Google logo pays tribute to Esther Afua Ocloo, ‘microlending’ pioneer

LinkedIn
Esther Afua Ocloo

Google is using its logo Tuesday to honor the birthday of one of the world’s most important entrepreneurs.

April 18 marks the 98th birthday of Esther Afua Ocloo, a businesswoman from Ghana who helped pioneer microlending, which focuses on lending budding entrepreneurs smaller loans.

Ocloo had less than a dollar when she started a business selling marmalade. She traveled to England to study food processing, sharing skills with other women in Ghana, as well as insight on starting and managing a business.

In 1979, she helped found Women’s World Banking, which offers small loans to low-income women.

“On what would have been her 98th birthday, today’s Doodle shows Esther empowering the women of Ghana with the tools to improve their lives and communities,” reads an excerpt from Google’s Doodle archive on Ocloo’s legacy.

Source: USA Today

What You Need to Know About WBENC Certification

LinkedIn

Not only is the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the United States, but it is also one of four organizations approved by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) certification, as part of the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting program.

Each year, the federal government sets a goal to award at least 5 percent of all federal contracting dollars to certified Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs), particularly in industries where WOSBs are underrepresented. Becoming a certified WOSB and joining the SBA’s contracting program ensures your business is eligible to compete for federal contracts set aside for this program.

Who is Eligible?

To be eligible for WOSB certification, your company must:

  • Be at least 51 percent, unconditionally and directly, owned and controlled by one or more women, who are U.S. citizens.
  • Be “small” in its primary industry in accordance with the SBA’s size standards for that industry. Use the SBA’s Size Standards Tool to check your industry.
  • Have women manage day-to-day operations and also make long-term decisions.

What Are the Benefits?

Becoming a certified WOSB and participating in the SBA’s WOSB contracting program allows your business to compete for federal contracts within a more limited pool of other qualified WOSBs, thereby increasing your chances of winning business.

These contracts are for industries where WOSBs are underrepresented. Check out the SBA’s list of eligible industries and their NAICS codes.

How Do I Get Started?

If you are already a WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), you can easily apply for WOSB certification as part of your recertification process at no additional charge.

Before starting the application process, please review the criteria for certification and ensure you meet the SBA’s size standards for your industry. When you are applying for recertification, select “Yes” to the WOSB certification question and upload the documents labeled “WOSB Applicants.”

If you are a women-owned business and not yet certified by WBENC, take a moment to read about the benefits of WBENC Certification to see if it is a fit for your business. WBENC is the nation’s largest certifier of women-owned businesses and our world-class certification standard is accepted by more than 1,000 corporations representing America’s most prestigious brands. If you choose to apply for WBENC certification, you can apply for WOSB certification at the same time.

It’s important to note that once you receive your WOSB certification, you still must complete additional steps to participate in the WOSB Federal Contracting program, including providing proof of certification information through certify.SBA.gov, and updating your business profile at SAM.gov to show contracting officers that your business is in the women’s contracting program. Check out SBA.gov for details.

Where Can I Learn More?

  • Visit wbenc.org/government for details on the WOSB certification process, documentation required, and frequently asked questions.
  • For more information about the SBA’s WOSB Federal Contracting program, visit SBA.gov.

Demand for MPS Degrees on the Rise

LinkedIn
Students going over paperwork seated outside

By Lawrence Hardy, Georgetown University

The past 20 years have seen tremendous growth in the number of master’s degrees awarded—and this trend shows no signs of stopping.

Indeed, according to the report Understanding the Changing Market for Professional Master’s Programs by the Education Advisory Board (EAB)—which does market research for colleges and universities—within the next seven years master’s degrees will account for nearly a third of all postsecondary degrees.

But there’s a twist: This increase won’t be coming from “traditional” master’s programs. “The new growth will come primarily from professional master’s programs focused on specific job skills that help students gain a new job or advance in an existing position,” the EAB report said, referring to degrees like the Master of Professional Studies (MPS).

