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Job Outlook for Class of 2017 Grads

2016 graduatesEvery year the National Association of Colleges and Employers (naceweb.org) surveys companies to find out about their plans to hire new college graduates. The Job Outlook for 2017 grad report published last fall, showed that hiring for Class of 2017 grads in the fall expected has fallen 5.2 percent from 11 percent same time last year

On the surface, a 5.2 percent drop doesn’t sound like a desirable thing at all, but that figure can’t be seen as separate from the US’ current 4.4 percent unemployment rate. Right now the US is nearing what economists call ‘full employment’. This means the percentage of unemployed Americans isn’t expected to go up or down anytime soon. With a stabilized unemployment rate, businesses often have to increase wages in order to pay workers that are now getting harder to find. It’s about supply and demand.

This is good for new graduates because, despite the potential decrease in hiring, the report indicates that a number of employers who think that the job market is currently good for graduates is up almost 8 percent. Couple that with a high probability that wages will go up and 2017 isn’t looking as bad for a new grad. It’s good when finding employment doesn’t feel like a minefield, but new grads should remain aware of the serious competition for good jobs. Graduates with multiple internships, study abroad experiences, higher GPAs and campus leadership experiences will get hired first!

Article by Raz Robinson, journalist and freelance writer, based in New York City and Philadelphia. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, email at razrobinson9(at)gmail(dot)com, or follow on Twitter @razrobinson.

 

Posted in Employment Trends, First Year on the Job, Life After College, Life at Work, Millennials at Work, Uncategorized, What Employers Want, Work and Life | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Job Outlook for Class of 2017 Grads

Unemployment Hitting a Ten-Year Low at 4.4 Percent

It might be safe to say that this is one time in American history where unemployment hitting a ten-year low at 4.4 percent —even just on the surface— doesn’t provide many people with any real sense of relief.  While people are cautiously optimistic, new graduates have a lot to smile about in terms of the opportunities available in the job market.

shield-1020318_960_720This 4.4 percent is a far cry from numbers in the 2008 recession which saw an unemployment rate as high as 10 percent, April’s report has also indicated an addition of 211,000 jobs. Numbers like these are way off from the twilight of the Bush era (08-09) when the US was sometimes hemorrhaging a half million to close to a million jobs every month. Still, the transition of power between Barack Obama to Donald Trump represents the brief period in which it can be hard to establish who it is exactly that’s responsible for whatever employment gains we see in the US right now.

Are Trump and the month’s optimistic jobs report linked? Though the lion’s share of economists believe that the January’s jobs report was predicated entirely on the work of the Obama administration, that didn’t stop Trump from laying claim to them.  Job reports from February and March are on paper attributed to the Trump administration, but there seems to be some debate regarding just how much the optimistic ‘600,000’ jobs added is related to the state of the global ec170505093253-jobs-report-april-00002011-1024x576onomy versus Trump’s promise to deregulate and lower taxes.

In an article by CNN Money, Michael Arone, the chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors alluded to this when he said that increasing employment is tied way more to “a global growth trade than it is on the optimism regarding the Trump administration’s policies.” Even though the Democrats didn’t always have his back, the global economy currently being in a good place (a long term effort) might just have a lot more to do with Obama rather than the Trump related efforts.

Point being, what it is that Trump’s global and domestic economic policies will yield remains to be seen. Yes, the jobs report is optimistic, but the Trump administration’s economic policies haven’t sunk in enough for that optimism to outweigh fear of the damage a large scale political scandal, millions of people losing their health care will do or tough talk about isolationism.

Article by Raz Robinson, journalist and freelance writer, based in New York City and Philadelphia. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, email at razrobinson9(at)gmail(dot)com, or follow on Twitter @razrobinson.

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The HBCU Collective Meeting Capitol Hill Law Makers

A group of alumni, students, and activists dubbed the “HBCU Collective” took to Washington last Thursday. The HBCU Collective met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to make sure they follow up on President Trump’s promise to increase support to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

In March, Trump tried to solidify his commitment to HBCU’s with one of the almost 80 executive orders he has issued since taking office. Despite whatever unknown effort the President has put into acting on the order, the HBCU Collective seems unconvinced that the Trump administration will follow through on its promises.  Their goal is to keep the pressure on.washington-dc-500525_960_720

Trump’s first meeting with HBCU presidents is being written off by many as an Omarosa Manigault operation for a political photo-op. That could sound a lot more valid when we consider that almost two months after visit, the administration has shown no interest in restoring Pell Grant programs or protect the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program — both of which were discussed at the March meeting. As of right now, the Pell Grant provides African American students with almost $4 billion worth of aid every year. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education went as far as to call it the “cornerstone” of black higher education.

