clearly, getting a degree makes you more marketable.

Full article here.

posted in: Blogging, California, Diversity, EmployerNews, Florida, Georgia, Graduation, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, News, North Carolina, Personal, Wisconsin

The 9 most in-demand jobs that pay more than $100,000

A six-figure job is often seen as the hallmark of success, but how difficult is it to find one?

Workers in certain high-paying professions are likely to face a tougher time securing a job, based on a combination of demand, skills and industry trends. Many of the six-figure jobs that are in most demand don’t require advanced degrees, which may also explain their appeal to job-seekers, according to a new survey from Glassdoor.

A six-figure job is often seen as the hallmark of success, but how difficult is it to find one?

Workers in certain high-paying professions are likely to face a tougher time securing a job, based on a combination of demand, skills and industry trends. Many of the six-figure jobs that are in most demand don’t require advanced degrees, which may also explain their appeal to job-seekers, according to a new survey from Glassdoor.

Prospective employees in these professions should put extra time into their job search, resumes and interview prep to make sure they stand out, the employment site said. Given that median income for U.S. households stands at slightly more than $56,000, scoring a job that pays almost twice that level can be provide a significant income bump. While they may not require graduate degrees, these occupations generally require training and special skills.

The most in-demand, high-paying jobs “can attract people with an undergraduate degree and relevant work experience, which is a much bigger pool of people, in most cases, than those holding a specific advanced degree,” said Scott Dobroski, community expert at Glassdoor.

He added, “In other words, if there is high competition for an open role, this translates into more people hitting that apply button online, which means it will be harder for job-seekers to get the attention of a hiring manager and potentially score an interview.”Full article here.

posted in: Blogging, California, Diversity, EmployerNews, Florida, Georgia, Graduation, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, News, North Carolina, Personal, Wisconsin

Compare Nonprofit, For-Profit Online Degree Programs

While there’s still a stigma against for-profits, the quality of education varies widely within the sector, experts say.

To some students, a for-profit online degree program seems like a risky option.

“I’ve seen a lot of reports for a lot of years about how for-profit schools have pretty much based their incomes on the ability for students to get federal financial aid,” says 30-year-old Matt Warner, a cybersecurity and information assurance master’s student at the nonprofit, online Western Governors University.

Though he’s personally hesitant about for-profits, he suggests prospective students focus more on factors such as cost and the degrees offered.

For California resident Carlos Ramirez, enrolling in an online doctoral program in health administration at the for-profit University of Phoenix was a no-brainer. Ramirez previously earned his bachelor’s and master’s at the school and was satisfied with its flexibility and student support.

Experts say in online education, a school’s classification as a for-profit versus nonprofit tells prospective online students little about overall quality.

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“I think it’s less about the sector and more on how attentive the institution is to meeting the needs of students, to understanding best practices, to preparing their faculty for this robust learning experience,” says Karen Pedersen, chief knowledge officer for the Online Learning Consortium, an organization aiming to improve online higher education.

For-profit institutions have faced criticism in recent years for questionable recruitment practices, low graduation rates and high student debt. Though employers today are becoming more receptive to accepting candidates with for-profit, online degrees, there’s still a stigma around them, experts say.

[Discover how employers view for-profit online bachelor’s degrees.]

“It’s a distinction that has gotten a lot of press over the last many years, and I’m not sure that it’s warranted,” says Betty Vandenbosch, president of the for-profit Kaplan University, which delivers many degrees online.

When for-profit online degree programs started becoming more prevalent around 1999, they accepted almost anybody who applied, including those who weren’t sufficiently prepared for college, says Kathleen Ives, OLC’s CEO and executive director, who has served as faculty for both for-profits and nonprofits. That, she says, contributed to low graduation rates and high debt for those who dropped out.

That initial focus primarily on corporate profits “has tainted much of the for-profit sector. And not fairly, because the for-profit institutions are just as diverse as the nonprofit institutions,” says David Schejbal, dean of continuing education, outreach and e-learning at the University of Wisconsin—Extension, which coordinates continuing education and online programs across 26 statewide campuses.

Read full article here.

posted in: Blogging, California, Diversity, EmployerNews, Florida, Georgia, Graduation, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, News, North Carolina, Personal, Wisconsin

What it takes to close the skills gap

One of the most unforgettable economic policy statements I ever heard came from a presidential candidate in the early 1990s who explained that we had lots of people who needed work, and lots of work that needed to be done, and that we ought to get those two problems on the same page.

