Connecticut youth labor market remains stagnant

Middletown Press 

By: J. Brian Charles

Young adults face a grim labor market, according to recent reports that show new entrants have little access to valuable work experience.

And the bleak job picture for new entrants into the labor force is costing states like Connecticut millions of dollars in payroll taxes and social safety net benefits.

For the first time in more than 60 years, the job market shrank over the course of the last decade. The scarcity of available jobs largely affected new entrants into the workforce. The unemployment rate for 18- to 34-year-old job seekers remained higher than 10 percent for 70 consecutive months between early 2008 and the last quarter of 2013, according to an analysis of labor statistics done by Young Invincibles, a group advocating for Millennials. And according to the Brookings Institution, youth job market participation fell dramatically.

“Youth don’t currently get much experience when they get out of college. You might be lucky if you get an internship,” said Konrad Mugglestone, a research fellow with Young Invincibles and the co-author of “In This Together: The Hidden Cost of Youth Unemployment,” a new report detailing the challenges faced by younger job hunters.

“When the economy is down, if you have a choice between someone with zero experience or more years of experience, you take the person with more experience,” Mugglestone said.

Young Invincibles formed in 2009 to offer Millennials a voice in the debate over health care reform. The groups has since grown, and now is looking at the effects of the economic downturn on young adults.

Economists contend that young people’s job prospects often are suppressed by downward pressure on the labor market, a residual effect of the economic calamity of the last decade.

“There is considerable less churn in the labor market,” said Connecticut-based economist Don Klepper-Smith. “Some people are rebuilding 401(k)s (retirement funds) that got hit. There are less job opportunities because older workers are staying at their jobs longer.”

For young workers, not being able to get a toehold in the economy has long-term effects.

“The more of an employment record someone has and the greater their connectivity to the job market, the better they are going to do in life going forward,” said Pete Gioia, economist with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

According to the Center for American Progress, a 22-year-old man who is unemployed for six months will earn 8 percent less at age 23, and often can expect to earn $22,000 less over the course of the next decade.

Ultimately, the flagging youth labor market cost states in lost revenue and a slight increase in spending on safety net supports. Between 2010 and 2012, unemployed adults between the age of 18 and 34 cost the state of Connecticut $26,984,756.81, in mostly lost revenue and some additional social service spending, according to Young Invincible’s analysis of labor statistics.

Each Connecticut taxpayer had to chip in additional $68.82 to account for the revenues lost to youth unemployment, the seventh-highest rate in the country, according to the youth advocacy group’s study of labor statistics and the net results of youth unemployment.

The recent move by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to push the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017 may have deleterious effects on low-wage workers and by extension the employment prospects on young adults.

“Maybe Walmart can absorb this, but a small pizza chain or a regional restaurant can’t deal with this,” Gioia said.

According to a report by the Congressional Budget Office, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would lift 900,000 Americans out of poverty, but could cost the economy 1 million jobs.

Higher labor costs likely will drive companies, even in the service industry, to automate, according to Gioia.

“Maybe we can get by with half the waitresses by putting tablets on the tables, and allowing customers to order their food,” he said.

The current credit market, where interest rates remain low, may speed the pace of automation.

“First, I think companies will begin to take longer-term views on what can and can’t be automated. If you are going to look at automation, the next 18 months are when you are going to take a serious look at automating because of the cost and availability of credit,” he said.

However, labor advocates say the business community continues to cry wolf about the effects of increased labor costs and the ability to automate what are often service industry jobs.

“We hear the same apocalyptic scenario every time we ask businesses for similar concessions,” said Taylor Leake, spokesman for the Connecticut Working Families Party, which pushed hard for the minimum wage increase.

Leake acknowledges the increasing trend of automation, but doesn’t expect companies to move swiftly to automate.

Share Button

Sandra Fluke Visits USC College Democrats

Neon Tommy 

By: Saharra Griffin

Sandra Fluke, a candidate for California’s 26th state Senate district, discussed fracking, reproductive health and workers’ rights Wednesday in her visit with USC’s College Democrats.

Fluke gained national attention in 2012 after testifying before Congress on the importance of comprehensive coverage for reproductive health. The district Fluke is hoping to represent is in West Los Angeles and includes Hollywood, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Palos Verdes and other coastal cities.

Fluke discussed her career as a prominent social justice attorney and a progressive legislative advocate.

According to Fluke, there is a shortage of progressive legislators in Washington D.C. because of political gridlock. She cited Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, however, as leaders who are paving the way for a cohesive progressive movement.

“People are crying out for a new generation of progressive leadership,” Fluke said. “We are the ones standing up and doing it.”

