Greatra Mayana

Career & Employment Opportunities

Fed Listens: Perspectives on Maximum Employment and Price Stability: Opening Remarks and Panel 1

Welcome to the room
where members of the Board of Governors and the presidents
of the 12 Reserve Banks meet eight times
a year—most recently, just a couple of weeks ago—to decide the stance
of monetary policy. It’s, as you can see,
a magnificent, rather formal—perhaps
even imposing—room, with 26-foot ceilings,
a monumental marble fireplace, and a 1,000-pound brass
and glass chandelier. And it’s seen a lot of history
since Franklin Roosevelt dedicated this building in 1937. British and American
military leaders conferred here
during World War II. And, through the decades,
our Federal Reserve predecessors grappled with financial turmoil
and the economy’s ups and downs. So when my colleagues and I
take our assigned places around this polished mahogany
and granite table, the setting and its history lends a certain
formality—perhaps, even stuffiness—to
the proceedings. As we kick off this,
the 12th of 14 Fed Listens events, Governor
Brainard, Governor Bowman, and I hope that today’s meeting
is anything but stuffy. Candid and serious, yes,
but not stuffy. The Federal Reserve Banks
and the Board have been holding Fed Listens
events around the country as part of a comprehensive
public review of our monetary policy
strategy, tools, and communications
practices. Almost all of the Fed
Listens events, like this one,
have been open to the press and live-streamed
on the internet. Both the breadth and
transparency of the review are unprecedented for us. One reason we are conducting
this review is that it is always a good practice
for any organization to occasionally
take a step back and ask if it could be doing
its job more effectively. But we must pose that question
not just to ourselves. Because Congress has granted
the Federal Reserve significant protections from
short-term political pressures, we have an obligation
to clearly explain what we are doing and why.
And we have an obligation to actively engage
the people we serve so that they and their
elected representatives can hold us accountable. We’ve invited you here because
we want to better understand how monetary policy
affects the lives of the people
your organizations represent: union members,
small business owners, residents of low-
and moderate-income communities, retirees, and others. We want to hear
your perspectives and those of the people you
represent on maximum employment and price stability—the
monetary policy goals that Congress has assigned us. Now is a good time
to conduct this review. Unemployment is at
a half-century low, and inflation
is running close to, but a bit below,
our 2 percent objective. While not everyone fully shares
economic opportunities, and the economy does face
some risks, overall, the economy is—as I like
to say—in a good place. Our job is to keep it there
as long as possible. While we believe our strategy
and tools have been and remain effective,
the U.S. economy, like other advanced
economies around the world, is facing longer-term
challenges—from low growth, low inflation,
and low interest rates. While slow growth is obviously
not good, you may be asking, “What’s wrong with low inflation
and low interest rates?” Low can be good,
but when inflation—and, consequently,
interest rates—are too low, the Fed and other central banks
have less room to cut rates to support the economy
during downturns. So, in this review, we are
examining strategies that might better allow us
to symmetrically and sustainably achieve
2 percent inflation. Doing so would help
prevent inflation expectations among consumers, businesses, and
investors from slipping too low, as they appear to have done in several advanced economies
around the world. More-firmly anchored
expectations, in a virtuous circle, would help keep actual inflation
around our target, thus preserving our ability
to change interest rates as appropriate
to meet our mandate. We are also looking at whether
our existing monetary policy tools will be adequate
when the next downturn comes. Finally, we are asking whether our communications
practices can be improved to better support
the effectiveness of our policy. After today, we have two
Fed Listens sessions remaining, both later this month: one in Kansas City
and another in Chicago. At the July meeting of the
Federal Open Market Committee, my colleagues and I
began discussing what we’ve learned so far
in these sessions. We continued that discussion
at our September meeting and have a lot of work
left to do. We plan to publicly report
our conclusions during the first
half of next year. One clear takeaway
of the sessions so far is the importance
of sustaining our historically
strong job market. People from low-
and moderate-income communities tell us this long recovery,
now into its 11th year, is benefiting them
and their neighbors to a degree that has not
been felt for many years. Employers are partnering
with community colleges and nonprofit organizations
to offer training. And people who have struggled
to stay in the workforce in the past
are getting new opportunities. So, once again, welcome. Now it is your turn to speak,
and we’ll be listening. Thank you. All right. Well, I am excited
to join the Chair in welcoming you all here today.
One of the most valuable things that I have found
in assessing monetary policy is how critical it is
to travel around the country and just hear directly
from Americans about how they’re experiencing
the economy in their communities. And that’s why it was
so important to us, as we embarked on
this monetary policy review, to go around the country
and host panels in Fed Listens. I went to two different
Fed Listens events. I learned a huge amount.
And that’s why we’re here today—is to get views
about the communities that you’re working with
and hear a bit about how they are
experiencing the economy. We’re very fortunate, I think,
in the U.S. that Congress put
maximum employment right at the heart
of our mandate along with price stability,
given how central wage income is for the large majority
of American households. Our full employment mandate
has served the country very well during this extended recovery. One thing that we’ve learned
over the course of this recovery—I think the Chair
was referring to that—is, there is no single number
we can put on maximum employment that lets us know we’re there. And that’s why we need
to hear from people, how they’re experiencing
the labor market. So, with that, I want to turn
to each of our panelists. We’re going to start with that
focus on maximum employment, and then I’m going to turn over
to Governor Bowman to talk about the second leg
of our dual mandate. But let me start
by asking each of you to introduce yourselves
and your organization, and then we’ll just jump
into a conversation. So, Denise,
shall I start with you? And then we’ll just
work our way up. Sure. Thank you.
I’m really pleased to be here. I’m Denise Scott. I’m the executive vice president
at LISC [Local Initiatives Support
Corporation]. I manage all of LISC programs
across the country. We are—annually, we invest
about a billion dollars a year in community
revitalization efforts, partnering with government
and the private sector, communities, banks,
philanthropic community, and the like.
We’re in about 45 cities, including urban and rural—in
about 2,000 rural communities. And the work that we do—really,
our lens is comprehensive. So we believe that
it’s—there’s no one remedy that really is going
to solve a problem. And so we’re looking
at strategies everywhere, everything from conserving
affordable housing, working with small businesses
and entrepreneurs, helping residents to gain skills
and the education and training that they need to secure
living-wage jobs. We’re also investing
in health-care programs and schools and rec centers
and the like. Our work impacts millions
of people across the country. I just wanted to take a moment
to share a few stats with you, acknowledging ahead of time
that, for all that we do, the scale of the problem
is so immense that it really still
isn’t enough, but we still take pride in what
we are able to accomplish. So, with that,
one of our signature strategies, which was actually innovated
by the Social Innovation Fund a while back,
is what we call Financial Opportunity Centers. And here is where we are
really serving hundreds of thousands of people to do financial coaching
and education, helping them with financial
stability types of training to help build credit,
develop savings, and maybe even grow assets. This has been
immensely successful, because what we’re finding is that the training
is not just enough, and so when you combine
the other aspects of financial-feasibility
focus for families, that you end up with folks who are really more—stay more
attached to the workforce. We’re also financing schools
and daycare centers, over 400 affordable
housing homes and apartments over the years,
lots of community space that’s really supporting
some small businesses, arts and culture programs,
recreation, and the like. On the policy front, what’s becoming more
and more interesting for us is, how do we forge more
multisector partnerships? And, especially, I’ll call out
a growing partnership between ourselves
and the health systems sector. And just yesterday,
as a matter of fact, we announced the partnership
with Sentara Health System and Optima Health
in Hampton Roads, $100 million investment
under the banner of social determinants
of health, the health-care center, recognizing that perhaps
the issues that impact health might have a lot to do
with things like housing and jobs, educational levels,
and neighborhood conditions. And so, more and more,
that’s become a focus. I’ll just end my introduction
by just focusing just a little bit
on the small business sector. Just to say that
we’ve been investing in business-type
ventures with not-for-profits
over the years, are really forging
more of an effort to focus on small businesses. Later on, I could talk more
about what’s in our way. But, at the end of the day, the question for us
around full employment, attachment to the labor
market—the impact that this has on our families. We are beginning
to call our work on the economic development
and employment front a focus on the social determinants
of employment. And so I’d like to be able
to share more about that as we talk.
Thank you. MR. MOUTRAY. Thank you, Denise. So I’m Chad Moutray.
I’m the chief economist at the National Association
of Manufacturers. Today is Manufacturing Day,
so Happy Manufacturing Day. We are having about
2,800 events plus around the country
to celebrate manufacturing, to celebrate its importance
in the overall economy, and hopefully
to change people’s minds about it being
a great career to go into. It’s also—next year
is our 125th anniversary. So the NAM was founded
in 1895 in Cincinnati. And so you’ll be seeing a lot
from us—just think of “Got milk” but for manufacturing. Over the next year,
lots of activities planned under our
“Creators Wanted” banner, with an event kind
of culminating next year in September—think,
again, “South by Southwest” except for manufacturing—in
Cincinnati in September. So that’s all
kind of exciting. So I’m chief economist
at the NAM. I’m the chief
and only economist. But I also straddle over into
the Manufacturing Institute, which is our 501(c)
(3), which really, really
dedicates itself quite a bit to the issue of the skills gap
and finding training. So we know, for instance, that
the inability to find talent is the number one issue
for our members. It’s trade as well,
but, certainly, we hear an awful lot about
just the fact that there’s just not
enough talent out there, and we’ll be talking
about that, I’m sure. And the institute is doing a
number of things in that space, including working
to create more veterans and—to attract more veterans
to go into manufacturing, to attract more women
to go into manufacturing. We just acquired
the Fame Program from Toyota, so that’s helping
to expand apprenticeships in the manufacturing space. And so there’s a number of
things that we are doing besides Manufacturing Day, which is
hopefully helping to highlight that as a sector
and as a career. Hi, how are you?