Unlike many of her predecessors, Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos has next to no experience working in higher-ed, but her stance on public vs. charter school funding can be a gateway into understanding how she may or may not prioritize HBCU’s. DeVos has almost always seen competition as the answer to our struggling public school system — insisting that if there are more K-12 charter school options, the educational inequality exacerbated by their presence will just evaporate. The secretary maintains this position despite the fact that nearly 400,000 students in her home state of Michigan are stuck on charter school waiting lists while the public school system tailspins.

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When it comes to the public vs. charter debate, DeVos has always come down on the side that punishes the struggling but vital system. That being the case, there is really no reason why should the HBCU Collective would believe the administration will, on their own accord, follow through with any promise made in the executive order. Right now prestigious HBCU’s with a long history of producing graduates like Howard University and Cheyney University of Pennsylvania are still struggling in the post-recession economy, and the administration is talking about solutions. Despite the economic difficulties however faced by these schools,  surveys say that HBCU’s are still producing some of the most satisfied and successful graduates across the board. For example, the Department of Education statistics state that more today Howard University and Meharry Medical College still account for almost 20% of the degrees in medicine and dentistry to black students. 

The timing of the descent on Washington by the HBCU Collective was decent, as the trip to Washington came just a few days after the Congressional Black Caucus announced a summer tour to hopefully galvanize black students politically. Despite pressure placed on congress by the HBCU Collective, the question still remains, how much vital recovery time are HBCU’s still losing without more government support? Beyond lost time, the help would need to come from a Secretary of Education with no ideological inclination to give it — and simply put, no one has that long.

Article by Raz Robinson, journalist and freelance writer, based in New York City and Philadelphia. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, email at razrobinson9(at)gmail(dot)com, or follow on Twitter @razrobinson.

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New York City Steps Up For Equal Pay

As of Wednesday, it is officially illegal for any potential employer in New York City, to ask a prospective employee to disclose their previous salary information. Passed in an overwhelming 47 to 3 vote, one day after the annual Equal-Pay-Day, this bill says that New York City job seekers will no longer have to fear how to answer the dreaded salary question in the job interview.

Letitia James

Public Advocate Letitia James.

This is the second of two recent strides against income inequality made by Public Advocate, Letitia James. The first was made in August 2016, when James released a report that said women in New York City (nearly half of the workforce) made almost $6 billion less than their male counterparts in 2016.

While the scale of that number may come as a surprise to some, the notion that employers will often actively seek ways to pay employees less, shouldn’t really shock anybody.  This has just been a pattern that the data clearly confirms. Many believed the pay gap persisted because employers were able to request previous salary information, and would then make job offers based on previous wages rather than value for the work. As pointed out by Lisa Maatz, Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy at American Association of University Women (AAUW.org), “relying on salary history to set future pay assumes that prior salaries were fairly established.”

While women have long been a staple of the American workforce, conversations about equal pay for equal work have never been taken as seriously as they are now. Even as this legislation makes its way through the city council, Black women, for example, are still paid 66 cents for every dollar made by white men. The wage gap for Asian women in New York is more than double the national average.

As evidenced by this graph based on the most recent Census data, while women nationally makes less money than white males, that disparity is greater across the board in NYC.

As evidenced by this graph based on the most recent Census data, while women nationally make less money than white males, that disparity is greater across the board in NYC.

 

When one further examines the backdrop of such wage inequality, the situation seems even grimmer and this legislation is only one step towards pay equity. According to a report by the New York Times, “the mean income of the lowest fifth [in NYC] was $8,993, while the highest fifth made $222,871. According to the same report, “The top 5 percent made $436,931 — about 49 times as much as those with the lowest income.” The income gap in New York City is among the highest in the country.

Hopefully, this is far from the last step towards income equality that New York City will take. As one of the largest city economies in the world, it will be interesting to see whether or not other cities take similar steps.

Raz Robinson, Journalist Article by Raz Robinson, journalist and freelance writer, based in New York City and Philadelphia. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, email at razrobinson9(at)gmail(dot)com, or follow on Twitter @razrobinson

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Is Your Prospective Employer Getting Diversity Right?