The importance of any college degree to future job earnings cannot be overstated. A report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce titled, “Good Jobs are Back: College Graduates are First in Line,” said that 2.9 million “good jobs” (those that paid upwards of $53,000) have been created since 2010 and that 2.8 million of these positions went to college graduates. But the higher education advantage doesn’t stop with a bachelor’s degree.

“We’re creating a lot of bachelor-degree jobs, but people with graduate degrees are the ones who have really seen their earnings go up,” said Andrew Hanson, a Senior Analyst for the Center.

 

A Different Kind of Master’s Degree

To help meet the increased demand, Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies (SCS) offers a broad range of MPS degrees and Executive MPS degrees and plans to add more based on the evolving needs of working professionals and employers.

SCS currently offers MPS degrees in areas including Emergency & Disaster Management, Global Strategic Communications, and Hospitality Management. To see other programs offered, visit scs.georgetown.edu.

Though all master’s degrees help increase a person’s ability to advance within his or her career, “what really sets job seekers apart is having in-depth knowledge that no other candidates have, and that comes from the type of skills conferred in a very specialized master’s program,” said Lisa Geraci, a Senior Consultant for EAB. “It’s no longer enough to be just a generalist.”

 

Four Kinds of “Working Professionals”

How does an MPS degree differ from a “traditional” master’s degree? The answer speaks to both the types of students who enroll and the type of education they are receiving.

First, the students: They are usually “nontraditional,” meaning not right out of college. They are, on average, a few years older. And perhaps, most significantly, they are usually employed. But the term “working professionals,” while accurate, isn’t precise enough to describe their specific needs. Thus, EAB divides them into four groups:

  • Career Starters—Recent graduates seeking a professional degree before entering the workforce. (These, of course, do not fit the “nontraditional” or “working professional” designations.)
  • Career Changers—Mid-career adults seeking graduate degrees to move into new fields.
  • Career Advancers—Mid-career professionals seeking graduate degrees to earn a promotion or a raise.
  • Career Crossers—Mid-career professionals seeking cross-training to advance in current fields.

Most fundamentally, MPS degrees teach students very specific knowledge with the goal of helping them in their current careers or in a career they are aiming to pursue. Theoretical knowledge taught by more traditional master’s programs may be useful, but most students need practical, applicable skills that they can use in their current workplaces.

 

MPS Programs Are Tailored to Student Needs

One of the biggest advantages of professional programs like the MPS, students said, is the opportunity to connect with students and faculty who work in the field. There are ample opportunities for networking, internships, and other career advancement benefits. Not only does this make for fascinating class discussions, but it also provides students with established industry contacts—an advantage when they look to advance in their careers.

For those seeking to enter an MPS program, academic prerequisites are just as important as workplace skills, life experience, and, of course, the potential to use the MPS to advance the candidate’s career and the needs of society.

Because most students are working and their time is limited, they need a master’s program that has an accelerated format and flexible class times that can work around their schedules. A well-designed professional degree program “breaks through the constraints of geography, schedule, age, and academic preparation that have historically and artificially limited the master’s degree marketplace,” the EAB report said. “Freed of these constraints, professional master’s programs appeal to the needs of a much larger population.”

About the Author

Lawrence Hardy serves as a writer and editor for the Marketing department at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies.

 

Source: scs.georgetown.edu

Explosive: Former Theater Major, Now Navy Bomb Squad Leader, Is Real-Life Action Hero

LinkedIn

When Hollywood makes movies featuring female soldiers and sailors, those characters typically have some improbable combination of strength, intelligence, grace and courage. Throw in a quirky backstory – She studied theatre! She plays clarinet! – and you have the makings of a perfect, albeit unrealistic, female military action hero. 

But these women do exist. America’s Navy is filled with them, and few have a more interesting story than Ensign Brianne “Brie” Coger, a 10-year Navy veteran who was one of just 12 female enlisted Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) technicians in the entire fleet before earning her commission in 2018.