Fluke then gave her take on a range of contentious policy issues and described her own activist efforts.

On the topic of employment rights—an area she has championed—Fluke stated, “I am proud to say that here in California, we became one of the first three states to pass a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights,” attributing the legislation’s success not to herself and other advocates, but to the organized grassroots efforts of domestic workers in Los Angeles.

“I understand that legislation is not passed by a legislature and signed by a governor,” she said. “Legislation is passed by a community… I will be the kind of legislator that draws on the community, to make sure we get legislation through.”

Fluke, also deeply involved in the fight for LGBTQ rights in California, recently co-founded a statewide coalition to make sure that LGBTQ individuals were not discriminated against in family courts. Fluke noted that her experience as a social justice attorney has provided her with unique insight into the nuances of family courts and its tendency to limit the rights of LGBTQ individuals and families.

In addition, Fluke talked about reproductive freedom, the policy area that originally put her in the national spotlight.

Fluke is currently partnering with California State Senator Holly Mitchell on a bill that she describes “will make sure women who receive public assistance are able to fully exercise their reproductive choice options.”

“Unfortunately, right now there is some economic coercion going on for poor women in California,” she said.

Fluke expressed readiness to work for this vulnerable population, if elected.

“If I accomplish nothing else in this process, I want to bring people into the political process who haven’t been a part of it before. I want to show them that this is a way that change can happen.”

Fluke then turned to address topics that specifically concern college students.

As a part of an organization called Young Invincibles, Fluke has worked to address the economic problems facing the Millennial Generation, including health insurance access, unemployment rates, and student loan debt.

“We need to have a representative of this generation in Sacramento,” said Fluke.

If elected, she plans to connect colleges and universities with employers on “Silicon Beach” to make sure new workers have the necessary skills for high-tech jobs.

When asked to give advice for college students interested in politics, Fluke added, “You guys hold a special place in my heart because I was a student activist. We are the antidotes to apathy.”

The primary election for the California state Senate will take place on June 3, 2014.

Share Button

Students weigh healthcare options before deadline

The Maroon 

By: Nia Porter

As the deadline to sign up for health care under the Affordable Care Act approaches, students are deciding whether they’ll be choosing a plan or paying a fine.

The last day to sign up for health care and avoid a fee from the U.S. government in 2014 is March 31. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Services, over 4.2 million people have signed up for health insurance so far, 27 percent of whom are classified as young adults.

The young adult program Young Invincibles aims to amplify the voices of Americans aged 18 to 34 regarding economic issues like job opportunities, higher education and health care.

Cristina Rivera, a Young Invincibles representative, said that the group aims to educate those unaware of the Affordable Care Act’s new policies.

“The Affordable Care Act is basically making health care more accessible to everyone by providing financial assistance through the marketplace, which is HealthCare.gov,” Rivera said. “It also doesn’t hurt to inform them about some of the perks that come along with the new reform.”
For students, one of these perks includes being able to stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26.

“Aside from staying on your parents’ plan until you’re 26, if you’re at a university that has a student health plan, these universities now have to abide by the requirements of the Affordable Care Act,” Rivera said.

One of these new requirements is that universities participating must provide preventative services to students with no copayments, which are the costs covered by insurance companies that insurance holders pay out of pocket.

Alia Fleury, a Xavier University pre-med junior, decided to sign up for a student health plan.

“As a pre-med student, I understand how important health insurance is,” Fleury said. “Honestly, it would be devastating if something were to happen to me, and I didn’t have health insurance to help cover the costs.”
Fleury said that having health insurance has become one of her main priorities in order to help pay for the cost of her prescriptions and doctor visits.

“Overall, it really helps give students that peace of mind by having health insurance in case something should happen,” Rivera said.

Rivera said that in New Orleans, the average 25-year-old could get a health care plan that’s either free or that costs close to nothing — some ranging from $15 to $20 a month.

However, despite these costs, many young adults still lack basic health insurance.

“I see it often, actually, and I find that it’s mostly prevalent among young, African-American males,” Rachel Lockhart, a pharmacist at an Elysian Fields Walgreens, said.

Rivera said Latinos and African-Americans lack the most in health coverage, and Young Invincibles hopes to change this.

“The things that we’d really like to highlight the most right now is that financial assistance is available,” Rivera said.

Share Button

Georgia receives low grade for investment in higher education

The Red & Black 

By: Daniel Funke

Efforts to expand access to colleges and universities in Georgia may not be benefiting students and their families as much as those in other states, according to a recent report.