Work place Diversity

In many ways college is a safe space, a place where the burdens of under-representation for African Americans can be slightly offset by the pedagogical drive to innovate and create new knowledge. This is particularly the case at HBCU’s where students have the room to embark on the path of creating knowledge, developing the skills that they’ll need, but also growing in a space that positively cultivates their Blackness in tandem with its rich history. So for many of these African American students, the idea of exiting post-secondary and entering into a largely male and monochromatic professional workforce, can be daunting.

Diversity in technology

Recently, Fast Company published an article about how leaders in technology companies are trying to change the game when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Regardless of your individual drive to work in tech or not — if the workplace diversity has you feeling nervous— here are some things to look for in prospective employers.

1) Transparency

Has one of your parents ever said, “you look like you’re up to something”? They probably put that out there because you actually are up to something. See, you as a prospective employee know what all parents know, which is that honesty takes the shape of forthrightness and the absence of a pensive attitude. If you get into the interview and your prospective employer downplays or outright doesn’t want to answer your questions about diversity, get out of there. The article points out that the most progressive CEO’s are pushing to make their diversity initiatives, and whatever successes they net, public knowledge. If an employer has diversity stats worth noting, you’d better believe they’re down to boast about it. Still, we can’t solely rely on the raw diversity data, which leads to the second thing you should be looking for.

2) Progressive Company Culture

The Fast Company article notes how Warby Parker’s main office has 25 conference rooms, each named after a famous literary figure. Upon further inspection, CEO, Neil Blumenthal noticed that less than half of the rooms were named after women or people of color. Things like this are dead giveaways when it comes to how much diversity is at the front of your prospective employer’s mind. How purposeful are they about diversity? Go into the interview and take a good look around the space. Are all the paintings or artifacts reflective of diversity? Are a majority of the people of color wheeling around office chairs or mop buckets? Is there a daycare facility, or perceivable benefits for employees with children? These are all things you can use to get an idea of how considerate the employer is of people with different needs who come from different backgrounds.

3) Who is Supporting Their Vision?

In this world that is becoming more and more fixated on the burgeoning sphere of startup/tech culture than it is traditional company dynamics, research who it is that provides the organization with investment capital. When CEO’s are on the hunt for seed money, etc., what they’re really on the hunt for is a person who shares their vision, and who that person is can dictate a lot about what the company’s diversity prerogatives might be. If an investor only has the finances and bottom line in mind, they might sidestep what they see as costly or time-consuming improvements to company culture, like recruiting outside of the “friend pool” or ensuring that the workplace is as accessible for disabled employees. Investor temperament can even affect things like the quality of your benefits package or the willingness to pay you what you’re worth.

Finding your workplace home

Above all else, find a place that makes you comfortable. If you love your work, take the job! Is your workplace not diverse enough yet? Then figure out how to bring that conversation to your boss. When it really comes down to it, the worst thing we can do for diversity is say nothing!

Raz Robinson, JournalistArticle by Raz Robinson, journalist and freelance writer, based in New York City and Philadelphia. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, email at razrobinson9(at)gmail(dot)com, or follow on Twitter.

Feel free to send your questions about workplace diversity to thehbcucareercenter@yahoo.com.

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It’s Official! Paul Quinn Is The First HBCU Work College

Paul Quinn College's football field after being converted into a garden.

Paul Quinn College’s football field after being converted into a garden.

After a two-year application process, Paul Quinn College has become the first HBCU to meet the Department of Education’s standards for the “work college” designation. As of Monday morning, Paul Quinn now joins seven other institutions trailblazing this new method for potentially reducing student debt.

Unlike traditional work study programs, whose distribution is based solely on the student’s financial needs —since 2015—every student at Paul Quinn, has either a job on campus or with a local business in Dallas, Texas. According to college president Michael Sorrell, due to 80 percent of students being eligible for Federal Pell Grant’s, a majority of the students at Paul Quinn can graduate with less than $10,000 in debt, as well as gain valuable professional training.

PQCMarqueeReduce College Debt

Though work colleges seem like a viable way to reduce college debt, the future of their funding is currently uncertain. As of right now, work colleges are allocated funding via the federal work study program, and in its budget proposal last Wednesday, the Trump administration suggested making cuts to the same program. As well as funding cuts, the administration is looking to make monetary allocation more need-based, rather than embracing a model that lets each student work to reduce debt across the board.

Raz Robinson, JournalistArticle by Raz Robinson, journalist and freelance writer, based in New York City and Philadelphia. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, email at razrobinson9(at)gmail(dot)com, or follow on Twitter @razrobinson.

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