EODs are part of the Navy’s elite Special Warfare community. This is the territory of Navy SEALs – exceptional men and women who have the intelligence, physical fitness, and drive to rise to the top. It’s work that demands a state of mind marked by extreme courage and capability under fire.

Quirky background

Coger grew up in Staten Island, New York. She excelled in sports, particularly swimming, and still holds some swimming records at her high school. A talented musician, she also played clarinet with the school orchestra and marching band. Later, at the University of Miami (Fla.), she studied theater and dreamed of becoming a Hollywood stunt woman.

Coger spent two challenging years after college working odd jobs back home in New York, trying to pursue an acting career. When the opportunities fizzled, Coger looked for a different kind of challenge and found it in the Navy.

Nothing typical

“What I love about EOD is that there is no typical day,” she said. “Whether we’re going out to do some diving and an underwater detonation, or we have to go to a remote location in the mountains to do some IED training, or just working a chemical or biological problem in a laboratory situation – there’s nothing typical about any of that, and that’s exactly what I needed in my life.”

EODs are the world’s ultimate bomb squad, trained to disarm conventional bombs, mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and chemical – even nuclear – weapons. They perform some of the most harrowing, dangerous work on earth to keep others from harm’s way — but that was precisely what appealed to Coger.

150506-N-CW570-290
AQABA, Jordan (May 6, 2015) Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class Brie Coger, assigned to Commander, Task Group 56.1, discusses anti-improvised explosive device techniques with Jordanian and United Arab Emirati military personnel at the Royal Jordanian Naval Base in Aqaba during exercise Eager Lion 2015. Eager Lion is a recurring multinational exercise designed to strengthen military-to-military relationships, increase interoperability between partner nations, and enhance regional security and stability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Arthurgwain L. Marquez/Released)

“I was really drawn to EOD because I wanted to be part of a protective force,” she said. “You still get to do all the cool stuff, but an EOD doesn’t go out and cause trouble; they’re there to make the situation better. That really spoke to me.”

Forging ahead

Coger says she’s never felt that her gender was an issue in her Navy career. In fact, she has enjoyed tremendous success in a relatively short time, rising to chief petty officer – a senior enlisted rate – in just eight years before being selected for officer training in 2017. After more than a decade as an enlisted Sailor, Coger earned her commission in 2018 after completing Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I. Coger has since graduated from the exclusive Navy Dive School in Florida and is now in San Diego getting ready to deploy. Her first assignment as a new officer? Leading a platoon of EOD Techs – the same people she worked with as an enlisted sailor.

“People think that joining the military means giving up things, but I’ve never seen it like that,” she said. “You aren’t losing something; you are gaining opportunities. The biggest thing that has helped me in my career is saying yes; embracing whatever’s out there and keeping my eyes and ears open to what’s possible.”

Forge your own path. Go to Navy.com

Celebrating International Women’s Day

LinkedIn

Every year on March 8th, women around the world come together to celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to stand in solidarity with all those fearless women standing up for gender equality and spotlight those who often pass unnoticed.

This year’s campaign theme—#BalanceforBetter—represents how, from grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. Balance drives a better working world, and the better the balance, the better the world. “We notice its absence and celebrate its presence. Let’s all help create a #BalanceforBetter.”

The 2019 #BalanceforBetter campaign does not start or end on International Women’s Day—it runs all year long. Its theme provides a unified direction to guide and galvanize continuous collective action, with #BalanceforBetter activity reinforced and amplified all year.

Source: internationalwomensday.com

Ethiopia’s First Woman President

SOTERAS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Sahle-Work Zewde’s election as president of Ethiopia is a landmark in many respects. It is the first time in Ethiopia’s history that a woman is assuming this elected high office, a new milestone in Ethiopia’s trajectory towards women’s empowerment and effective participation in political decision-making. She is also Africa’s only serving head of state.