My name’s Melinda Mack. I’m the executive director
of New York State’s Workforce
Development Association, also known as the New York
Association of Training and Employment
Professionals. It’s that name because
it was founded in 1978, so we probably could have
a much snazzier name if we renamed it now. So similar to some of the other
groups that are up here, our organization is focused
primarily on education, job training,
and employment services. So I represent
around 200 members who serve over a million
and a half New Yorkers each year around education,
job training, and employment. It includes our
community college systems, our local workforce
development boards, career centers, many
community-based organizations and providers,
and labor unions. I think, for us—the conversation
for me is, I’m thrilled to be here
and also excited that you’re seeing
this dual mandate as a critical role and aspect
of the work that you do, primarily because it’s not just
about maximum employment, it’s about meaningful
employment. And so, I think,
I’m excited to talk to you a little bit about today
what we’re seeing on the ground when it comes to the quality
and the types of jobs that many of our members
are seeing—folks who typically aren’t entering
into the labor market, what they’re accessing,
and their ability to move up as well as the wages
associated with that work. Our job in our state has been
to be sort of the primary advocates for the job
training component, but also this concept
of really thinking thoughtfully
about the connection between economic
and workforce development. Similar to Denise, this movement
towards capital-driven workforce development—meaning
human capital-driven workforce development and economic
development—is critical. I think for too long
the piece of the pie has been just around
the built space, not recognizing the impact
on the people who live
in those communities, right? And so I think we’re sort of
seeing a movement towards that in New York State but, more broadly,
this thoughtfulness around, what does it mean
to live and work and grow in a community along
with the built environment? So, again, I’m happy to be here,
and thank you very much. Thank you so much. My name is Sara Horowitz,
and I’m the CEO of Trupo, which is a start-up
in New York, and we are providing the next
civic infrastructure for this new workforce. I’ll tell you a little bit about
my history and how we got there, because I think
that would be helpful. I started the Freelancers Union
about 20 years ago, with the realization
that the workforce that was not the traditional
employee workforce, where people go to one job
for 40 hours a week, are able to access
training programs and other kinds of services, are really left to figure
this all out for themselves. Where are we now? It’s about a third
of the workforce and growing. And what is so important is that
we’re starting to understand it. I think the first bite
that we’ve taken is to think about it
as the gig economy, but the gig economy is really
about 6 percent of the economy. It’s really the people who are
working on the platforms, and it’s very litigated
right now as to whether these workers are independent contractors
or employees. But if we start to move
from this little bite size and go across,
we see that, actually, we’re talking about a very
robust part of the economy that crosses class
and economic lines. It crosses skill lines. It crosses regional lines,
race, gender. And so really what we’re
talking about is the future. And so, when I was
at the Freelancers Union and started the work—as
Lisa and I, who you’ll hear from next time,
and others were talking about: What is going to be
the next safety net? And that really was the thread
to start to build the first
portable benefits systems that built on the great work
of the building trades unions and the entertainment unions
that really built the first
portable benefits systems. And so we built a $100 million
insurance company. And after the ACA,
we had to sort of move and figure out
what’s going to be next. And so I then realized that
we needed to start a start-up, because, just like every part
of American history, the people who are affected,
I believe, have to come together to start to build
the solutions for themselves, to start to come together
mutualistically to build the first kinds
of benefits structures—so, to provide some
for health insurance, dental, accident,
any kind of benefit. And what we found is that the
whole risk profile in America has changed
from very long-term risk to extremely short-term risk, which—the great Fed statistic
of the average American doesn’t have
$400 saved. And so, what I would say is the—of the main things
I would really like to focus on is that this workforce
is beyond the gig economy. It is just so much broader,
number one. Number two, we really don’t have
a safety net for them. And as we get to
some of these questions, we’ll particularly see
that that’s important with regard to unemployment
insurance and training. And the third is that we’re just
going to have to open our minds and open our politics up,
because the two dimensionality that we’re going
to find ourselves in is not going to lead us
to these solutions. And, again, it’s going to be, make the path by walking
and starting to show. We will start
to build these models, and the role of government
will be to support the models, not to take over them.
So thank you. Greg. Thank you very much.
First, thank you very much, Mr. Chair and Governors,
for having us here today and for even opening up
the doors to the Federal Reserve so many folks can be heard. And you can—there is nothing
like hearing folks who are feeling some of
the challenges of today, the economy, notwithstanding
the experiences that others are having as well. So I serve as the president
of Broward College out of Fort Lauderdale
in Broward County, Florida. My name is Greg Haile. I’ve been serving in that role
for about 16 or so months now and was general counsel
and VP for government affairs about eight years before that,
before assuming this position. And when I was talking to our
board about pursuing this role, one of the most important things
that we talked about was how was it we were going to make
a difference in the communities that otherwise don’t feel
that different through postsecondary education. We are essentially
a community college that started offering
baccalaureate degrees in 2007; we have 10 baccalaureate
degrees now. We are an open
access institution. About 70 percent of our students
receive Pell Grants, which essentially means they’re coming from
the lower-income levels. And we have about 63,000
students at Broward College, making us one of
the largest institutions in America
of postsecondary education, and we have about
5,000 incredible faculty, staff, as well as students that
make us a great institution. In fact, the Aspen Institute
has ranked us in the top 10 of all community
or state colleges in the country,
out of well over a thousand, as one in the top 10
on three occasions. And so we’ve been very excited about the work
that we’ve been doing. But notwithstanding the success
that we’ve had historically, it becomes incumbent upon us
to think about what differences
we can make for those who are not necessarily
benefiting from this economy, and we know that
postsecondary attainment is critical
to economic success. Every economist
will tell you that. But notwithstanding,
we know there are people who are not getting
that exposure. One of the data points
that we really focus on at Broward College is a reality
that at about 50 years ago, the bottom quartile
of income earners had about 6 percent of their
kids graduating from college, and the top quartile
of income earners had about 40 percent
of their kids graduating from college—with
baccalaureate degrees, that is. You fast forward
to close to today, and we’re looking
at the top quartile going from 40 percent
of their kids going to graduating from college
to 77 percent or thereabout, and the bottom quartile going
from 6 percent of their kids graduating from college
to a mere 9 percent. And so what we have been
aggressively working on is, how do we change that pattern
of postsecondary access, opportunity, and attainment? And I’ll even tell you a quick
story—that I grew up in South Jamaica,
Queens, New York, at a very difficult time
during the ’80s and ’90s, and my mother decided that
she would send me to school in a better neighborhood
about an hour away. I was in third grade,
I started that. And then,
in the sixth grade—it was 1989, and I was graduating
from elementary school, and I was excited about it. And I actually told a classmate,
“Isn’t this amazing? We’re going to be
the last class of the decade!” And he immediately
responds to me, “No, we’re going to be the last
class of the millennium, because we’re going to
graduate college in 1999.” And that’s the first time I’d
ever heard the word “college.” I got lucky.