The Student Impact Project, a rating system conducted by the public policy organization Young Invincibles, gave Georgia a grade of C+ for its higher education policies, and included factors such as tuition, state aid and burden on families.

According to the report, tuition rates in Georgia have risen 79 percent in the past five years, resulting in an average debt load of $22,443. In addition, the state legislature has cut support for higher education by 30 percent since 2007, leading to a 96 percent increase in the burden placed on families.

“Higher education budget cuts handicap not only students and their families, but the larger American economy,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of YI, in a press release. “Large tuition increases and declining financial aid have driven students into greater debt at a time they can least afford it.”

Colin Seeberger, the communications coordinator for YI, said the study focused on how state educational policies affected students and their families.

“Twenty-five years ago, states picked up about 80 percent of the tab of higher education. We’ve seen a shift in the burden away from the states and toward students,” he said. “We sort of broke down how the higher ed budget in each state affects students. We wanted to amplify the student perspective, so we looked at what would affect them.”

Ryan Nesbit, the vice president for finance and administration at the University of Georgia, said the university is constantly seeking ways it can provide financial aid to help students and their families.

“A very high priority of our administration is keeping education affordable while at the same time maintaining the quality of the academic experience,” he said.

Nesbit said the administration routinely conducts operational efficiency evaluations in order to make sure UGA is using its funds as efficiently as possible so that additional steps may be taken to contribute to the educational process.

The Red & Black attempted to contact the UGA Office of Student Financial Aid, but it declined to comment.

Although Georgia received low grades for changes in tuition rates and the burden policies place on families, Seeberger said state aid initiatives, such as the HOPE Scholarship, are improving student access to higher education.

“A C+ isn’t great, but at the same time there are a lot of states that are in a lot worse shape than that,” he said. “In terms of improvement, there’s got to be a way that we can reverse the trend in having the costs shift to being on families. We have to find a way that the states can pick up a bigger part of the tab.”

Emma Wakeman, a freshman women’s studies major from Atlanta, said HOPE is an indicator of Georgia’s commitment to higher education.

“We got a C+, but also we have the HOPE Scholarship, which I think is a huge difference between [UGA] and other state universities,” she said.

Seeberger said YI conducted the project by collecting policy data from each state and then averaging that with other states.

“We averaged all [the factors], we took the data, we standardized it based on some sort of plausible baseline, whether it was the national average or the rate of inflation, we scored every state, gave them a letter grade for each subject and the final grade is an average of all those,” he said.

Share Button

Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2014 reintroduced

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) today reintroduced legislation aimed at curbing harassment and bullying at colleges at universities across America.

The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2014 requires colleges and universities to prohibit harassment and establishes within the Department of Education a grant program to support campus anti-harassment programs.

The legislation was first introduced by the late Senator Frank Lautenberg after Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, took his own life after his roommate and another student invaded his privacy and harassed him over the Internet.

“Despite statistics telling us LGBT students are nearly twice as likely to be harassed, there is no federal requirement that colleges and universities have policies in place to protect their students,” Murray said.

“Thankfully, this bill gets to the heart of this issue by ensuring students and schools alike have the tools and resources necessary to not only prevent this epidemic of harassment, but assist victims who are too often left with no sense of closure or recourse for their perpetrators. I am extremely grateful for the work my friend Frank did to honor Tyler Clementi’s life with this legislation and I am proud to be joined in this effort by Senator Baldwin. No student – whether they’re gay, straight, black, white, Christian, or Muslim – should have to face discrimination and harassment in their pursuit of education,” Murray said.

“No student or employee should have to live in fear of being who they are. Our schools should not be, and cannot be a place of discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation or violence. This legislation is an important step forward in not only preventing and addressing harassment on campus, but also making sure our students have the freedom to succeed in safe and healthy communities of learning and achievement,” Baldwin said.

“Everyone deserves a fair shot at our colleges and universities across America and this legislation will help ensure people can pursue their dreams free of harassment and bullying,” Baldwin said.

According to a 2004 study by Rowan University, 27.5% of college students indicated they had seen students being bullied by other students. LGBT students are nearly twice as likely as their peers to experience harassment, and are far more likely to indicate the harassment was based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, there is no requirement that colleges and universities have policies to protect their students and employees from harassment. Nor is there Federal aid dedicated to enact programs to prevent and reduce harassment against students.

The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2014:

• Requires colleges and universities receiving federal aid to establish an anti-harassment policy prohibiting the harassment of enrolled students based on their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion.

• Requires colleges to distribute their anti-harassment policy to all students and employees, including prospective students and employees, upon request.

• Recognizes “cyberbullying,” which includes harassment undertaken through electronic messaging services, commercial mobile services, and other electronic communications.

