Learning and rebuilding in Ferguson


The shooting death of Michael Brown sparked peaceful and violent protests in Ferguson, Mo.  Credit: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, J.P. Forbes/AP

The fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer — and the unrest that followed — are now the subject of lessons at colleges near the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, reports Katherine Mangan in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Cindy Epperson, professor of sociology at St. Louis Community College at Meramec, teaches Crime and Society and Introduction to Sociology.  She plans to diagram “Michael Brown and the groups that surround him—the grieving family and the grieving community—and how his death connected him to a community of strangers. We’ll talk about how the life and death of this young man will lead to social change.”

We’ll also talk about debunking stereotypes and myths. Most of the looters shown in the media were black, so people who believe this is what black people do are going to say, “See, I told you so.” But what we do in sociology is look at how many people were there and how many were not looting. How many were opportunists whose actions had nothing to do with the death of Michael Brown?

My colleagues and I have spent time with the protesters in Ferguson, trying to get our heads around what’s happening. We want students to start thinking critically about how the events relate to each other and about possible solutions. Why are there only three African-American officers out of 53 when 63 percent of Ferguson is African-American? What kinds of attitudes might be preventing people from becoming police officers, and how can the college be part of the solution?

Centene, a managed-care company, plans to build a claims center in Ferguson that will create 150 to 200 full-time jobs, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  The company hopes to open a temporary facility in Ferguson by the end of the year.

“It is time for action, not talk,” Centene chairman and CEO Michael Neidorff said in a written statement.

St. Louis Community College will provide targeted job training for the new employees.

Rah, rah, EveRy U

Via The College Fix, here’s an “honest” university ad.

Best associate-degree jobs

Associate Degrees
Source: DegreeQuery.com

Will employers value your online degree?

Employers value online degrees — in certain circumstances, according to Drexel University Online.

Drexel University Online vs Traditional Degrees

Top job: dental hygienist

The best jobs of 2013 — ranked by pay, work environment, stress and job opportunities — start with actuary, biomedical engineer, software engineer and audiologist, according to CareerCast.  Dental hygienist, ranked sixth, is the top job that requires only an associate degree.  Pay averages $68,250  and demand is growing rapidly, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Worst jobs are enlisted military personnel, lumberjack and, bottom of the barrel, newspaper reporter.

You don’t need a BA to work at McDonald’s

Job seekers don’t need a bachelor’s degree and experience to work at McDonald’s, reports the Boston Globe.

An independent job search site inaccurately claimed the McDonald’s in Winchendon, Massachusetts was looking for college graduates with one to two years of experience to work as cashiers.

McD’s ad seeks 4-year degree for cashier job

McDonald’s cashiers need a bachelor’s degree and one to two years of experience, according to a want ad for a McDonald’s in Winchedon, Massachusetts. “Get a weekly paycheck with a side order of food, folks and fun,” says the ad.

Is it for real? If it’s a joke, nobody’s laughing.

High pay, no bachelor’s degree

Air traffic controllers average more than $100,000 a year — without a bachelor’s degree, reports the Wall Street Journal. Also  lucrative: radiation therapist, dental hygienist, nuclear medicine technologist and fashion designer.

Colleges pushed to disclose grads’ earnings

As student debt mounts, colleges and universities face pressure to disclose their graduates’ earnings, writes Jon Marcus for the Hechinger Report.

Joyce English was about to start studying toward an associate degree she hoped would lead to a job as a consultant to healthcare companies around Tacoma, Wash., where she lives.

Then she discovered a database created by the state’s workforce training agency estimating what she’d earn with that degree versus how much she could make in other jobs with other majors and degrees from colleges and universities across the state.

. . . “You obviously want something out of your education,” says English, who changed her mind and is now majoring in what she learned is the more lucrative field of business management at Pierce College. “You don’t want to go into something that’s going to pay you less than it cost to go to college.”

Washington, Florida Arkansas, Tennessee and Virginia have released wage information by major, degree and institutution. Colorado, Nevada and Texas will do so soon. Congress is considering a bill that would require every college to disclose the average annual earnings of its graduates.

“I can imagine some hard questions being asked” by parents, students and legislators armed with knowledge like this, says Mark Schneider, a vice president at the American Institutes for Research and president of College Measures, which is helping states create such earnings databases.

. . . nearly 90 percent of incoming freshmen say the main reason they enrolled in college was “to be able to get a better job,” UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute reports. “And probably 100 percent of their parents say that,” says Schneider.

“It’s the no-name comprehensives, the regional campuses, the third-tier not-for-profits—their business model is going to be held up and people are going to ask about it,” Schneider says. “ ‘Why are you charging me $40,000 a year? What’s the outcome at the end of the day? What am I getting for all this time and money?’ ”

Higher-education leaders worry students will shun the liberal arts in favor more lucrative majors.

“Follow your passion” should be the message, not “show me the money,” says Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.  “Your college decision should be about becoming an educated person—giving yourself a resource that will increase in value your entire life, finding something you care deeply about, and developing the skills to go on learning what you need to learn.”

10 top jobs for two-year graduates

The 10 top-paying jobs for associate degree graduates are lead by air traffic controller (median pay of $108,040), construction manager ($83,860) and radiation therapist ($74,980), according to NerdWallet.

Among fast-growing jobs, occupations requiring an associate’s degree had the highest average growth — 35 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Health care jobs are driving the rapid expansion of jobs requiring a two-year degree.

Three careers made the high-pay and high-growth list: registered nurse, medical sonographer and dental hygienist.

 Top Jobs Requiring an Associate’s by Median Pay