And it was a fickle experience. And so the goal of us
as an institution is to ensure, how do we eliminate
the component of luck, but make it a matter
of clear opportunity that is available
to all those who need it? So thank you very much. I look forward
to continuing the discussion. Well, thank you. So this morning we heard
unemployment: 3.5 percent. I mean, if you thought
10 years ago—right?—3.5 percent would have been quite
a jaw-dropping number—lowest unemployment rate
we’ve seen in 50 years. Does it feel like full
employment in your community or the people that you’re
helping to connect to jobs or the people that you’re
helping to provide security for? Does it feel like
full employment? And how does that differ
from, perhaps, how it might’ve felt
10 years ago? And, you know—Denise,
do you want to jump in? And then we can move around. In many markets, it does not
feel like full employment, and it doesn’t for a number
of reasons—in part, back to the concept of social
determinants of—of employment, there are so many variables that really impact the ability
of people to get a job, to stay attached
to the workforce, to skill up in the workforce,
and all of this. And then, the barriers
are anything from the quality
of the housing you live in—is
it making you sick? Are you missing work
because of it? Do you have to move so often that you can’t maintain
enough time to get tenure in a job
so that you can advance? Or are you in a situation
where even though employers—and in this market,
employers tend to reach down, they are looking for more
diversity in the workforce. They’re looking for—they’re
willing to make concessions, which is all a good thing. And so, people maybe with not
the right amount of skills, but the right basic skill sets
are employable in this market. But you’re not employable
if you’re in a rural community and you can’t get to work
because you need a car or some way to use—some form
of access in order to get there. So those are
some of the barriers. We talk to employers who tell us
that they really do want to see that workforce
at the entry level move up, but it’s so unstable. Their attachment to that
workforce is so sporadic that what ends up happening
is that the movement of people really in search of housing
is causing this nonattachment. Or that there are
training programs that might be available, but the length of time
of the training program becomes a barrier, in the sense that people
would prefer to take a low wage—not necessarily a job
where you can advance, because it’s immediately
available, whereas a training program
will take a lot longer for you to prepare for. In Denver, the city decided, along with the number
of employers, to enlist the housing
authority—that maybe a good option might be
to offer a rental subsidy. And so it started there for us. A subsidy that provides
some years of stability for a family
in housing in hopes that they can stay attached
to the workforce long enough that from there
they’ll be able to propel. Right now
it’s a three-year program, probably not nearly enough years
in a way, considering what
we’re trying to overcome, but better than
the circumstances that they were in before. This is one strategy that seems
to be taking up a lot of steam. In some places—we just opened
an office in Charlotte, and there the city and
the health-care sector—again, the health-care sector—there’s
entry-level people who they—people
who want to work, that’s not the question,
and jobs that are available. And so that’s another place
where we’re in partnership with government
and the private sector, the health-care sector—we’re
likely to build housing, workforce housing. So more and more of our efforts
were—we’re racking our brains and trying to figure out
how to make opportunity zones work for workforce housing. So housing sort of really
stands up as a big factor. But in places like Chicago
and Detroit and a whole bunch
of our neighborhoods where the regional
economy [unemployment rate] may be at 4 or 5 percent—in
our neighborhoods, it’s at 20 percent
or 25 percent, and all of that
because of some of the things that we’re talking about.
So I could maybe stop there and let some of
my colleagues jump in. Demand is there,
and opportunities— Opportunities
and jobs are there. —may be there, but it’s—there
are structural barriers to connecting with
those opportunities, including rising expenses. Including expenses. I mean,
rural is a whole another story, but I’ll just call out the
transportation component there. But it’s not the only barrier,
but it’s a big one. Whether or not people
have been attached to the criminal justice system. And even though
it’s less of a barrier now, it is still a barrier, because not all employers have
reached the point of comfort about how to engage
and employ folks coming out of criminal justice. So many of the strategies that
we’re deploying are really trying to break down
those barriers and trying to find ways
to help people to become more
permanently attached. The goal, at the end of the day, is to try to put people
in living-wage jobs. So whether—in some cases, we’re
attempting to create those jobs, and then we have a better—maybe
a better opportunity to attach people that
we’re—that we want to serve. But in many instances, we’re working
in the—in the market, and the goal is to figure out how to make a person
attractive to an employer. Another sector that’s really
starving for workers is the construction
industry—lots of skilled jobs that are going unfilled. In some cases—like, for welders,
for example—not a very long training program
that’s involved. But still, it’s a barrier
to people who, for all the other reasons, need to have that job
that might pay less, but it’s available right now, and they don’t have
to go through the training. So, on the employer side, there
are probably way too many jobs. And I think that that’s a reason
for us to put a lot more time
and attention on how to bring those—break
down the barriers and attach people to work. The opportunities exist
while this market is strong. It’ll be
a different—as you said, it’ll be a different ballgame
when the market changes. And so we’re losing
a lot of time, in a way, that we don’t have
stronger strategies to remove these barriers. Greg. Yes, please.
I completely appreciate what Denise is saying
around—particularly the opportunities
and the barriers that exist, particularly when you talk
about postsecondary attainment. Some of the barriers
are a little amorphous, right? You’re talking about communities
that—they don’t have family members who’ve gone to college,
they don’t have neighborhoods, they don’t have friends
that they could rely on and don’t necessarily
perceive college or postsecondary attainment as an obvious next step
for them in life. And in the worst case scenarios, like many of the students
who are with us, they may have been told that
they’re not capable. All right? So we’re trying to address some of those
more amorphous challenges, but then there’s just
the reality of, I can’t get from one place
to the next. And perhaps it’s because
our students are average age 27 years old, they’re working,
they’re part time, they have children, they have
a lot of other obligations. And so one of the things
that we think about doing is, how do we make sure that we are
actually penetrating communities and making sure we’re doing
the best that we can to ensure that
opportunity is available to us? Most of us in this room
probably have college degrees. If we have children, we’ve probably
talked to our children at a very young age
about the potential for them to achieve
postsecondary education. And so we’re not necessarily
going to be in everyone’s homes, but as a postsecondary
institution, we talk about how we can own
some of this challenge. And so when I became president
last year, one of the things that I asked
our team to do immediately was—notwithstanding the 3.3
percent unemployment rates—to take a look at what are
the college-going rates and postsecondary
attainment rates, as well as
the unemployment rates, in every city and every zip code
in Broward County. And, as Denise mentioned, notwithstanding
that broad-based, very healthy unemployment rate,
we saw a number of zip codes with 10-plus
percent unemployment. And, of course the corollary
was that they had very low
postsecondary attainment rates. And if you talk to our students, you’ll hear the voice
of the students who say, “I walk four miles every day
to get to class.” Well, I love the will
that that student has, but there is a reality
that many folks cannot overcome that distance. And so what we’ve actually
started to do is actually bring
postsecondary education into the communities
that need them most. Oftentimes we sit
and wait and say, “If the students can get to us,
then we’ll take care of those. And if you can’t, well,
I hope you can figure it out.” And one of the things that we’re
hoping for on a broader scale but certainly we’re doing
at Broward College is saying, what of
these challenges can we own? One, if we go
into your community, the heart of a community where
perhaps it’s $24,000 a year is the average income
for the family, if we can place ourselves in
the center of those communities and live there
and provide postsecondary attainment—not
bounce in and out, but to live
in those communities so that when a student
or a mother or a father is walking between their home
and the bus station, they know that
postsecondary opportunity is available right
in their community. And so, in the last year so,
we’ve been able to do this, and we’ve been able to grow
some of this work as well. Now, many would think, are you going to have
a new building there, particularly at a time
when per capita funding for state colleges is down? No, we’re not going
to be able to do that. But there is
the opportunity to partner. And so we’ve been partnering
with organizations like the Boys
and Girls Club and the Jack and Jill Children’s
Center and library systems where we can actually live
in those organizations, providing classes
that can be available to the parents of the kids that are typically served
in those organizations. Or you look at
the library system, which is typically
underutilized. They have space for classrooms,
they have technology, the infrastructure is there. And so we’ve partnered with
classrooms and organizations like the Urban League, which
have great—been great partners. And not only that, we’re watching
municipalities really engage. They know their constituency. They know what
their numbers are. They know the pain that their
citizens are going through. But, most importantly,
they know that if postsecondary
opportunities were available, they could change the face
of their communities. And so now we’re partnering
with municipalities, providing classes
and coursework living in those communities
that are embracing us. And so, in the last year alone, we’ve been able to serve
nearly 700 students by way of going
through these programs. We’re now getting the stories
coming in where students are going
through the programs. In fact, some of them
have lost jobs. They’ve been able to get
a certificate—just a certificate—in supply
chain management or IT or aviation,
and be able to now translate that certificate into jobs
making $50,000—opportunities that otherwise
would not be there. So I think about how we can be
more creative about getting into
those communities where we know those attainment
rates are very low. And then, even from a policy
perspective, how do we own that? What are we trying
to do for attainment rates in those most
challenged communities? How are colleges
trying to enroll—increase the enrollment of students from those most
challenged communities? And then, of course,
as we look at social mobility and economic mobility, how well are colleges
playing in that space? The program we’ve designed
is called “Broward Up,” designed for students who are
coming from these communities. “U-P,” standing for
“unlimited potential,” with the recognition
that everyone has the ability, but the limitations
on opportunity are what we need to be embracing
on behalf of our students and working with them to ensure
that the opportunity is there. Sara, I’m going to just ask you
to reflect a little bit on the kinds
of workforce attachments, the folks that you’re
focused on—does that vary over the course of the cycle? Are there more people
that might be freelancing or, you know,
sort of self-employed now or perhaps at the depths
of the recession? Or is this just
a structural trend? Yes. You know, if I could just
go back for one—one thing. I think one thing that’s
interesting is, as we are, as a panel, sort of seeing
the 360 as the whole, I would say that freelancers really are—there is
a lot more work than there was, certainly, after,
you know, the recession. The real story, I think, is the hollowing out
of the middle class, that they’re really not making
the same amount of money in real dollars,
which I think is shocking. So I speak with
so many freelancers, and what they will say is,
“I’m a graphic designer,” “I’m a content provider,” “I literally am making
less money than I did before.” And because they’re
independent contractors, they don’t have
the right to unionize. And so it’s very difficult
for them to engage in any kind
of collective relationship, which would have the effect
of bringing up those wages. Now, what I think is interesting is that you could almost see
the rate at which freelancing has gone up nationally,
if you look sector by sector. So if you looked at it,
maybe, in the 1970s, you’d be seeing it
in media and publishing. But now what you see is
that almost every single sector has a freelance component to it.
