Tepid May jobs report underscores need for innovation and reform


MayJobs 2016

Looking at some of the headlines for the May jobs report, you’d think America’s employment situation is in rough shape. After all, the economy added only 38,000 jobs, the slowest growth since 2010. Some speculated that Fed Chair Janet Yellen might delay interest rate hikes due to the sluggish job growth.

The monthly jobs report can be sliced and diced different ways though, and May’s report shows some interesting trends for young adults. But further analysis points to persistent inequities for marginalized communities and it underscore a need for innovation and targeted reform in our employment system. With that in mind, it’s worth it to take a step back, and look at these  trends. This month, we compare the unemployment rates for young adults, broken out by demographic between May 2015 and May 2016.

By this comparison, the employment picture for young adults improved overall since last year. The unemployment rate facing young African Americans declined 2.6 points, and young Latinos’ rate declined 1.9 points. However, rates of unemployment for young people of color are almost double their white counterparts. This is clear evidence that structural disparities remain and more work needs to be done on workforce policy and college affordability to improve our economy overall.

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YI Releases 2016 Millennial Workforce Priorities, Which Could Create 3 Million Jobs


April 4, 2016

Contact: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 202.734.6510

Young Invincibles Unveils 2016 Millennial Workforce Development Priorities

Reforms Could Create Over Three Million Jobs and Train More Than One Million Workers Annually

[WASHINGTON]–Young people have realized some employment gains over the last few years, but too many Millennials are still struggling to forge a pathway to work that pays a decent living. Young Invincibles released our 2016 Millennial Workforce Development Priorities, responding to concerns we have heard from young people across the country.

If adopted in full, the reforms we outline could create over three million full-time, part-time, and summer jobs each year and would improve training opportunities for an additional one million young people at an annual cost of $13.1 billion. The platform focuses specifically on our country’s workforce development infrastructure.

“From high unemployment to declining wages, Millennials are still struggling to overcome the consequences of the Great Recession and decades-long workforce trends,” said Jen Mishory, Executive Director of Young Invincibles. “Our workforce development plan provides pathways for young people, particularly the millions of Millennials neither working nor in school, to get training and opportunities they need. This commonsense package of reforms outline the steps we can take right now, and we hope all candidates running for office will give them the consideration they deserve.”


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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (January 20, 2016): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (1/20/2016)

I don’t know about you, but I’m experiencing a debate and forum hangover after the last week. But there’s no time to rest. We are just 11 days away from the Iowa Caucuses. Check out the latest from the trail below, please share this week’s Millennial Memo with your friends and colleagues, and sign up for updates here.

BUSH ROLLS OUT HIGHER ED PLAN: “Bush embraces the idea of ‘skin in the game’ — giving colleges and universities incentives to show that former students are able to pay back their loans. That’s an idea that’s been discussed to an extent in Congress. Bush says his plan will also support ‘innovative new providers,’ and he wants to create state databases to make apparent to prospective students how well graduates are doing in terms of salary and their ability to get a job. He supports allowing 529 college savings accounts to be converted into education saving accounts that could be used to fund K-12 schooling and later college or job training. Bush would also allow states to deposit $2,500 each year into the account of every child under 5 from a low-income family. And anyone could make a tax-deductible contribution to a student’s account. As part of an education savings account, he said he wants to give all high school graduates access to a $50,000 line of credit that they could use for educational and skill-building programs. Students would then repay 1 percent of their income for 25 years for every $10,000 they spend. ‘This ensures affordable repayment, removes risk of default and protects students during periods of unemployment, while the [education savings account] structure gives students flexibility and the incentive to be cost-conscious,’ Bush said. It also offers relief to existing borrowers with these promises: a new income-based repayment system, more transparent debt collection, allowing private student loan debt to be discharged by bankruptcy, an extended debt repayment period and an easier transition to income-based repayment programs created under the Obama administration.” (Politico, 1/18/2016)

SANDERS MAKES PITCH TO MINORITY STUDENTS IN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION DISCUSSION: When asked how he would respond to a white student who believes that their access to education is being limited by affirmative action, Sanders said, “how I would respond is it’s time not to play off white against black, it’s to make sure every kid in this country — regardless of income — can get an education, which is why I am vigorously fighting to make sure that all public colleges and universities are tuition-free. I’d tell that white kid, you deserve an education, but so does the black kid next to you… Every kid in this country has a right to a higher education.” When asked what he would do to help protect minority students’ access to higher education if the Supreme Court ends affirmative action, Sanders said he would do “everything that [he] can.” (Fusion, 1/11/2016)

O’MALLEY CALLS FOR PUTTING DEGREE COMPLETION, NOT INSTITUTIONS AT CENTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION REFORM: “My debt-free college plan covers not only tuition, but it also covers room and board, which is often times a big, big chunk of what it takes to go to college. But I also believe there are some great examples of online universities — many of them public online universities — that actually work and create more flexible pathways for students to be able to finish their degrees to move forward when they’re ready. And I don’t believe we should stifle that. But I do believe we need to lift up those schools that actually work… We need a more blended way to achieve degree attainment. Rather than putting the institutions at the center, we need to put degree completion at the center, and I think we need to be open to online universities.” (Fusion, 1/11/2016)

O’MALLEY CALLS FOR CUTTING OFF PREDATORY FOR-PROFITS: When asked if for-profit colleges found to have been involved in predatory behavior should be able to have access to federal funding, Governor O’Malley said, “No, they should not.” (Fusion, 1/11/2016)

RUBIO TELLS MINNEAPOLIS GOPERS THAT YOUNG VOTERS ARE KEY TO THE PARTY WINNING BEYOND THEIR BASE: “Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio told a Minneapolis fundraiser Tuesday he would be best at bringing together Republicans after the hard-fought presidential nomination battle. With the Iowa caucuses only a few weeks away, Rubio told the Minneapolis crowd the Republican Party needed to attract voters beyond its base. ‘Our nominee must also be someone that can attract new people into our cause, and we will,’ he said. ‘That’s why we spend time talking about college loan debt and what students are facing and young Americans. Because we are going to win more young voters.’” (Minneapolis Public Radio, 1/19/16)

IN CNBC INTERVIEW, JEB BLAMES STUDENT LOAN PROGRAM FOR RISING TUITION RATES: When asked about what role rising tuition has in inflating the nation’s student debt, Governor Bush said, “you wanna know why [tuition is going up]? Because it’s financed by the federal government’s student loan program. There’s no accountability. Our system puts a cap on the loans and forces the institutions to lower cost… If you have a cap on the amount of money that can be financed, you’ll see everyone’s interests aligning.” (CNBC, 1/19/2016)

CLINTON PASSES ON RESPONDING TO SANDERS’ TWO-TO-ONE LEAD AMONG YOUNG VOTERS: “A millennial asked how the candidates plan to gain his generation’s support. Mrs. Clinton articulated a liberal agenda that she thought would draw young and old but ‘especially young people,’ appalled by the prospect of a Donald J. Trump presidency. Asked why Mr. Sanders does better with young voters, she responded, ‘I have the greatest respect for Senator Sanders’ and ‘his supporters,’ and Mr. Sanders smiled.” (The New York Times, 1/17/2016)

JOB CREATION REMAINS TRUMP’S SOLUTION TO REDUCE COLLEGE COSTS & STUDENT DEBT: At a recent event in Concord, New Hampshire, “the second question focused on his plans for reducing costs of college and college debt. Once again, Trump talked a lot without really saying anything of merit or substance. He talked about the importance of creating jobs for people, something he is very good at, but he never tackled the topic of student debt or the overall cost of tuition. He also failed to outline how he would create these jobs, falling back on his catchphrase of the night ‘trust me’.” When asked by Young Invincibles seven months ago about how he would make college more affordable, Mr. Trump had a similar response. (Star Tribune, 1/18/16)

COMING TO AN HBCU NEAR YOU: “In an effort to court minority voters, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign is launching a tour — officially dubbed “Feel the Bern” — of historically black colleges and universities. On the docket Thursday night: South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, S.C. South Carolina and Nevada are holding their primaries in February, and are next up after the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary. Stops on the tour include Tennessee State University in Nashville; Alabama State University in Montgomery; Jackson State University; Florida A&M University in Tallahassee; Virginia State University in Petersburg; Howard University in Washington, D.C.; the Atlanta University Center; and Benedict College in Columbia, S.C…. Despite pulling ahead of Hillary Clinton by 5 points in Iowa polls, Sanders faces an uphill battle with black voters. A November 2015 Winthrop poll showed 80% of black potential South Carolina voters surveyed supported Clinton.” (USA Today, 1/14/2016)

KASICH SAYS STUDENTS MUST TAKE MORE ACCOUNTABILITY, NOT MAKE COLLEGE DECISIONS BASED ON BRAND: “Kasich says students must take more accountability. ‘I’m wearing a North Face, it’s a brand,’ Kasich said in his response to Nguyen. ‘Sometimes students pick higher education colleges based on a brand and not based on what their needs are, and then they pay for the fact that they are picking a brand rather than what fits them.’ He also outlined what he called a ‘practical and doable’ plan that includes increasing opportunities for high school students to earn college credit and easing the transfer from a two-year community college to a four-year university.” (Boston Globe, 1/11/2016)


Pushing on Pell, Inside Higher Ed, Paul Fain

Poor Kids, Limited Horizons, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Scott Carlson
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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (December 9, 2015): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (December 9, 2015)

Good Wednesday morning, everyone! I’m sure you all are just like me and counting down the days until you head out for the holidays, but dig into this week’s edition of Millennial Memo below and make sure you are in-the-know ahead of next week’s debates. Encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up for updates here.

We are 6 days away until the next GOP debate, 10 days away until the next (Saturday night!) Democratic debate, and 54 days away until Iowa! (Breathe… deeply.., it’s almost 2016.)

MEASURING UP MILLENNIALS: Keep an eye out for a special edition of Millennial Memo I will send soon to reveal findings from our recent survey of Millennial voters.

RUBIO CALLS FOR ELIMINATING DEPT OF EDUCATION, SHIFTING RESPONSIBILITIES TO TREASURY: Speaking at an event last week in New Hampshire, Senator Rubio said: “I honestly don’t believe we need a federal Department of Education… I think we can take the Department of Education, that administers some important programs, like the Pell Grant, or the student loan program, we can transfer those to the Treasury. We don’t need a federal school district. We don’t need a national school board.” (New Hampshire Union Leader, 12/4/2015)

CHRISTIE SOUNDS WARNING ON COLLEGE ROCK-CLIMBING WALL “EPIDEMIC”: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is warning of an ‘epidemic’ popping up on college campuses around the country: rock-climbing walls. ‘There is an epidemic of rock-climbing walls breaking out in college campuses all over America,’ the Republican presidential candidate told voters at a campaign stop in Jefferson, Iowa recently, using the warning as a comical jumping-off point to discuss his proposals to tackle the challenges of student debt and rising tuition costs. Christie sees rock-climbing walls as one example of superfluous spending by universities that drives up the price tag on college education. He contends that colleges should be required to itemize and unbundle tuition bills, so that students and parents have greater insight and control over where and how their money is being spent. ‘You put market forces on it,’ Christie said Friday, comparing colleges to restaurants that provide customers with a cost breakdown for each individual item on their bill. ‘If 98 percent of the people say I am not paying for a rock-climbing wall, adios rock-climbing wall,’ he added.” (ABC News, 12/7/2015)

