Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas -- No New Posts Until 2012

This blog will take a short break to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. I will resume regular posts in January 2012. Merry Christmas and Have a Happy New Year!

In the meantime, you may listen to this lovely song by the late Karen Carpenter.

Remember: Please pray for those who are not as fortunate this Christmas weekend. Whether they need money or a home, let's hope their wishes are granted.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Job loss and foreclosure crisis takes toll on 31,000 kids in Michigan

This is very sad news and shows much the foreclosure crisis has inflicted families. It is no longer a racial or low-income problem. The bad economy is targeting middle-class families too. In Michigan, the number of homeless students in Michigan has jumped more than 300% in the last four years.
In the 2010-11 school year, more than 31,000 homeless students attended school -- 8,500 more than in the previous school year, a 37% spike attributed to the weak economy, loss of jobs and the foreclosure crisis. Overall, the number of homeless students in Michigan has jumped more than 300% in the last four years. Most experts say those numbers are low because many parents are embarrassed to admit they are homeless. And many school districts lack the resources to identify these kids, as required by federal law.

You can read more about the homeless student population below:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Census Update: 1 in 2 Americans Are Poor or Low-Income

More bad news for Americans. The U.S. Census Bureau recently released a report that states more Americans are falling into poverty.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans - nearly 1 in 2 - have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.

The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.

"Safety net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too 'rich' to qualify," said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor who specializes in poverty.

"The reality is that prospects for the poor and the near poor are dismal," he said. "If Congress and the states make further cuts, we can expect the number of poor and low-income families to rise for the next several years."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Charts: What Is Your Degree Worth?

The New York Times posted a chart that compares return on investment (R.O.I.) for professionals with a bachelor's and graduate degree by field or discipline. Meanwhile, there's another article arguing whether or not the Master's has become the New Bachelor's.

The median earnings for full-time workers with a bachelor's degree in education, social work, psychology was $42,000. With a graduate degree, that increases to $57,000 in education and $60,000 in social work and psychology. In the helping professions, a master's degree is almost necessary for entry-level wages and administrative responsibilities. The second chart below focuses on the postgraduate population by gender in the United States. Men are more likely to work in management, while women are clustered in the teaching and helping professions.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Young and Free Michigan: Get That Job! Tips

I watched this cool video from Young and Free Michigan blog on how to approach your job search in this economy. This is good advice for students and recent graduates.

Ever feel like you'll never get the job you want? has some tips for snagging that awesome career, and you can watch the video to learn about all of it. Isn't that nice?! Have a fantastic weekend!

Stay awesome,


Saturday, December 10, 2011

GLM Rankings 2012: Northwestern #2, Michigan #11

The Global Language Monitor ranks the top universities for 2012. Astonishingly, Northwestern (my alma mater) ranked #2 and the University of Michigan dropped a few spots to #11 (last year, they were #1). Congrats to both Wildcats and Wolverines!

After four tries, Harvard returned to the top ranking of American universities by Internet Media Buzz, edging out a strong challenge by Northwestern. The University of California, Berkeley, Columbia, Caltech, and MIT – all finishing within 1% of each other – took the No. 3 through No. 6 positions. Stanford returned to the Top Ten at No. 7, followed by the ever-strong Chicago, the University of Texas, and Cornell.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Applied to Penn GSE!

It's official -- I applied to the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn GSE). I believe this is the next step in my career development. Penn GSE offers many programs and research centers in different educational practice areas (school counseling, educational psychology, literacy studies, urban education, higher education management, and much more). The school also emphasizes diversity and community engagement, especially in the city of Philadelphia. In summary, I like how Penn GSE emphasizes people and community. In my social work program, I focused my assignments around diversity in higher education. Therefore, the field of education makes perfect sense for my personal and career goals. I also believe we as a society must reduce barriers to educational equity (such as poverty!) among low-income and minority communities. I should receive a decision letter hopefully by February 2012. Look forward to an update next year!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Review: Careers for Bookworms & Other Literary Types (2009)

Careers for Bookworms & Other Literary Types (4th Edition) (2009) by Marjorie Eberts and Margaret Gisler, provides practical advice on careers for book aficionados and researchers. The authors list possible job titles in this domain, such as reference librarian for the federal government, associate editor for a travel magazine, book reviewer for a trade magazine, and story analyst for a major Hollywood studio. They quote, "Bookworms are entranced by great literature, captivated by mysteries, enthralled by biographies, fascinated by histories, attracted to nonfiction, and drawn to all books, from encyclopedia to bestsellers."

Job possibilities in this book cover careers in libraries, book publishing, magazines and newspapers, the Internet, entertainment and public relations, education, research, public sector and private sector. Of course, there's the ultimate career for a true bookworm: being an author and writing books. Each chapter contains a brief overview of the history of each field, types of work environment, job qualifications, educational requirements, description of sample job titles, future employment outlook, and list of professional associations and books for further reading.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

NYTimes: The Working Poor in America

Since October 2011, the New York Times has been publishing an investigative series about the "Near Poor" (or Working Poor, in my opinion) in America. These are individuals and families who earn too much to qualify for welfare assistance but earn too little to improve their economic situation. Incomes varies by region (as low as $20,000s in the Midwest and South to as high as $50,000s on the East and West Coasts). They may live in neighborhoods or older suburbs undergoing decline, live paycheck to paycheck (just one disaster can ruin their finances), are drowning in debt, and/or may not have health insurance provided by their employer. The young and the elderly struggle to feed their children and keep a roof over their heads.

I congratulate the NYTImes and the U.S. Census Bureau for looking into this growing, but often overlooked, population because the standard federal poverty definition does not calculate the earnings of the working-poor. For instance, you may earn 200% above the poverty line, but the local cost-of-living may force you to cut back financially. In the past decade, many middle-class families are falling into the working-poor category. Unfortunately, many public officials (whose hands are tied to Wall Street) turn a blind eye to their growing pressing needs. This is why the Occupy Wall Street movement is expanding across the nation. It's time to wake up, America.

You may access all the articles below: