Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Job Search and Interview Tips for New Graduates

Congratulations new graduates! Whether it is a bachelor's or an advanced degree, this achievement is a major milestone in your life and beyond. The next step that dreads many new graduates is finding a job. Not just any position but one that will launch your career. It can be a stressful experience but it doesn't have to be if you follow the tips below on your job search and interviews.

Unsure on where to begin? Start with these job search tips from Pam Waits at Examiner.com:
  1. Create a LinkedIn profile. Make it as complete as possible. LinkedIn.com is a professional networking site used by most organizations. It is free to join.
  2. Look at the companies in the states and cities you're targeting and the kinds of jobs they offer.
  3. Prepare an elevator speech - a short description of who you are and what you're looking for.
  4. Reach out to individuals in your network. Tell them who you are, what you're doing now and ask for advice.
Unsure on how to prepare for an interview? Avoid these unforgivable interview mistakes that will make you lose a job offer by members of the Young Entrepreneur Council:
  1. You Constantly Interrupt
  2. You Still Behave Like You’re in College
  3. You Fail to Acknowledge Weaknesses
  4. You Lack Familiarity With the Company or Product
  5. You Show Up Late for the Interview
  6. You Don’t Clearly Answer the Question at Hand
  7. You Speak Poorly of Past Employers
  8. You Respond With, “I Don’t Do That”
  9. You Are Way Too Nervous
  10. You Seem Entitled
  11. You Don’t Take Our Mission Seriously
  12. You Dress Incorrectly

Saturday, May 21, 2016

GAO Report: School Segregation Is Worsening

62 years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down racial segregation in public schools in Brown v. Board of Education, school segregation still persists in a negative way. U.S. Representatives Bobby Scott (ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee) and John Conyers (ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee) asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine racial and socioeconomic integration in schools. Earlier this year, the White House announced a new grant program, Stronger Together, that seeks to improve socioeconomic integration in high-poverty, racially isolated schools. Nearly a half-century of research has shown the harmful effects of school segregation on academic achievement, student outcomes, high school completion rates, college attendance rates and occupational decisions later in life.

Earlier this week, the GAO released a report and found that America's public schools are still segregated by race and class. What’s more troubling is that segregation in public K-12 schools is rapidly worsening. The report shows that more than 20 million students of color now attend racially and socioeconomically isolated public schools. That is up from under 14 million students in 2001. The report also confirms that high-poverty, racially isolated schools are under-resourced and over-disciplined. Students attending these schools are less likely to have access to college preparatory curriculum such as AP/IB coursework and more likely to be suspended or expelled. It creates a school-to-prison pipeline rather than exposing children to resources and social networks that will enable them to succeed in life. Simply, the GAO found that our nation’s public schools are separate, and they are unequal.

“This GAO report confirms what has long been feared and proves that current barriers against educational equality are eerily similar to those fought during the civil rights movement,” said Rep. John Conyers. “There simply can be no excuse for allowing educational apartheid in the 21st century. Congress and the federal government, as well as state and local agencies, must ensure all children receive access to equal education at all publicly funded schools.” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said, “The findings of GAO confirm what we know to be true: that the promise of Brown remains a promise that has gone largely unfulfilled.”

What can you do? Call your representative and support the bill, HR 5260, the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act (co-sponsored by Scott and Conyers) to empower parents and communities to address – through robust enforcement – racial inequities in public education. This bill would amend Title VI (education) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars any entity that receives federal dollars from discriminating on the basis of race, color, or national origin, by restoring the individual right of action (lawsuit) in cases involving disparate impact. The bill would also create an assistant secretary of education to proactively monitor and enforce compliance with Title VI, and support newly required school district Title VI monitors.

School integration is not only a moral imperative; it is also an economic necessity. Too many children in high-poverty, racially-isolated schools are steered into low-paying jobs that perpetuates intergnerational poverty. race and poverty continue to be driver for inequities in education and that housing segregation patterns contribute to school segregation. It doesn't have to be this way. School integration benefits everyone, including white children (reduces prejudice and bias, greater awareness of different cultures; and ability to work with diverse populations). Help fulfill the promise of Brown.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Social Workers and Librarians Working Together to 'Humanize' the Homeless

In recent years, public libraries have increasingly hired social workers to help with at-risk populations get the resources they need. CityLab has an article about San Jose hiring the first library social worker to help connect the homeless patrons with assistance, mental services, and counseling. The homeless often take refuge at the public library where they find shelter from inclement weather and a daytime roof where they have access to media.
“These programs are humanizing homelessness throughout the library,” says Esguerra. “The library becomes a sanctuary for many of the patrons and our program helps them to feel safe again.”

Related content:

Monday, March 14, 2016

NYTimes: The Faces of American Power, Nearly as White as the Oscar Nominees

The New York Times published an article that reveals diversity statistics of the most powerful people in American culture, government, education, and business. Of the 503 most powerful people in the country, only 44 are from racial or ethnic minorities. The representation of minority leaders in the U.S. president’s cabinet is the most diverse, seven out of 17 members of President Barack Obama’s cabinet are from minorities.

The Atlantic: The Concentration of Poverty in American Schools

The Atlantic has a special report on the growing socioeconomic segregation in the nation's largest school districts. The sad reality is most African American and Hispanic students attend public schools where a majority of their classmates qualify as poor or low-income:
This systemic economic and racial isolation looms as a huge obstacle for efforts to make a quality education available to all American students. Researchers have found that the single-most powerful predictor of racial gaps in educational achievement is the extent to which students attend schools surrounded by other low-income students.

Underscoring the breadth of the challenge, the economic segregation of minority students persists across virtually all types of cities, from fast-growing Sunbelt places like Austin, Denver, Dallas, and Charlotte to struggling Rust Belt communities like Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee, to the nation’s largest metropolitan centers, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston. But cities, educators, and researchers are also exploring new ways to abate the negative impact of concentrated poverty on black and brown students.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

NASW: Social Workers in Government Agencies

In 2011, the NASW Center for Workforce Studies and Social Work Practice released the occupational profile, Social Workers in Government Agencies.

Social workers are key employees in federal, state, and local government agencies. Social workers may work on-site at a government agency; at a non-governmental agency whose client base is generated from their relationship with a government agency; or in a contracting relationship as independent consultants. The range of government settings in which social workers practice include: agencies serving children and families; health care settings; schools; federal, state or local correctional facilities; nursing homes and agencies in aging; and agencies serving military veterans and active duty military personnel. In the federal government, the larger employer of social workers include the Social Security Administration, Veterans Administration, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Justice; and Department of Health and Human Services.

The occupational profile is very comprehensive. However, my biggest complaint with this document is that it overlooks social workers in macro-level roles such as policy analyst, program specialist, or public health educator. A growing number of social workers have non-clinical job titles. For example, becoming a Presidential Management Fellow is one way to launch a macro social worker career in the federal government. Greater awareness of social workers pursuing careers in policy and program evaluation is necessary so that students who are interested in politics or public policy know their options.