STATE LAWMAKERS JOIN PUSH FOR DEBT-FREE COLLEGE: “Legislators in 10 states will announce today that they are introducing bills in their respective legislatures to create debt-free options in public higher education. The effort is part of a push by backers of the idea — already endorsed by the major candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination — to demonstrate the state-level interest that would be necessary. The plans of the Democratic candidates all call for state-federal partnerships. Among the states that will see bills are early caucus/primary states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.” (Inside Higher Ed, 12/7/15)

RUBIO’S ACCREDITATION BILL EARNS PRAISE FROM HEAD OF FOR-PROFIT COLLEGE TRADE GROUP & THINK TANK EXPERT: “Former GOP congressman Steve Gunderson of Wisconsin, now president and CEO of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, praised Rubio for seeing the ‘bigger picture’ on higher education. ‘He is the one candidate of either party that’s really raising that issue and is addressing what clearly the data shows is going to be an emerging skill gap over the next few years as baby boomers retire and as new jobs require additional skills,’ Gunderson said… Rubio has teamed with Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado on a bill that would benefit a number of alternative higher education programs currently ineligible for federal student aid… The bill would create a new accrediting authority using more expansive criteria — such as job placement rates and student loan repayment rates — than those used by the regional boards. The proposal gets a thumbs-up from Amy Laitinen, who handles higher education issues at New America, a Washington think tank. Current accreditation rules rely on irrelevant yardsticks such as the number of books in a university library and the percentage of faculty holding Ph.D.s, said Laitinen, a former higher-education policy adviser in the Obama administration. Those metrics ‘have nothing to do with whether or not students are learning anything and whether or not they’re getting a good value on their education,’ she said. ‘I actually think this is an attempt to make accreditation meaningful,’ Laitinen said of the Rubio-Bennet proposal. ‘If (Rubio) was just saying, let’s let new providers in the market and give them money, I would say absolutely not. That’s a terrible idea. But if you’re saying we’re going to hold them to a higher standard than we hold traditional higher ed, then yeah, absolutely, because we don’t hold higher ed to any standards at this point.’” (USA Today, 12/4/2015)

IOWA ELECTED PRESSES PAUL ON NEED TO PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE: “Waterloo City Councilman-elect Jerome Amos is tired of all the statistics that highlight all the negatives in the community — particularly the jarring figure of 24.0 percent unemployment among African-Americans. So, when Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul made a Saturday morning visit to Hairport in Waterloo, Amos had one particular concern he hoped to get addressed. ‘That’s what I’m talking about providing is opportunities for those individuals that don’t normally have any. We have to start doing that. We have to start giving our young people hope,’ Amos told Paul in a packed barber shop… He said the role of the government in addressing poverty is often for government to get out of the way of people’s aspirations… Throughout the stop, Paul earned nods and words of agreement from the about two dozen people at the barber shop for his “different ideas,” on everything from reducing student debt to addressing criminal justice reform to the role of faith in government.” (The Globe Gazette, 12/5/2015)

WHAT NH IS READING–FMR. SEN. GREGG & GOV. LYNCH CALL FOR INCREASING INVESTMENT IN PUBLIC SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES: “As representatives from opposite parties, we strongly believe in an issue that transcends politics and strongly reflects our core values: support for national service… Not only is this an issue that we both agree on, voters across the country overwhelmingly support an increased investment as well… Americans overwhelmingly agree that national service prepares young people for the workforce, builds strong neighborhoods and communities, and restores the American values of patriotism and civic duty. Four-in-five voters also supported the education awards offered to AmeriCorps alumni, which help to defray ever-rising college costs. (AmeriCorps members earn a college scholarship worth $5,775.) With the largest average student loan debt in the nation, this is likely a benefit Granite Staters in particular can get behind. As we hear more from the presidential candidates and learn details about their plans for the country’s future, a commitment to expanding funding for national service, which is paid for, should be included.” (New Hampshire Union Leader, 12/8/2015)