So, I think, that’s one thing. The second is, I think that
we’re just seeing the rise of just an incredible number
of work platforms that are coming out
so that there’s a way, if you don’t have the network
that you can enter into, and that’s a whole
other conversation. But I think that
that’s a change, and that’s how people
are coming in. And then moonlighting—people
are having a side hustle trying to figure out, is there an option,
an opportunity for that. So I think the real answer,
in a sentence, is “yes”—it really
is structural, it really is changing, but you’re seeing
the nuance within. I think the really hard question
is, how are we measuring it, and what—how much is enough?
And, you know, when I was trying to think
about that in coming over here, I wondered if we could
channel the people who came up with
the consumer price index. You know, let’s just
take that cart and go around the supermarket
and figure it out. And I think that
that’s the kind of exercise that we’re going to have
to ask ourselves as a country, which is, how much is enough?
And I would say that what is enough—that I have
affordable health care, that I have
an affordable place to live, that I’m not in debt,
that I have enough that gives me some sense of security
and optimism. What that is, is what it’s going
to be the defining question of this next era, I think. In that spirit, Sara, what in your thinking
or experience accounts for the decline in wages
at a time when, you know, the rest of the labor market’s
getting tighter and tighter, and wages are moving up,
but in—among freelancers? Yes. So as I see my friends
at—from the AFL–CIO, I would have to say
that number one is really a lack
of organization, and that typically
one of the major pathways to the middle class—meaning, how we increase
wages—is through unions. And I just don’t see how you
read history any other way. So I think that’s one. And then I think there really
is this—so many people, it’s so easy. I’ll give you, actually,
a good example. When I’ve been talking
to freelancers and talking to people
who are voice-over artists, what they’ll tell you is,
it’s a skill and if you’re great,
you’re great. But the technology is so simple
to get into the market that anybody can buy
the technology, you know, put it in a quiet room,
and you’re a video artist, and you can undercut
the other people who have been doing it
a much longer time. I think that’s an example
of technology. So a little better understanding
of technology, yes. Completely.
Interesting. One other,
just—the middle class, I think—many people left
the status they had when the market changed,
and they never got it back. They never got back the job
that they had before the market went down. And that, I think,
is contributing to the growth in the industry where people
have become entrepreneurs, because that became
a better alternative to the job that they once had that
just never came back. Maybe some structural forces, and then accelerated by
that really sharp downturn. Let me turn to Chad and ask you to reflect
on the flip side of it, from the employers’—so is
there evidence that, you know, the tightening
of labor availability— is that giving greater
bargaining power to some of the workers? Are you seeing actual wage
and employment benefits demands going up
in a noticeable way? So are there pockets
in the economy where you can see
those kinds of pressures? So, you noted earlier,
Governor Brainard, that we got job numbers today. So, obviously, they were
negative for manufacturing. And we’ve seen
a softening overall in manufacturing
growth this year, about 4,500 this year, on average, per month—relative
to last year, was 22,000. So the best, really, since 1997.
And I also noted earlier that, really, for eight
straight quarters, we’ve seen our manufacturers say
that this is the top issue right—right?—the inability
to attract and retain labor. I hear it also
from construction workers and from housing,
truck drivers, et cetera. So you continue to hear this, especially in that tight
labor market. One of the numbers from JOLTS that I think is interesting
to kind of get to your point is that last month,
I think it was July, which is the JOLTS data,
the most recent, you had an all-time
high level of quits, right? So this is the “take your job
and shove it” measure. That’s how I describe it
to a lot of our audiences. And so that to me suggests that
there’s a lot of churn out there in the overall labor market. I was hearing it
as much—especially last year—a lot
about poaching people, going on LinkedIn and finding
who your competitors have, and you see that kind of moving
from place to place. And I think manufacturers
are really sensing that in a real way. And those same JOLTS
data—522,000 job openings last month.
That’s an all-time high. So you do have kind of
this strange juxtaposition between slowing growing—slowing
hiring in general with the fact
that there’s job openings, which are at an all-time high. And that’s the large part of why
we’re doing Manufacturing Day. What I think the other part
of it—there are some structural issues
here at play as well. I was talking to Nancy earlier
about the fact that we have about
35 percent of our members who say that they want people
who are almost eligible for retirement to stick around
a little longer, right? Because there’s not necessarily
a next generation of worker waiting in the wings
to take those jobs, and so you don’t want to lose
that institutional knowledge. You don’t want to be able
to lose that talent. And we actually did a study,
funded by the Sloan Foundation, really to look at what members
are—members, manufacturing members—were doing
really with that aging workforce to try to get them to stick
around a little longer. But, also, some of them
were doing phased retirement, some of them were doing
mentoring of younger workers—so I think all of those things
are kind of at play. And then the other structural
thing that I’ll say is that there are perceptional
issues about manufacturing. People still think it’s dark,
dirty, and dangerous. I think that’s partly
the truck driver issue as well—not to pick on them. But I think changing
those perceptions is huge, and convincing folks
that—no offense Greg, but—you don’t need to have,
necessarily, a college degree. There are many people—I have
a Ph.D., so it certainly is good
for some folks, but not everyone has to go and
get an actual college degree. There are certifications
out there, there are apprenticeships
that you can get, there’s other forms of trade
schools—trading that you can get
that I think are also helpful. And so changing
those perceptions, I think, goes a long way. I was meeting with a group of
manufacturing employees—I think it was last week or so. None of them, obviously,
were on the shop floor. They were all doing accounting
and government relations and other stuff. And I said—I won’t say
who the company was, but I said, “Do you think of yourself as
being a manufacturing employee?” And, of course,
they don’t, right? They’re doing accounting
or whatever else. And I said, “But you are. You are in the NAICS code
of 31–33.” So I think changing
those perceptions, I think, is another
kind of structural hurdle that I think
we’re trying to overcome. I’m going to ask Melinda
just to speak a little bit—are employers
working harder to partner and find workers,
upscale them, pay them more? Are you finding that—really,
a change in the intensity with which people are trying
to find skilled workers and invest in skilled workers? So I think the answer
is “sometimes,” because I think it depends
on the sector or the industry. I want to take
a giant step back just to be really clear
on what we’re talking about. In our state,
41 percent of New Yorkers have a high school diploma
or less. That’s not uncommon
across the nation, right? And so when we’re talking about
even being able to access something like
community college, it’s a very large leap to get
from low basic skills into meaningful employment. The other piece,
just to juxtapose, is that the top growing jobs
in our state pay less than $27,000 a year. And so when you add
on the transportation costs, the childcare costs, the additional skill-based
training costs, it is not fathomable
or possible in many ways for folks
to find this pathway. And so I think one of the things
that we’re finding as we talk with folks—this idea of a good
or better job is meaningful. Many folks who are working
are not working in great jobs or they’re working
in multiple part-time jobs. And so, in our state,
about a quarter-million folks are in part-time jobs. I imagine that many or more are
piecing together full-time work, using sort of many sort
of part-time job opportunities. When you think about that
and think about, when would you have the chance
to go to Greg’s college, right? It doesn’t work.
It just doesn’t work. I was just with someone
earlier today talking about, in particular, some of the most
difficult occupations, the caregiving occupations: home health-care
and childcare providers, drug support professionals. The wages are dictated
by Medicaid, right? And so the ability for you
to even be able to raise wages associated with those
really critical positions in our economy
are very limited. So, to say, are people engaged?
Yes, for the most part. But I still think we’re
struggling with this concept after the recession where folks
had “credential creep,” where folks sort of crept up
and said, “What you need to do this job
is an associate’s degree or a four-year degree
or some sort of credential,” where, ultimately,
you’re working as a cashier—you probably don’t
need an associate’s degree. On top of that, I think
the other issue we’re finding—and
I’d be interested to hear your take on this—as
we move from advanced manufacturing
into lean manufacturing, people are really tight
on their lines, and so meaning that
they’re running production 24 hours a day. The ability to pull
someone off the line to go into training
is really limited. But in addition to that, they’ve actually
dramatically decreased their availability
of training resources internally to be able
to support worker retraining. I don’t know if part of that’s
because they anticipate the fact that the turnover
is going to be high, so the reinvestment
and the poaching is something
they don’t want to invest in. However, what it means
is that the worker is having to bear the full cost
of the retraining effort. And so this balance of,
sort of, how you engage employers
around this is good for their bottom line
is something I think we’re still struggling
with across the country. You look at countries
like Germany or to Switzerland where they really think
differently about how the employers
invest in worker retraining. We’re not at a point
yet in our country where I think workers
share the responsibility with the business community
around the investment in job training. I’m going to switch focus and start to provide a bridge
to the next panel. But I also didn’t want
to completely monopolize if Governor Bowman
or the Chair have a question. Otherwise
I’ll just keep going. Keep going. All right.