And so it is with the “skills gap” and the “equity gap” in Minnesota.

On one hand, we have Minnesota employers routinely reporting that they can’t fill job openings because they can’t find people with the right skills for those positions.

On the other hand, we know that for communities of color and for both young and old who live in low-income neighborhoods and regions, unemployment rates are obscenely higher than for the rest of the state.

Workforce development strategies aimed more precisely at closing those two gaps simultaneously — training and educating those workers most in need of jobs to fill specific job openings — make the most sense as we drive to reduce unemployment and increase economic growth in Minnesota.
Plenty of models

Lots of models for linking workforce development to targeted local economic development are popping up in Minnesota and around the country. And one of the best lessons from the recent past is offered in a policy brief published this week and authored by Mike Christenson, a Growth & Justice policy fellow and former director of community planning and economic development under Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. Christenson now is associate vice president of workforce development at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

Christenson tells the story, in his own voice, of a comeback for the Phillips neighborhood in Minneapolis, roughly bounded by Interstate 35W, Hiawatha Avenue, Lake Street and Interstate 94.

By the mid 1990s, the neighborhood’s vital signs — crime rates, job losses, physical decline of housing and infrastructure — were trending down in an all-too-familiar story of American urban decline.

Over the next 10 years, a rather remarkable response by corporate and community leaders and ordinary folks in the neighborhood helped turn Phillips around and achieve encouraging results in employment and crime reduction.
Job training was central

And as Christenson tells it, job training was a central facet of the targeted strategy, right next to the bull’s-eye issue of public safety. At the outset of the effort, Christenson headed the Allina Foundation, which located their new headquarters in Phillips neighborhood, near Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

Concerned about crime and other challenges in the neighborhood, corporate leaders of local employers such as the Allina Health System and Honeywell joined with local elected officials, and a new public-private partnership was born. Christenson said those leaders identified jobs, housing and infrastructure as targets, along with public safety. It became clear that a local job-training effort would benefit the neighborhood’s residents and help solve the labor shortage Allina was experiencing.

Despite a large number of people in the neighborhood needing work, Allina was using a temp agency and bringing employees in from North Dakota and as far away as the Philippines to fill a huge number of vacancies — as many as 1,800 on one day in 1999.

All the local human capital needed was a little training for entry-level health care positions in food and environmental services, from which they could progress to becoming certified nursing assistants, medical technicians and even to more skilled medical vocations.

“Intuitively, I believed a job would provide a significant boost,” Christenson writes. “What could more effectively treat a child’s asthma than transition from unemployment to a hospital job for the parent? What other intervention would anchor homeownership, provide health insurance, and foster hope and ambition in struggling households?”
Training neighbors

Through the Train to Work program launched for this initiative, neighborhood residents received training in job readiness, workplace expectations and life management skills to meet the entry-level staffing needs of Abbott Northwestern hospital and other health care facilities. The program still exists today, run by Project for Pride in Living, one of the state’s most effective nonprofits. Train to Work offers employment training, internships and support. And since 1997, the program has produced more than 1,000 graduates and over 700 job placements, according to the Phillips Partnership website.

Job training also came from a new partnership between Allina and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system. A new Health Careers Institute opened by the Minneapolis Community and Technical College provided more career-oriented job training for neighborhood residents and more skilled employees for the health care sector.

Christenson’s brief (available at growthandjustice.org) offers 10 lessons for advancing the public-private partnerships it takes to get such turnarounds moving. And he concludes that “a public-private partnership delivered where no single organization or sector had succeeded before. … In today’s urban American, perhaps nothing else works.”
Good signs

Plenty of positive signs abound that some of Minnesota’s newest leaders, and a few more experienced hands such as St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, are fully engaged in getting the skills gap on the same page as the equity gap.

Star Tribune editorial columnist Lori Sturdevant wrote a compelling op-ed about the public-private partnership launched recently by MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone. That Workforce Assessment Initiative is perhaps the most ambitious statewide effort ever to ascertain specific workforce training needs from the private sector and then to systematically deliver the trained workers needed. Two other leaders new to their posts, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and Office of Higher Education Director Larry Pogemiller, are already involved in that effort.

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posted in: Blogging, EmployerNews, Minnesota, News

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