NEW COLLEGE COMPACT REMAINS CLINTON CAMPAIGN’S LARGEST INVESTMENT PROMISE AS CONVERSATION OVER PAY-FORS MOUNTS: In an interview with Secretary Clinton on ABC’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos pressed the Secretary for how she would pay for all of the proposals her campaign has unveiled. Stephanopoulos referenced a Washington Post editorial that said: “there is simply no way that the federal government can meet its current fiscal commitments plus the increased demands of an aging population and provide the new forms of middle class relief and business tax relief Mrs. Clinton promises while tapping only the top 3 percent of earners” When asked to respond, Clinton pushed back saying, “I just respectfully disagree. And that’s why I’ve laid out very specific plans about the kind of investments that I think Middle Class families particularly need that we have to have to, you know, grow our economy. And I’ve been very specific about how I will pay for each of those.”
Clinton Spending Plans
(Source: ABC’s This Week)


The Supreme Court Could Fuel Campus Unrest in Ruling on Race in Admissions, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Peter Schmidt

Westwood College Freezes Enrollment, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Janel Davis
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Houston Millennials Should Vote #YesOnProp1


October 27, 2015

Contact: Rebecca Fowler, Rebecca.fowler@younginvincibles.org512-228-0205

Young Invincibles Supports the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), Urges Millennial Voters to Vote “Yes” on Proposition 1

[HOUSTON]—On Tuesday, November 3rd, Houston voters will decide whether to affirm the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, otherwise known as HERO. José Eduardo Sanchez, Young Invincibles’ Southern Regional Director, issued the following statement on the organization’s position on the referendum:

“Young Houstonians are part of the most diverse generation our state has ever seen. We value diversity and know that we cannot succeed with discrimination in our communities. All young Houstonians should be able to live up to their full potential.

Unfortunately, recent surveys and focus groups we have held with hundreds of young workers in our city have cited facing discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity. Voting ‘Yes’ on Proposition 1 will ensure that the diversity we value is protected from discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, or pregnancy.

The majority of Houstonians under 30 are people of color, a community with higher unemployment, lower wages, and which faces grave challenges in achieving economic security. Voting ‘Yes’ on Proposition 1 will protect young Houstonians from discrimination in the workplace and when accessing vital housing and city services, increasing our financial security.”

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Millennial Wage Growth Severely Lags Steady Job Gains


May 8, 2015

Contact: Colin Seeberger, colin.seeberger@younginvincibles.org, 214.223.2913

Millennial Wage Growth Severely Lags Steady Job Gains

[WASHINGTON]–As the economy added 223,000 jobs in the month of April and the national unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent, the unemployment rate for 18- to 34-year-olds fell from 7.8 percent in March to 7.5 percent in April. The unemployment rate for young black adults is 12 percent in April (not seasonally adjusted), a more than 16 percent downward shift in one month.

Despite the gains the labor market has seen over the course of the last few years, young Millennials are still struggling to find a foothold in the post-Great Recession economy. A new Young Invincibles report released this week found that in states like California, young Millennials have seen their wages fall 25 percent in the course of decade.

JobsNumbers April2015

- The unemployment rate for black/African American young adults ages 18 to 34 is 12 percent (not seasonally adjusted) in April, down from 14.4 percent in March.

- The unemployment rate for Hispanic/Latino young adults ages 18 to 34 is 7.9 percent (not seasonally adjusted) in April, down from 8.8 percent in March.

- The unemployment rate for Asian-Pacific Islander young adults ages 18 to 34 is 5 percent (not seasonally adjusted) in April, up from 4.4 percent in March.

- The unemployment rate for white young adults ages 18 to 34 is 5.9 percent (not seasonally adjusted) in April, down from 6.7 percent in March.

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MarketWatch: Millennials Appear Eternally Optimistic About Their Finances

By Quentin Fottrell

“Are millennials stubbornly idealistic? Among all age groups, they feel the most positive about their finances — even compared with older Americans who have higher net worths. Relative to every other age group, millennials — also known as Generation Y, born roughly between 1981 and 1996 — are most likely to say their situation has improved relative to a year ago, according to a survey released this week by personal finance site Bankrate.com. In all components of the site’s financial security index for January — savings, debt, net worth, overall finances, and job security — millennials were the most likely of all age groups to note improved conditions compared with one year ago.” Read more here.