We’ll jump in. So the other side
of our dual mandate, which we’re going to have
an entire panel on, is price stability. And I think when you say
that to most people, they probably don’t
resonate with that. But you’ve talked
about price stability a great deal
already in the panel, and it’s this question of,
are living expenses high, low, growing faster
than incomes, growing in line with incomes? What would you say your
communities are experiencing? And if they are seeing
some kinds of expenses growing faster
and some slower, you know, can you give us a sense
of how that divides up for, you know, an average household
in the kinds of communities you’re interacting with? So— Yes, I think that’s
a great question. So there’s a report
that the United Way produces called the ALICE
Report—asset limited, income constrained,
but employed. And of the 35—3.5 million
households in Florida, about 46 percent of those
households are ALICE population. These are essentially those
who don’t have the income to support what it costs
to live in a home, what it costs
to pay their utilities, what it costs to do
all the things that we know are going to be important
to a sustainable life. And that’s an important number. And, to be honest, when you
think about Broward County, in particular,
it’s a data point that it’s unfortunate
to have to share, but we are the worst
in the nation when it comes to congruity
between your income and the cost of living.
It’s incredibly expensive, and it’s a challenge
for all of us to work on fixing. And, of course, postsecondary institutions
have to think about, what role do we play
in doing that? So when we think
about the jobs that we’re getting
for our students, we want to make sure
that those are jobs that have put them
at a level—and, by the way, let’s not forget
the benefits cliff that the Federal Reserve
has been working on and addressing
that issue as well. That’s a key component
of the discussion. And so when we think about
how we get there in light of the challenges
that we know exist, you know, one of the data points
that I—we need to be conscious of when we talk about what level
of attainment is required, first, 65 percent of all jobs
in this country require some form
of postsecondary attainment— not necessarily a degree,
but it could be a certificate. For every job that requires
a master’s degree, there are two jobs that require
a baccalaureate degree and seven that require
a certificate or an associate’s degree.
And so where’s the opportunity? And so when I talk to employers who may be keeping
their wages flat but they’re offering bonuses
to get people in the door—of course
it’s hard to keep someone after that two years
when the bonus—contract expires, but notwithstanding,
they’re doing what they can, particularly in aviation
and nursing, et cetera. And so they say,
“Well, how do we find the right kinds of employees?” And I say, “Well, where
are you looking?” because there are these
pockets of communities that have 10-plus
percent unemployment. The other barrier, as we’ve
discussed it earlier, is sometimes, folks don’t even know
the opportunities exist, right? So you talk about aviation, and they think it means
becoming a pilot—right?— as opposed to avionics
or aviation maintenance or all the jobs in that space.
I remember when we were in one of our most challenged
neighborhoods and knocking on doors, talking to the people
in those neighborhoods, letting them know, in fact,
I had just become president. And I said, “I’m the new
president of Broward College. I want to make sure
you know we’re here, and we want you
to come to the college.” And one of the things they said
was—one gentleman says to me, “I can’t go to college, because all I know
how to do is fix motors.” And I said, “Oh, we have
this amazing automotive program, and there’s a certificate
that you can get. In a year, you can be
making $50,000 a year. And, by the way,
that certificate ladders into an associate’s degree. If you want to go there
and get an associate of science, you’ll be making $40[,000]
to $50[,000] or more beyond that as well.” But they don’t know
the opportunities exist. I talked to another person
in the same neighborhood—“I
can’t go to college because I’ve been arrested”
or “I’ve been to jail.” They don’t know
the opportunities, right?. And so part of it is,
if we’re not living with them, it’s very hard for them to see
beyond what they’ve heard and the myths that
they currently exist with. But we have to tie that
to the employer opportunities and make sure—to the point,
again, that was raised
earlier—employers have the understanding. And this is the great
opportunity for the economy that we’re in—right?—for
employers to be saying, “Well, I can’t find anyone,”
and us saying, “Well, here’s where they are.
They have the will, ability, and, by the way, they know
how to fix motors too.” I’d say the two really huge pain
points for people right now is health care and housing. And so the thing that
I’m hearing more and more probably in the last two,
three years, versus five-to-seven years,
is—and, remember, this is a group
that’s just above subsidy level, so they’re not way
above subsidy level, but just there—and they’re going
without health insurance now, and it’s just because
they can’t afford it. And, I would say, the second sub
is, they don’t feel valued. But I think that—those
statistics will bear that out. I’d say housing is
another obvious one, both for rental
and for homeownership. And I think one of the other
things is, you know, when I started with
Freelancers Union 20 years ago, you’d say, well,
where are the freelancers? You know, Brooklyn,
San Francisco. Now you really see that
freelancers are really moving to every tertiary city
in every state because the housing costs
are available, which I actually think
is going to be a great trend in a funny way, but it’s not going to be
out of a position of strength. It’s really because
they’re struggling with that. So I would add sort of on top
of housing and transportation, childcare is an incredible,
undervalued challenge in terms of really reaching
full employment. I think, in our state,
obviously, women are probably most impacted still in terms
of being able to access and have available childcare. As a parent of three
small children, the only reason
I’m able to be here today is because I have regular,
stable, affordable childcare in the fact that my husband
stays home with our kids, right? And so I think one of the
challenges we’re finding is, in particular, if the childcare
subsidies that are available don’t allow you
to access available and affordable childcare and you have to make the choice
between going to a bad job or putting your kid
in unsafe childcare, you’re going to stay home
with your child. And so I think the availability
of affordable childcare is incredibly important. But it goes back to this
caregiving conundrum. We have increased the quality
standards for childcare, as we should, but it also means you often need
to have an associate’s degree or baccalaureate degree to
provide childcare in our state, yet you’re still only
making minimum wage. And so, again, there’s
this conundrum around, it’s a limitation
on the availability and ability of folks to work, yet we can’t quite subsidize
our way out of it in order to be able
to make the issue go away. The only thing that I would add, not really from a
manufacturing perspective, but I think just from
a national perspective is—and I’m sorry Greg, you might
have a different opinion, but—student loan indebtedness
has gone up pretty substantially.
And I know, even in my old days when I was at the SBA
[Small Business Administration], it’s holding back
entrepreneurship, it’s holding back a lot of
other things that I think, you know—and people
are coming out of college with enormous amount of debt. It takes them years
for them to pay it off, and I think it takes away
some other opportunities that are out there that, in terms of starting
households, et cetera, that, I think, are some
pretty profound challenges. Let’s go to Denise, and then I’ll let you come in
on student indebtedness too. I would reference
the ALICE Report as well to say
that 51 million households are struggling to pay
for housing and health care and food and transportation
and childcare. Nowhere in the country,
not in urban or rural places, are people working
with moderate wages able to afford
a two-bedroom apartment. Not a single place. And so that just begins
to tell you. I think the other thing
that contributes to the value of the wage
that you bring home is, what else do you have
to go with it? And as federal, especially,
benefits begin to diminish, that is having an impact
on a lot of households: immigrant households,
people at the lower wage level where there may have been
some form of benefit that they were qualified for. As the value of that
begins to diminish, or even just access
at all to it, then that wage no longer goes
as far as it—as it once did. So, you know, one of the things—
that’s such an important issue when we talk about debt related
to postsecondary attainment. And one of the things
that I always get concerned about when—particularly
when students decide before they’ve ever looked at whether they want to obtain
a college degree, they’ve decided—particularly
from our lowest-income communities—that
they cannot afford it. And they don’t necessarily know that at a school
like Broward College, it costs about $82 per credit
to get a degree or a certificate—or a degree,
primarily. When you include
tuition and fees, you’re talking about
$117 per credit. When you’re talking about
an associate’s degree, you’re talking
a total of $7,000. And we’re one of
the unique institutions that offers
baccalaureate degrees. When you do add that on, you’re talking about
an additional $7,800. So you’re talking about
a baccalaureate degree for $15,000. And, probably
most importantly—and this is a statutory
obligation of ours, but it’s something
we own anyway, regardless of the statute—is
that these jobs are designed
to meet these degrees. Our bachelors in science
or associate in science is designed
to meet workforce needs. So that means, at max,
you’ve incurred $15,000 to get a job making $45[,000]
to $50[,000]. Now, I say “at max” because,
as I mentioned earlier, 70 percent of our students,
particularly—and this is not atypical for community
colleges—they come in, and they’re Pell recipients
primarily, which means all, most,
or maybe just a little, but at least some of their debt
is covered by federal Pell. And so by the time you’re
done—we’ve looked at our data at Broward College. We know that when our students
who graduate with an associate’s degree
or baccalaureate degree, very few of them,
a small percentage of them actually have debt
upon graduation. And so you’re looking at—but
the $1.6 trillion story is an important story, but postsecondary debt
as well as cost is very dynamic. And as we think about
the opportunities to provide certificates to students
that ladder into degrees, the most important thing
is to make sure they’re not—that’s not disguised by a fear of what’s possible
or the cost of attainment, particularly needs—institutions
like ours that are doing so much to ensure
that those costs either are nil or don’t exist
by the time they’ve graduated. So I’m going to—I’m going to ask
two more questions, and then I think we do have time
to invite the audience to ask a few questions. So I’ll just give you
that heads-up in case there are one or two people
that want to ask a question. So we have heard, I think,
so far that the economy is a heck of a lot better
than it was. You know, there’s a lot
more employment opportunities, although it doesn’t really feel
like maximum employment for some of the people
who are more marginal. But there are opportunities
to upskill. Wages are growing,
but they’re not growing as much as housing costs
and health-care costs. So, mixed picture. Flip side—how much do you worry
about your communities if the economy were
to weaken from here, and what would you be watching
for as a potential sign? And how do you think
that would affect the progress that you’ve been making? And I’m going to start
with Denise on this one. I guess, in some ways,
the communities that we work in—I’m not sure
there’s a big difference, from their perspective,
anyway, I would say,
between where we are today where there are
so many opportunities— because of the barriers,
they’re not really benefiting. So, the change, I think, at the level
of community perception may not be—they’re not,
they don’t see a difference. What we see as an industry
is that because we know that the job market is,
let’s call it “plentiful” now, that we want to figure out ways
as early—as quickly as we can to take advantage
of the opportunities to try to get more people attached in ways
that are sustainable. So it’s an interesting dynamic
if you’re living in many of the communities
that we’re living in, that when we talk about
all that is available, that folks are just not—so it’s not very different
for them. We would probably do a lot more
if we could. And one way that we think we can
is to create more opportunities for small businesses
in some way, because we think that we can perhaps—if
we could help better sustain that sector of the economy, we could possibly
keep more of the folks that we want to get employment
for employed. What’s the barrier for us
lending to small businesses? Credit enhancement.
I mean, at the end of the day, we can’t make
the credit analysis work for our credit committees,
basically. But so—and we, we are
an SBA lenders, so we do that, but this margin of lending
between maybe $5,000 and $50,000 that could start up a business
or even maybe convert a business that might have an impact
if we could get it to scale. So it’s something
that we’re looking into. Chad. So, obviously, manufacturing
is pretty cyclical, right? So, I mean, hopefully we don’t
see the 2.3 million workers we lost in the Great Recession. So I don’t see that coming up
anytime soon, hopefully. But I think manufacturers
in general are preparing for some sort
of a slowdown or—hopefully, not a downturn, but, hopefully,
something next year, and I think they are preparing
for that in very meaningful ways. I kind of go back a little bit
to what we experienced in 2015 and 2016, right? So a little bit of a—much
of a slower period, obviously, a lot of global headwinds
and the energy pullback. Keep in mind that 90 percent
of manufacturers are small- and medium-sized manufacturers, and so you have to kind of
separate them out a little bit by firm size. Many of those
smaller manufacturers operate more like family, so what they tend to do
in those types of time frames—I’m sure
the same is true for, when we hear from Holly
about small businesses—they might cut back hours—right?—
rather than let people go, or they’ll do some other types
of flexibility rather than—you don’t want
to see that person leave, right? Manufacturers are operating
much more leanly than they were before, so it’s not like
they can necessarily afford to lose that talent, right?
So you’d often see them operate a little bit more family-like
in that way. The other thing that I think
will be interesting to watch as we move forward is, so many manufacturers
are investing in new technologies—the
disruptive technologies of robotics and AI
and all of these things. That, obviously, is going
to have long-term implications, in terms of our overall
productivity, et cetera, but I think that also perhaps
we’ll have a little bit of a cushion,
I think, as we move forward, more of a longer term—not
just during the downturn, but, like, later as well. So I will sort of challenge
Chad a little bit. And I am not an economist,
as you probably have noticed, but when it comes down to it, I think that automation is going
to dramatically impact the communities we serve
in the next, sort of, decade or so and, in particular,
around economic downturns and, sort of, the value that
an employer sees of the gains that they save
by investing in automation. Your robots
don’t call in sick, right? And so I think that we are going
to see, when the market contracts again, is that this challenge
around balancing between automating or keeping
and retaining your workforce. I mean, one of the things that
we are looking at internally is the number of folks
who are moving to part-time work and the reduction in hours.
Again, the reduction in hours tackle—tangled
with benefits, right? When do you make the decision
to go on public assistance or keep working
are real questions that, I think,
many of our folks have to ask. I would also sort of say
that I think, as we look across our state
and across New York, we do often see
an increase in folks moving into a job-training-like program
when the economic downturn hits. The key is making sure employers continue to stay committed
to investing in those programs and investing in providing
the core competencies that are necessary,
above and beyond what we typically hear
as soft skills, right? It’s—soft skills is often code
for something else. What we really need is,
what are the technical skills and abilities that translate
into meaningful employment for folks who go through
many of the training programs? And so, again,
I sort of share that, because I think,
during a downturn, employers sort of step back
from those engagements and say, “It’s not necessary. We are sort
of worrying about our own shop and less about the
train—employment and training pipeline.” One last thing
I will mention is, I think it’s really important
for folks in this room to recognize, the federal money for workforce
development funded through WIOA [Workforce Innovation and
Opportunity Act] and others—that falls way
after an economic downturn hits. So having lived through
the recession in New York City, working in the workforce
system there, we were seeing folks coming
through our doors in droves and had very limited resources
to serve folks meaningfully until ARRA
[American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009]
hit, which is many years after the downturn hit.
And so I share that because, often, folks on the ground
will see this start first, but the federal resources
follow very, very late. I think that the next downturn
is going to really expose the lack of a safety net. So if a third of the workforce
is independent now, it’s literally ineligible
for unemployment insurance. And so I think that
that is going to make us say, “We should revisit, maybe, the 1940s strategy of
how we structure that.” And we don’t really have
the actuarial models, so perhaps setting up
some pilots where we could actuarially test—because
what is “unemployment” if you have six gigs and
projects and freelance projects? Could you say what you mean
by “the 1940s strategy”? Yes, so— I wasn’t, you know,
around then [laughter], so— Well, I did read that plaque
behind you, and so the walls here
probably remember a lot of this, but in 1940 was how we started
with unemployment insurance, and it was very much
like an on–off switch: Are you unemployed—because
we needed to know that we needed
to get money to you so you would start spending,
as I am lecturing you. Is that crazy or what? But—
[Laughter] It happens every day. I might not be such
a bad lecturer, compared. But, so, the unemployment—the
idea was obviously that we were going to get that
money back into the economy. What has happened is,
we didn’t anticipate that the rise
of the independent contractor would be something more than
the ones that we saw back then. So what I know happened
in the recession is at the Freelancers Union, 12 percent of the members
went on food stamps because it was the only thing
they were eligible for. So I think that we are going
to start to see a real heavy use of different things
that we aren’t anticipating, and I think that’s
going to be difficult. So what are their coping skills? You know, one of the great
things about being a freelancer is that you have
this portfolio of work. And so we saw
in the last recession that the employees
really had a tougher time, in many ways,
because they had nothing, whereas freelancers
could kind of mitigate and deal. And because they are not
eligible for these programs, they have to be
a really scrappy lot. And so it’s not fair
to ask people to be so scrappy, but they are.
And so I do think that that’s what we are
going to start to see. And there will be struggle, but they’re—they’re
very entrepreneurial. Obviously, a downturn would hurt
a lot of folks that we intend to serve
and that we are serving. I think about, how do we try
to get ahead of it? And so whether you’re talking
about automation or downsizing, you know, one of the things
I think that not only us, but a lot of institutions
of higher ed—community colleges, universities, and the like—could
be thinking about: How do we partner with
those companies that we know? Well, if not because
of pure downsizing, but because of automation, we’ll likely be losing
a number of employees. And so I’m sure
in this building, and certainly at my institution, we have a lot of folks
who could tell you what jobs are unlikely to exist
over the next several years. The question becomes, where is
the opportunity for intervention as an institution
of higher education, one that is designed to retool
folks at the technical level as well as to the degree level,
to work with those organizations and say, where is
the opportunity for us to retool either
within your organization— because notwithstanding the fact
you may be losing someone here, you surely have needs
over here—and then if it’s not retooling
within the organization, then it’s retooling potentially
outside of the organization and looking at where
those opportunities are? The other side of it,
if you will, is to think about, as we educate our students, are we making sure
that our students are educated in a way that teaches them
to be entrepreneurial? And I don’t mean it
in the most typical fashion of starting a new business—that
may be part of it. But to be thinking about, whatever industry
that you work in, to be conscious around what’s
happening in that industry, not just at your desk. And where—where are the
opportunities around the bend where you need to be
retooling your skills? Because at this point, because of the dramatic change
that we see, we know a lot of jobs that
won’t exist that are here today, and we have no idea
what the jobs are that will be here tomorrow. We have to have folks who are
thinking about the potential for changes in their industries
and continuing to get retooled. The times of getting a degree
or any attainment and stopping there, I think,
are long behind us. For the most part, people will
need to continue to get retooled and reskilled to adapt
to the market that exists in any given time. So I am going to just ask you
to switch focus a little bit. So we’ve been going around
and listening, but, of course, we also
communicate a great deal. And we don’t traditionally
orient our communications to the kinds of communities
you interact with the most, but if you can just reflect
a little bit and give us any thoughts
you might have on how we can communicate
better: What it is that we do
to the communities that you are serving in ways
that actually touch them? So I don’t know
how we want to start. I’m happy to start. Would you like to jump in? Sure.
Thank you. So, I think—we work
with the Atlanta branch. I think they do
a fantastic job of reaching out
to local organizations. I would be thinking
around the potential for enlisting—enlisting
local ambassadors to the work that you are doing.