Source: au.int

Brazil’s New Agriculture Minister
Tereza Cristina: Tereza Cristina, Brazil’s agriculture minister SERGIO LIMA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Tereza Cristina, head of Brazil’s farmer’s caucus in the lower house, was named by President Jair Bolsonaro as agriculture minister. She is the first female cabinet member the president-elect has appointed and the second to hold the position, after Kátia Abreu.

Source: Bloomberg.com

First Female Mayor of Tunisia

After 160 years, and 32 mayors, the North African capital of Tunisia has elected its first-ever female mayor. Souad Abderrahim a self-made businesswoman said in an interview after being elected, “I am only one among many women who have struggled for years for equality.”

Source: washingtonpost.com

Haifa’s First Woman Mayor
Einat: Einat Kalisch-Rotem, mayor of Haifa, Israel EDWARD KAPROV
This past fall Einat Kalisch-Rotem made history as the first woman to become mayor in Haifa, one of Israel’s three largest cities. Kalisch-Rotem ran on an independent list with the “Living in Haifa” faction against the incumbent mayor, Yona Yahav, whom she defeated with 55 percent of the vote.

Source: jta.org

Japan’s First Female Fighter Pilot
Misa Matsushima: First Lieutenant Misa Matsushima of the Japan Air Self Defence Force poses in the cockpit of an F-15J air superiority fighter at Nyutabaru airbase in the outskirts of Miyazaki, Miyazaki in Japan JIJI PRESS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
1st Lt. Misa Matsuhima made history this past summer when she became the first woman to qualify as a fighter jet pilot in Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF). “My longtime dream has come true. I want to become a fully-fledged pilot, no different from men, as soon as possible,” she said after a ceremony at an ASDF base.

Source: japantimes.co.jp

Women Joining Front Lines in the British Army
Kat Dixon: Royal Wessex Yeomanry Tank Gunner reservist Lance Corporal Kat Dixon, 28, from Swindon in Southwest England BEN BIRCHALL/PA IMAGES VIA GETTY IMAGES
Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that all roles in the military are now open to women. Lance Corporal Kat Dixon from Swindon, is one of the first to serve in a frontline role as a tank gunner in the British Army.

Source: swindonadvertiser.co.uk

First Woman Wins Clipper Round-the-World Yacht Race
Wendy Tuck: Wendy Tuck became the first female skipper to win the Clipper Round-the-World Yacht Race in 2018. MIGUEL ROJO/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Wendy Tuck from Australia made history this past summer when she became the first female skipper to win the Clipper Round-the-World Yacht Race. Tuck told the Australian Daily Telegraph, “I hate banging on about women. I just do what I do but I am very proud.”

Source: bbc.com

Long Beach Teacher Changes Lives in New Documentary “Freedom Writers: Stories from the Heart” Airs Mar. 28 on PBS SoCal

LinkedIn

PBS SoCal recently announced the premiere of “Freedom Writers: Stories from the Heart​,” a documentary that follows a Southern Calif. teacher’s journey to change the lives of her students, transforming their literacy skills through hands-on, active learning.

The film will air on Thurs., Mar. 28 at 8 p.m. on PBS SoCal and be available for streaming following the broadcast at pbssocal.org/freedomwriters.

Directed and executive produced by Don Hahn (The Gamble House, Maleficent, The Lion King) and produced by Lori Korngiebel (The Finest Hours, John Carter), “Freedom Writers: Stories from the Heart​” follows idealistic teacher Erin Gruwell as she tries to reach 150 at-risk students who were labeled “unteachable.” It’s 1994 and Long Beach, Calif. is a racially divided community filled with drugs, gang warfare and homicides. Inside the classroom, Gruwell encounters hostility, indifference and racial divisions between students. The struggle and strife on the streets has carried into the school halls.

Refusing to give up, Gruwell uses relevant literature and media to compare current reality in urban America to the worst examples throughout history of man’s inhumanity to one another. Her students are particularly inspired by the writings of Anne Frank and Zlata Filipovic. They ultimately choose to put down their weapons and pick up a pen. The once-hardened teens discover a new way to express themselves in order to embrace history, humanity and hope. By sharing their stories, they rewrite their futures and become catalysts for change.

Several community screenings of the film will be held at various colleges throughout Southern Calif. as listed below (*subject to change).  For more information about the film and attending the screenings, please go to pbssocal.org/freedomwriters.

  • Thurs., Feb. 28 at Chapman University at 7 pm
  • Tues., Mar. 6 at University of California Riverside at 7 pm
  • Wed., Mar. 13 at Cal State University Channel Islands at 5 pm
  • Thurs., Mar. 14 at University of California Irvine at 7 pm
  • Sun., Mar. 17 at the Museum of Tolerance at 6 pm
  • Tues., Mar. 19 at Cal State University San Bernadino at 6 pm
  • Wed., Mar. 20 at Cal State University Long Beach at 6 pm

Join the conversation on social media using @PBSSoCal and #FreedomWritersPBS

ABOUT PBS SOCAL

PBS SoCal delivers content and experiences that inspire, inform and entertain – over the air, online, in the community and in the classroom. We offer the full slate of beloved PBS programs including MASTERPIECE, NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Frontline, Independent Lens, a broad library of documentary films including works from Ken Burns; and educational PBS KIDS programs including Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Curious George. Our programs are accessible for free through four broadcast channels, and available for streaming at pbssocal.org, on the PBS mobile apps, and via connected TV services Android TV, Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. PBS SoCal is a donor-supported community institution that is a part of Public Media Group of Southern California, the flagship PBS station for 19 million diverse people across California.

Navy To Launch First All-Female Flyover To Honor Pioneer Fighter Pilot Rosemary Mariner

LinkedIn

Capt. Rosemary Mariner, one of the first female fighter jet pilots, died last week of ovarian cancer.

For the first time in military history, the Navy is deploying a ceremonial flyover with only female jet pilots to honor the death of retired Capt. Rosemary Mariner, the Navy’s first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet.

The flyover will take place during Mariner’s funeral service in Maynardville, Tennessee, on Saturday. The aeronautic display is known as a missing man flyover traditionally held in honor of pilots or military personnel.

Mariner, 65, died Jan. 24 after a five-year fight against ovarian cancer.

An aeronautics graduate of Purdue University, Mariner joined the Navy in 1973 after being one of eight of the first women to be admitted into military pilot training. During her military career, Mariner made history as the first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet ― specifically an A-4C and A-7E, according to her obituary ― and the first woman to command a military aviation squadron.

She earned a master’s in national security strategy from the National War College in Washington, D.C., and went on to serve in the Pentagon with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Her obituary noted that Mariner was grateful to the pioneers who paved the way for her career to flourish.

“My role models were African-American men who had led the vanguard in integration of race in the armed forces and studied many of the lessons that they had to pass on,” Mariner once said, according to NPR.

Continue onto the Huffington Post to read the complete article.

Kamala Harris Joins Democratic Presidential Field

LinkedIn

Senator Kamala Harris, the California Democrat and barrier-breaking prosecutor who became the second black woman to serve in the United States Senate, declared her candidacy for president on Monday, joining an increasingly crowded and diverse field in what promises to be a wide-open nomination process.

The announcement was bathed in symbolism: Ms. Harris chose to enter the race on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, an overt nod to the historic nature of her candidacy, and her timing was also meant to evoke Shirley Chisholm, the New York congresswoman who became the first woman to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for president 47 years ago this week.

In addition, Ms. Harris will hold her first campaign event on Friday in South Carolina, where black voters are the dominant force in the Democratic primary, rather than start off by visiting Iowa and New Hampshire, the two predominantly white states that hold their nomination contests first. She will hold a kickoff rally Sunday in Oakland, Calif., her hometown.

For the first time, the Democratic presidential race now includes several high-profile women, with Ms. Harris joining two other prominent senators who have announced candidacies, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New YorkRepresentative Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii Democrat, has also said she is running, and more women could enter the race in the coming weeks.