• Authorizes a competitive grant program for institutions of higher education to initiate, expand, or improve programs to: (a) prevent the harassment of students; (b) provide counseling or redress services to students who have been harassed or accused of subjecting other students to harassment; and (c) train students, faculty, or staff to prevent harassment or address harassment if it occurs.

The legislation’s cosponsors include: Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The bill has received support from advocates and organizations including: American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, People For the American Way, The Trevor Project, The Tyler Clementi Foundation, and Young Invincibles.

For more information, click HERE.

Share Button

Murray, Baldwin Introduce Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2014

Sen. Patty Murray 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) reintroduced legislation aimed at curbing harassment and bullying at colleges at universities across America. The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2014 requires colleges and universities to prohibit harassment and establishes within the Department of Education a grant program to support campus anti-harassment programs. The legislation was first introduced by the late Senator Frank Lautenberg after Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, took his own life after his roommate and another student invaded his privacy and harassed him over the Internet. 

“Despite statistics telling us LGBT students are nearly twice as likely to be harassed, there is no federal requirement that colleges and universities have policies in place to protect their students,”said Senator Murray. “Thankfully, this bill gets to the heart of this issue by ensuring students and schools alike have the tools and resources necessary to not only prevent this epidemic of harassment, but assist victims who are too often left with no sense of closure or recourse for their perpetrators. I am extremely grateful for the work my friend Frank did to honor Tyler Clementi’s life with this legislation and I am proud to be joined in this effort by Senator Baldwin. No student – whether they’re gay, straight, black, white, Christian, or Muslim – should have to face discrimination and harassment in their pursuit of education.”

“No student or employee should have to live in fear of being who they are. Our schools should not be, and cannot be a place of discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation or violence. This legislation is an important step forward in not only preventing and addressing harassment on campus, but also making sure our students have the freedom to succeed in safe and healthy communities of learning and achievement,” said Senator Baldwin. “Everyone deserves a fair shot at our colleges and universities across America and this legislation will help ensure people can pursue their dreams free of harassment and bullying.”

According to a 2004 study by Rowan University, 27.5 percent of college students indicated they had seen students being bullied by other students.  LGBT students are nearly twice as likely as their peers to experience harassment, and are far more likely to indicate the harassment was based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  However, there is no requirement that colleges and universities have policies to protect their students and employees from harassment.  Nor is there Federal aid dedicated to enact programs to prevent and reduce harassment against students.

The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2014:

  • Requires colleges and universities receiving federal aid to establish an anti-harassment policy prohibiting the harassment of enrolled students based on their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion.
  • Requires colleges to distribute their anti-harassment policy to all students and employees, including prospective students and employees, upon request.
  • Recognizes “cyberbullying,” which includes harassment undertaken through electronic messaging services, commercial mobile services, and other electronic communications.
  • Authorizes a competitive grant program for institutions of higher education to initiate, expand, or improve programs to: (a) prevent the harassment of students; (b) provide counseling or redress services to students who have been harassed or accused of subjecting other students to harassment; and (c) train students, faculty, or staff to prevent harassment or address harassment if it occurs.

The legislation’s cosponsors include: Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The bill has received support from advocates and organizations including: American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, People For the American Way, PFLAG National, The Trevor Project, The Tyler Clementi Foundation, and Young Invincibles.

See more information.

Share Button

Kline’s legislative wish list — School boards a boost for kids — Higher ed neg reg resumes today — A hint on E-Rate funding?

Politico Morning Education

By: Caitlin Emma

Calendar

— 11:30 a.m.: Dr. Jill Biden joins Young Invincibles at a job training center for high school graduates and GED holders to discuss Affordable Care Act education. Arlington, Va.

Share Button

UPDATE: Young people finally buying health insurance

MarketWatch 

By: Jonnelle Marte

Young people love procrastinating. They also like their insurance cheap.

Those are two takeaways apparent in enrollment data updated Tuesday by eHealth, which runs eHealthInsurance, a private insurance exchange. The web broker said 45% of customers who purchased insurance plans that are compliant with the Affordable Care Act this year through March 23 were between 18 and 34 years old. That’s compared with 39% of those who shopped during the first half of the enrollment period, from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31.

The figures suggest that younger consumers are waiting until later in the enrollment period to purchase insurance plans. The average age for a person buying insurance on eHealth’s exchange dropped to 36 years old on March 23, from 39 years old on Jan. 1. The average premium paid by an individual also dropped over that time period, to $261 from $290, a sign that the people buying plans this month may be younger than those buying earlier in the enrollment period, says Brian Mast, a spokesman for eHealth.