Obviously, the transparency that you are providing here
is incredible. But to be thinking about, who are the local ambassadors
in the community that you’re working with, and who can help
spread your work. And also, just be
conduits of information, whether it be from
the community to the [Federal] Reserve or vice versa. And, surely, you wouldn’t have
any problems doing that. But I think that also, if you think about
touching those communities, part of it is just reality. Chairman Powell, this is
a candid conversation, right? Part of our local communities
have no clue of what the [Federal]
Reserve does, oftentimes. And so—and oftentimes, they don’t necessarily
trust information from folks
they don’t know. And so, the best that
you can do, I think, in many ways is to enlist folks
in those communities who you know are trusted
ambassadors in those communities to help deliver some of
the information that you have and, again,
be conduits of information from the ground up as well. Thank you.
Sara. Yes. You know, I think, similarly when—with these kinds
of convenings, I think every regional Bank
seems like it’s starting to and probably has
a long tradition of having
these conversations. I think the strategy
that would be really helpful would be to identify
the institutions that people trust
in their communities, and to not think of this as just that we have to reach
isolated individuals, because, I think, isolated
individuals are overrated. And I think that, like,
if you said to me, what makes for
a successful freelancer, I would say, it’s someone who is
very connected to their network and to other human beings, and they just tend to have
happier lives, as we all do. So I think that
it really is institutions, and that that really matters
not just for message, but for the listening. And then I think paying
real effort to find the groups that have
a sophisticated analysis that we don’t necessarily
always think about, like the cooperative movement,
the union movement, the social impact communities who are really
structurally thinking and are connected
to individuals. Thank you.
Melinda. So I would say—so having now
sort of done a tour of “the Feds”
over the last couple of months, there is such variability
around what each individual
Federal Reserve Bank produces and, sort of, their connection
to their local community. And so I think there is also
a huge opportunity for cross-sharing,
so what happens in San Francisco can be really valuable
in New York and likewise. And I think it happens
among Feds staff, but less so in terms of how
it’s communicated out to the broader public. I would also just say,
using terminology like “perspectives on maximum
employment and price stability” feels very unattainable. I will even tell you,
talking to my board and my community
about this work, they said, “I don’t know
what that means. Why—why are you going to talk
to these people?” Right? And so I think part of this
has to do with, how are you able to break down
and describe what you do
and why it’s valuable? But, also, the impact
on the everyday person. Because I think, ultimately, when the inverted yield
curve came up, everyone suddenly knew
what that was, right? There is a lot
of these terminologies that are coming out
in the rhetoric these days that I think folks are unclear how it connects
directly to their work. And to Denise’s point, they don’t feel it
in their day-to-day work. What they’ll feel is when
their orange juice costs an extra five bucks
because of the tariffs, right? So I think those are
the types of things that will be
really valuable for us. I agree with all of
those things. And I think, for the most part, the manufacturing
C-suite gets it, right? When I talk to them, they follow
the news pretty closely. They know whether you are
going to make a 25 basis point cut or not,
or make that debate, right? So they follow it very closely. I think where there is
less interest—less, not interest—less understanding is, really, I think
on the shop floor, right? They don’t really get how all of
these moves are going to change, I guess, the price
of orange juice or how that really impacts
their overall employment or any of those things, I think. So I think part of that,
I would say as an economist, is people don’t understand
personal finance. They don’t teach personal
finance skills much anymore; they don’t really get economics
as much as they used to. But I think the other part of it is just understanding this
as an institution and, really, how it affects
their overall daily lives, I think, is something
that’s lacking. I agree with my colleagues. I’ll just add that I see
a growing partnership across the country
between the Fed and the community
development industry, and I think that’s
really a good thing. It’s where—a really, kind of, stepping closer to
what’s happening on the ground. The business survey that the Fed
does is a really great tool, and I think that while you have
the community advisory boards and forums in that venue, that maybe a community survey
of some sort might be worth considering to reach a broader
cross section of people. And then, lastly—this may seem
very simple, but the New York Fed
has a comic book. I guess they hand it out
to everybody, but it also goes out
to the school kids. The financial learning—to
your point—that starts—that should
start early in life. And maybe an understanding
at the school level of what this institution
means to the world economy is something that there
should be more of a focus on, I think,
in the education system early—from elementary school
and up. Because, you know,
just for myself, I remember being in school—we
actually had a savings plan. It probably helped shape
some of what I think about and what my curiosity
about the markets were, came early in life. So that’s just something
that the Fed could consider as a partnership
with communities. But I think the community survey
might get at some of what you are asking us
to talk about here. We are pulling it up
from the various places we are, but you might also
be able to get at it in some more systematic way,
regularly. Yes. I think these are all good
suggestions, thank you. So now what I’m going to do is invite—if there are some
questions from the audience. And I think we have
a microphone. And I would just ask you
to identify yourself and your organization. Karl Smith, Bloomberg.
Denise, in particular, but I guess also Gregory
and some others—you talked a lot about quickly trying to reduce
some of the structural barriers that people face
in the communities before the next downturn. If you knew or were confident
that you had, like, two more years
of plentiful jobs or three more years
of plentiful jobs, how would that change
the structural barriers that you are able
to break down or what you are able to do
to get people to employment? Yes. I mean, you know,
right now, I think, one of the things
that we are really anxious about is that we can’t lend enough
to capitalize small businesses, because we believe that
there is a real opportunity to employ more people and to stabilize that
sector of the economy, so that’s one consideration.
I think another consideration really is finding
more of a relationship between the private sector
that’s willing to pay for—like, some employers
that are willing to pay for the kinds
of barrier-reduction things, like rental subsidies
or transportation pathways. But those kinds of partnerships
with the employer sector could be a way, the idea being
that the more people you can get more stable
in the workplace, the better their shot
at surviving a downturn. Those are just
some of the things that we have been
thinking about. And I’ll just add one piece
to that, and that is, if we have
the continued economy that we have been seeing, we know that employers
are looking at creative ways. And we want to continue
not only to encourage that look into creative ways, but to start to build it
into infrastructure. And so when you think
about that, think about the potential for—as we look at the pockets
of the communities that need employment
the most and saying, what if we built into our
infrastructure—not only do we have the postsecondary
programing in those communities, but on the back end
are guaranteed roles, positions provided
by employers? And maybe we don’t look
at the jobs that we know, you know, are so subject
to the economic downturn, but maybe we look at areas,
such as aviation, where we know there is a
shortage for the next 10 years? Or we look at information
technology, where we know there is
an infinite shortage? Or health care, where we know
there—health sciences, those areas—and think about, how do we start to build
frameworks for infrastructure that can not only withstand
the next two to three years, but can exist for at least
as long as economists are telling us these opportunities
will continue to exist? I’ll sort of add, I think
the biggest opportunity is to expand
earn-and-learn opportunities, where you are working
and gaining credentials at the same time. So it’s not just about
access and exposure, but it’s about the skill
building that’s associated with what keeps you sticky
in the labor market. And so if you are not
gaining the skills, the odds of you being able
to weather the storm, as Denise described,
are really limited. And so I think employers
are more willing to do that now. They also are more willing
to put some skin in the game. It’s about how you create
those structural relationships that allow for that to continue
when the downturn occurs. So I think we had
a question over there. Hello, I am Byron Auguste.