Ms. Harris made her announcement on “Good Morning America” and also released a video aimed at supporters and other Democrats.

“The future of our country depends on you, and millions of others, lifting our voices to fight for our American values,” Ms. Harris said in the video. She also debuted a campaign slogan that played off her background as a prosecutor: “Kamala Harris, for the people.”

Continue onto The New York Times to read the complete article.

Students In The Workplace Keep Industry And Academia On The Cutting Edge

LinkedIn

When college students can spend several months at top international firms like Goldman Sachs, they naturally come away with valuable résumé-building experience. But what’s often left out of the conversation is the value that students inject back into the business.

Joseph Camarda, a managing director in private wealth management at Goldman Sachs in San Francisco, cited this mutually beneficial exchange when explaining why the company has partnered with Drexel University in Philadelphia to place 145 students in cooperative education positions at its U.S. offices since 2014.

“They bring a young, vibrant, innovative mind to the team and that adds a value that we want to use over and over,” he said.

By collaborating with businesses, colleges and universities can deliver on the promise of relevance for career-minded students. From co-ops and internships, to mentoring and research opportunities, they can also invigorate programs on campus and bring value to firms.

Ashley Inman, a human resources expert who has worked with college interns in several industries, recalled one intern at a construction firm who developed an app for the company to better track inventory — a strategic innovation that helped streamline sales.

“Organizations can get stuck in their ways,” she said. “The value that the students bring is a fresh perspective.”

It’s part of the reason Goldman values its partnership with the university today — 13 years after the co-op relationship began with just a few students in the company’s Philadelphia office. A number of graduates since that time have gone on to work for Goldman full-time.

“The work ethic of these students is just phenomenal,” Camarda said. “It shows up every day.”

Real-Life Reciprocity

Students, in turn, bring valuable perspectives back to campus with them – including “bottom-line” urgency that can sometimes be lacking in academia, said Inman, who sits on the talent acquisition panel of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Strong and meaningful links to industry can inform curricula and programming on campus – helping to make sure academic offerings remain relevant to the needs of industry and students seeking jobs.

Higher education, however, has typically struggled to create and maintain those links, leading to a skills gap that leaves companies with jobs they can’t fill and students who can’t get jobs.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Is college the only path? Picking the education that’s best for you

LinkedIn

Is college the best choice for you?

For generations, high school students like you have been told that a college degree is the route to success and financial security.But it’s not the only way to go: in fact, while it may seem like all your friends are heading off to college, a large number of high school graduates—about 30 percent—don’t take the college path.

Finding happiness and success in your career should start with evaluating your goals, personality and interests because—luckily—you have options.

With costs rising, college can be a huge investment, and like any good investment you need to understand the risk, costs and potential value you can gain. Explore these higher education paths—and some tips for calculating the return on investment (ROI) of your education:

Depending on your course of study, a vocational training program can pay for itself within eight months of graduation—far quicker than a four-year degree. Lynnette Khalfani-Cox

A four-year college:

A four-year college degree is the most common—and one of the most lucrative—routes to take after high school. But even with a four-year degree, much of your ROI depends on what you choose to study: before picking a major, think about how much money you’ll need to fork over and the salary you can expect after you graduate.

Many online tools or apps, like the JA Build Your Future app from Junior Achievement USA, or College Scorecard from the US Department of Education, can give you a good idea of the ROI on your college degree. They factor in average debt, starting salary information, and more, and work with community colleges, as well as four-year colleges and universities.

  • Tuition: According to the College Board, the total in-state cost of attendance at a public four-year college averages $25,290 per year. At a private, nonprofit university, the cost is almost double that—$50,900 annually. That means the overall price tag is roughly $100,000-$200,000. Not surprisingly, 65 percent of college grads earning four-year degrees in 2017 ended up with student loans; their average amount of college debt topped $29,650.
  • Salary: The upside of paying higher tuition at a four-year school is that you’ll likely end up making more money. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median earnings for college grads with a four-year college degree is $61,724 annually. And salaries can go even higher, depending on the career you choose. People with advanced degrees typically earn bigger salaries—$1,512 weekly, or $78,624 yearly. Then again, advanced degrees also translate into extra tuition—another cost that you’ll need to factor into your ROI calculation. To avoid that extra cost, consider a bachelor’s degree with high earning potential for recent graduates like chemical or electrical engineering, which report salaries in the $70,000 – $75,000 range for recent grads.

Community college:

The National Center on Education Statistics shows that almost twice as many people attend two-year community colleges as those who attend four-year colleges and universities. At a community college, you can earn an associate’s degree after taking coursework in a general major—like business, biology, or communications—or in a specific vocational field, like nursing, criminal justice, or early childhood education. This coursework can prepare you for a bunch of careers, including medical assistant, police officer, oil and gas operator, or software or website developer.

  • Tuition: Community colleges are usually a lot less expensive than four-year schools: according to the College Board the total cost of attendance at a public, two-year community college averages $17,580 per year for in-district commuter students. That includes tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies, and transportation costs. Overall, that works out to $35,160 for a two-year associate’s degree. That’s about $66,000 less than what you would spend on in-state tuition and fees at a four-year public college.
  • Salary: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that people with a two-year degree earn a median salary of $825 a week or $42,900 annually. And while this salary might limit your ability to live in some quickly growing cities, there are a number of cities where you can live comfortably on less than 50,000 per year.
  • For some jobs requiring a two-year degree, the payoff is even higher. Air traffic controllers make a median income of $122,410, while dental hygienists average $72,910 and paralegals make $49,500.

Vocational training:

Vocational training, sometimes called technical training programs or trade schools, might be a good option if you prefer working with your hands, want to avoid a desk job, and only want to take training and instruction that is directly related to your future career. These programs commonly lead students into careers in hands-on trades like construction, metal work, masonry, and photography.

  • Tuition: The average cost for a vocational training program is $33,000 over a two year period, but many students can complete their vocational schooling in less than two years—especially those that enroll full-time in a trade school.
  • Salary: Salaries for hands-on trades vary widely, but jobs like installation, maintenance, and repair have median earnings of $950 a week, or $49,400 annually. With that kind of salary, your vocational training will pay for itself in just 8 months after your work start date.

Continue onto JP Morgan Chase to read the complete article.

‘Si, Se Puede’: With Inauguration, Latina Legislators Make History In Congress

LinkedIn

Congress’s youngest member, its first two Texan Latinas and first South American were sworn in on Thursday.

The youngest woman ever elected to Congress, first South American and first two Latinas from Texas: With their inauguration on Thursday, a group of Hispanic women made history in the 116th Congress.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., enters the Congress as its youngest woman elected and its current youngest member. Ocasio-Corterz, 29, of Puerto Rican descent, beat a veteran Democratic incumbent in the primaries with a grassroots campaign focusing on progressive policies such as “Medicare for all” as well as free higher education or trade school for all. She has publicly said she willoppose her own party’s rules against deficit spending if it takes money away from areas such as health care.

On Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted out a picture of her and other incoming women legislators with the phrase “Si, se puede,” (Yes, we can), the words that were coined by labor activist and United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta and then immortalized by President Barack Obama during his campaign.

Another women in the picture is Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, one of two Latinas who are the first to represent Texas in Congress.

Escobar takes the place of Beto O’Rourke, also a Democrat, in representing Texas’ 16th Congressional District, which includes the heavily Latino border area of El Paso. She was previously a county commissioner and county judge.

On Twitter, Escobar took on Trump’s insistence on $5 billion for a border wall — which has led to the current government shutdown — by writing that “the border has never been more secure” and “immigration is lower today than it was a decade ago.” Escobar instead argued for the need to work with Central American countries to address the root causes of migration.

Continue onto NBC News to read the complete article.