Another sign more young people may finally be getting around to shopping for insurance: catastrophic plans, which come with high deductibles and under the law are generally only available to consumers under age 30, are becoming more popular. Some 14% of the plans purchased this quarter were catastrophic, up from 10% last quarter. Bronze plans are most popular among eHealth customers, most of whom aren’t getting subsidies. (In contrast, silver level plans are most popular on the public insurance exchanges, where roughly 80% of people are getting help paying premiums.)

The latest data available from the public insurance exchanges showed that roughly 25% of consumers who purchased plans through HealthCare.gov and the state-run insurance exchanges by March 1 were between the ages of 18 and 34. With new enrollment figures from the Obama administration not expected until a few weeks after the March 31 deadline, some health pros are looking to the private enrollment information as a sign that more young people might be signing up on the public exchanges also. “It suggests we may see something comparable in the public exchanges,” says Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Government officials and supporters of the health law have found creative ways to get young people to learn more about their coverage options. Young Invincibles, a nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C., is raffling a cash prize of $1,200 — enough to possibly cover a year’s worth of health insurance premiums — to people who download their educational health-care app. Some groups are using music, jokes and March Madness to get young people’s attention.

While the enrollment figures for the public exchanges have been watched more closely, the mix of people who buy off-exchange plans will also impact how insurers set next year’s premiums. Many of the plans sold on eHealth, for example, are the same as the plans being sold on the public insurance exchanges, and insurers will be looking at their total risk pools when it comes time to set premiums.

Share Button

California expanding voter registration through Obamacare

Daily Kos 

By: Joan McCarter

In a move sure to make conservative heads explode, California is going to send voter registration cards to everyone who has signed up for health insurance through Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange under Obamacare.
Under a deal announced Monday by several voting-rights groups, the state will send voter registration cards to nearly 3.8 million Californians who have applied for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.The move will ensure that many residents can complete or update their registration in time for the June 3 primary election, representatives of the groups said, and bring the state into compliance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The law requires that certain state offices provide clients with registration opportunities.

California had intended to make this move all along, but had delayed doing so. The organizations involved—the ACLU of California, the League of Women Voters, Young Invincibles—served notice to the state that they intended to sue if the state didn’t make sure everyone who had signed up this winter would be able to register in time for the state’s primary. The state says it will be prepared to get everyone signing up starting in the fall the opportunity to register to vote. They’ll send voter registration applications with paper applications and will provide links for those applying online.

 

Share Button

California to Send Voter Registration Cards to Obamacare Applicants

McClatchy News 

By: Jean Merl

Heading off a lawsuit over compliance with a federal voting rights law, California officials have agreed to help millions of state residents register to vote.

Under a deal announced Monday by several voting-rights groups, the state will send voter registration cards to nearly 3.8 million Californians who have applied for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

The move will ensure that many residents can complete or update their registration in time for the June 3 primary election, representatives of the groups said, and bring the state into compliance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The law requires that certain state offices provide clients with registration opportunities.

The Department of Motor Vehicles and state offices that aid low-income mothers and the disabled are also among the agencies required to provide registration services.

The accord resulted from negotiations between the state and the ACLU of California and other groups representing the League of Women Voters of California, Young Invincibles and several individuals.

“Many eligible voters fail to register due to lack of access and opportunity,” Jennifer A. Waggoner, League of Women Voters president, said in a statement announcing the settlement. “Offering voter registration to the millions of people enrolling in healthcare is a simple step toward reaching out to them.”

Raul Macias, a voting rights attorney for the ACLU, said California was first in adding its insurance exchange to the list of services offering voter registration assistance, but failed to follow through when the exchange opened.

Although he said the organizations were sympathetic to the exchange’s workload and continued to negotiate with its officials, it was not until the groups served the state with a notice of noncompliance earlier this month that state officials were able to reach a settlement.

A spokeswoman for the state health insurance exchange, Covered California, said the network had already taken “some interim steps,” including providing voter registration information and links to the secretary of State’s office on its website.

“However,” spokeswoman Anne Gonzales said, “in the first few months of our startup, our resources were primarily dedicated to getting the new insurance exchange up and running.”

“We’ve always understood our obligations and now we are happy to have a plan…and to work toward full compliance” with the law, Gonzales said.

In addition to mailings to those who have applied for the current year, the exchange will take several steps to be ready for the fall enrollment period for 2015.

Voter cards will be included in all paper applications and a voter registration application will be provided for those signing up for health insurance online; help will also be available from those assisting applicants with their insurance choices, Gonzales said.

Share Button