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Why Reducing The Cost Of College Should Now Be On Top Of Every Lawmaker’s Mind

By Sarah Lovenheim

President Obama’s pitch for “an ambitious new plan to bring down the cost of community college tuition in America” is significant not just for what he proposed from Tennessee – tuition-free community college for responsible students – but for the message he sent to the country: college, even community college, is out of reach for far too many Millennials today.

Nationwide, tuition has climbed by 28 percent in the past decade, or roughly twice the rate of inflation. Decades ago, Pell grants covered nearly the full cost of community college for low-income students to afford a higher education. Today, they cover just about half.

commcollegeIt’s time for state and federal lawmakers, as the President signaled, to take action. With the 114th Congress and state legislative sessions just beginning across the country, the President’s address is well timed to drive national dialogue and set an agenda for 2015 that will send members of Congress and state legislators brainstorming how to support it, or how to propose their own solutions to tackle college costs.

At Young Invincibles, we embrace national debate with open arms.

Tuition costs have spiraled out of control. Student loan debt has skyrocketed to more than $1.2 trillion across the country, while Millennial wages have fallen by 10 percent. Our generation isn’t able to save money (in fact, the latest Millennial savings rate is -.2%) and is delaying making major life decisions – such as buying a car or starting a family.

This will have long-term consequences that Millennials – and our national economy – can’t afford to risk.

Higher education is more valuable and necessary today than ever before to set our generation up for decent paying jobs and careers. By 2020, 65 percent of jobs in the U.S. will require education beyond high school, a goal that our nation will fail to reach if lawmakers do not seize the moment to invest in higher education.

We urge states and Congress to get on board the President’s plan – or propose their own alternative solutions that can forge consensus, and fast. The risk of inaction is far too great.

Under the President’s proposal, nine million young people would benefit from free community college.

By 2020, Millennials will make up half of our workforce and if our generation isn’t working, we’re not contributing to the economy and that hurts everyone.

Unemployment today, for example, costs taxpayers $25 billion per year. We encourage lawmakers to set young people up for the best paying-jobs possible today, and that starts by helping them afford a higher education.

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Overall Unemployment Rate Drops For Millennials, But Rises For African Americans


January 9, 2014
Contact: Sarah Lovenheim, sarah.lovenheim@younginvincibles.org585.746.8281

[WASHINGTON]— As the national unemployment rate fell slightly from 5.8 percent in November to 5.6 percent in December and the economy added 252,000 jobs in December, the unemployment rate for 18 to 34 year-olds dipped slightly to 7.9 percent in December from 8.3 percent in November (seasonably adjusted). However, the gap between the unemployment rate for white young adults and black young adults widened.

Black young adults face an unemployment rate that’s more than two and a half times higher than their white peers, 14.8 percent compared to 5.6 percent, respectively. We’d like to see the next Congress pass policies to change this. As our recent report – The Future of Millennial Jobs – showed, job training and higher education will be even more essential in the years ahead to better prepare all Millennials for the job market.

Here is more information on how different populations of young adults fared relative to the overall workforce in December 2014.

• The unemployment rate for Black/African American young adults ages 18 to 34 in December is 14.8 percent (not seasonally adjusted), up from 14.6 percent in November.

• The unemployment rate for Hispanic/Latino young adults ages 18 to 34 in December is 7.8 percent (not seasonally adjusted), down from 8.0 percent in November.

• The unemployment rate for white young adults ages 18 to 34 in December is 5.6 percent (not seasonally adjusted), down from 6.3 percent in November.

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Diverse Magazine: Researchers Mobilize to Preserve U.S. College Major Question on Census Survey

By Ronald Roach

“It’s widely believed that among the data gathered for the American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, the inclusion of college major choice as a data point has proved critical to a better understanding of the value higher education attainment has in the U.S. economy and workforce.” Read more here.

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