I’m CEO of [email protected] I think this is
a great discussion and, actually, this
last question in particular. And my question
is very much about some of the structural issues
in the labor market. And we haven’t talked as much
about degree requirements, pedigree,
credential requirements —and not as a matter of skill,
but as a matter of signaling. And I think,
in a world in which, you know, over 60 percent
of adult Americans don’t have a bachelor’s
degree—and there has been
a tremendous increase in the bachelor’s degree
requirement for jobs, well in excess
of the skill requirement. So, now, three-quarters
of secretarial positions require a bachelor’s degree when only a third of
secretaries, existing ones, have a bachelor’s degree. And so, as you think about
the turnover—this is a problem. And at a regional level,
at a community level, what you start to see—and
even in a city like Washington, D.C., when highly educated
people move into a city, it’s not just real estate
that becomes unaffordable. You’ll notice that the job
postings all start to shift very quickly
to require bachelor’s degrees. So the people
who were living here before actually are pushed
out of the job market, not just the housing market. And I think,
in some institutional fixes, like Broward,
you can do some things locally, but I really would love
to hear more about what you would
do structurally. And I would like to say
that I think the Federal Reserve could play a very valuable role, both from
your community development and from your
business-convening side, because there are a lot of new
jobs being created that, from a skill perspective, wouldn’t actually require
a bachelor’s degree, but they are all being
listed that way. So the growth, the new jobs—
robotics process automation, sales force administration, you name it—it’s being done
that way, in an exclusionary way. Opportunity—the Federal Reserve
has done this opportunity occupations work—it’s
tremendous, terrific work, by MSA. I think there is a lot
that could be done, but I’d really love
to hear more on that, because I think it’s much easier
to have a job guarantee, effectively,
at a statistical level, at a regional level,
than a company-by-company level. So if there was some way
to take that aggregation power with the—I think
it could be powerful. Greg. So it may sound like I’m being
evasive, but I promise you,
I am not, okay? One of the things that—because
if you look at how, from a structural perspective, we try to address this at the
highest levels and think about, what are some of the things
that would lead to some of the outcomes
that we are looking for? So one of the ways
that I like to think about this is from
a social mobility lens, right? When we talk about
our most challenged communities, we are essentially talking
about, how do we ensure that, notwithstanding the fact
that they in the bottom quintile of income earners, that we get to
move them up, right? From up—at least two quintiles is how we are thinking
about it, right? If we are doing
our jobs really well, we’re moving them up
at least two quintiles, regardless of where
they started. And so we have seen,
I would call it, some “percolation”
around postsecondary attainment being included in certain
measuring sticks. So U.S. News and World Report has started to look
at—not in a grand way, although they are talking
about it publicly, but—social mobility and the roles that colleges
play in social mobility. And, of course,
I know many folks in this room are familiar with the professor
of economics at Harvard, Raj Chetty,
focusing on social mobility. And we’ve been working
very closely with his office on looking at, frankly,
how do we—and, hopefully, others embrace this
as well—become the best when it comes
to social mobility. And when you look at it
at the state level—although we haven’t started to see
that in performance funding, which has really started
to become the new way of funding
of state institutions— is there an opportunity
for states to say, “We are going to start
to hold folks accountable or incentivize social mobility as a component
of their funding”? And now you’ve built in,
at least to some extent, an infrastructure that says, the state’s leaning
toward—we’re, in Florida, we are looking
at 60 percent attainment, at least—but not the social
mobility component yet, but looking at where you can
build that into regulatory frameworks that can allow institutions
of postsecondary education, as well as organizations,
nonprofits, and otherwise, to start to coalesce
around that. And then, maybe, you can start to fill
some of those other holes that come with the social
mobility that you’re aiming for. I’ll sort of add, too, I think—and I’d love
to get Chad’s point of view on this—that the NAICS
codes don’t represent, and the SOC codes that we have,
the occupations of today. They just don’t. And so I think that one
of the biggest challenges is being able to run the data
and the research to understand: What are the occupations
and skills and abilities that are attached
to those occupations? So what we have now, especially
with new occupational codes, the Wild West of skills
and abilities that are being said
are necessary, when, in reality—I mean, I’m sure
if we took a show of hands, if your job description
described your job, you would not raise
your hand, right? And so I think there is this
ultimate challenge, though, around how you align
that to the education sector. So how do you make sure
that the folks who are having
the responsibility of making sure folks
are educated and trained for these opportunities
are closely enough aligned with the employers
to be able to articulate those micro shifts
in skills and abilities? It may be a new version of a PLC
that needs to be instituted. That’s not something that folks
typically can catch up with quickly, in an occupational sense,
at an institution, because a PLC costs money to be
able to lay out for a training. And so I think that there are some
real challenges around that. I think the other piece
I will just mention is, in terms of credential creep,
it’s real. It’s real, and it is a challenge
to economic mobility, but also around,
sort of, race, class. And I think we often forget
about the stratification of the way that we’ve
structured race and class, in terms of certain occupations
or income and mobility, and that eliminating things like
“ban the box”—making sure that we are removing
any artificial barriers for economic mobility are critical just in
the hiring process alone. In particular,
online job applications are eliminating huge swaths
of potential candidates, because it forces you to check
a certain number of boxes that may or may not actually
consider your attributes as the ability
to do the skill on the job. And so I think one of the things
we’ve talked about: Is there a way to start
to really limit how you hire
through online jobs, recognizing that it eliminates
huge swaths of candidates? I agree with all that. So, I would say,
the other aspect to it—I don’t think
we’ve done ourselves a favor—I am
a former academic—I am not sure
we’ve done ourselves a favor by selling everyone that they
have to get a bachelor’s degree. I said that earlier. There is a lot
of other skills out there that do not require
a bachelor’s degree, and maybe it’s
an associate’s degree, and maybe it’s some other type
or sort of certification that I think often
will pay five, six figures—right?—in terms
of starting salary that you can do
a really great job with. The other comment that I would
make is that manufacturing
is changing so rapidly that the sector
is completely different than it was 10, 15,
20 years ago—that continuous learning is kind of
the norm now, right? We—you have to constantly
be retrained, in terms of being able to work
with that new technology. When you tour
a shop floor today, you see a very clean environment where people are looking
at a computer screen and actually monitoring
what’s going on. It requires a level of skill there that
we sometimes undersell when we might call it
blue-collar work or whatever. And so I do think companies
are pretty aggressive to going out and training. And oftentimes,
what they will say is, “Bring them in here. Maybe they have some minimal
level of certification or some minimal level of skill. We’ll train them,
we’ll do what we need—just bring in”—I don’t want to say
“warm bodies,” because that doesn’t sound
right, but—“bring in people, and we’ll make sure
we train them up to do what they need to do.” And I think that that’s
a very helpful thing for us. I think we had—Bill,
didn’t you have one question? So let’s get Bill Spriggs’s
question, and then, I think, unfortunately,
we will have to end this panel. Thank you, and thank you
for having this session. Today we get to celebrate
that the unemployment rate for Hispanic men
and white men is equal. Many of us three
or four years ago who said the Feds
should pay attention to letting the unemployment
rate fall argued that one of the structural
barriers is actually racism, not what many people think. And if we let the labor market
get tight enough, sooner or later we’d get
to celebrate this day. And several months ago,
the historic relationship that black women have a higher
employment-to-population ratio than white women returned, so that black women returned
to their pre-2008 peak. But if we have a downturn,
some of these gaps, unfortunately,
probably will come back. So, Ms. Mack
and President Haile, both of you were talking
about certain elements of this. President Haile,
you mentioned employers seemingly missing
whole neighborhoods if there’s a downturn and they’re not looking
anymore for anybody, regardless of race.
How would that exacerbate them ever finding
these neighborhoods? And, Ms. Mack, when you were
talking about the jobs that are really in demand
in New York and the sectors
that were growing, a lot of those job
categories you mentioned are predominantly jobs
held by women of color. What would happen in a downturn
for those important jobs? Sure. So one of the things
that I would be looking at—and I mentioned this a little bit
earlier—is to be thinking about, what are those jobs that we know
have a very long-term, long-range scope
of opportunity? And so, these are also some of
our more high-paying jobs as we think about in the health
sciences space or aviation or manufacturing as well. And a lot of it is around
changing the mindset of what a job
in manufacturing is. And these are communities
that—in many communities, not just minority communities
or low-income communities, but have a different perception
of what that is. So we know that those jobs
will continue to persist, and I think it’s really
incumbent upon us to be able to say, in those most challenged
communities, minority communities,
how are we engaging them in what opportunity
actually looks like? So if we can engage them on what
opportunity actually looks like, that manufacturing
is really this, and this is how much
you can get paid, and this is how quickly—and
this is important, too—how quickly you can get
a certification that’s going to lead
to a job in that space. That has to be something that we
are being very aggressive about, whether we are
in an overall downturn or continue to be
in the economic climate that we have right now. So I really struggle with this
for a bunch of reasons, mainly because
I certainly understand that when we say that you may
not need a path to college, that often we’re talking
about a certain class or race or gender
of individuals, right? You don’t want to eliminate
a college pathway. I think that there’s
a huge amount of value in talking about
the occupation and the good job
at the end of that. So take computer coding, right?
There’s many different ways you can be a very
successful computer coder, but we have stigmatized
the pathways to get there—that the best
and brightest pathway is to be a computer
science engineer from MIT, not recognizing that
going to a state school will probably yield you
the exact same result, right? As a product of state schools
who basically went up against peers from Ivy Leagues
for most of my life, I had the exact
same opportunities and availability of access because of the network
I was able to build. And so I sort of also
want to articulate here, I think one of the challenges,
along with education and training—we’ve talked
about this—is how you build the right networks
around potential candidates so they’re able to
access opportunity above and beyond
where they would be able to, just on their name
or resume alone. The last thing I will
sort of mention, to your point—again, many of
the caregiving occupations. The challenges to those
will still exist. The upward mobility
within those, if they are not attached
to a labor union, is incredibly limited. And it’s because, again,
in home health care, you work a variable schedule, you often have to pay
for your own transportation, the ability to get ahead,
to get additional access to training and education
are really limited. And so, for us, it’s around,
how do you think about how you holistically look at
an occupation and a job seeker and a career seeker to make sure
they have the right supports to be able
to move out of poverty? But also, more importantly, how do you work
with the employer to make sure that employer
is an acceptable place to work for people
different than them? And, you know, I will say, in having worked in this space
for a long time, if you are the first person
of color or first woman to go work
in an institution, your experience
is very different than folks who come 5, 10,
15 years later. So there is work
on the employer side around creating places to work
that are amenable, good places to work
for all potential employees. I wanted to just—since
we’re wrapping up now—I want Denise and Sara to come in
on this question of, you know, we do know
that—we see the statistics, they’e very clear—impacts
of the employment cycle are very differentiated
by race and ethnicity. And if you could just speak
a little bit about, within the communities
that you’re working with, some of those are
very different experiences and different vulnerabilities.
Denise, and then Sara. Our—I mean, I didn’t
bring up race, I guess I—we
should all bring it up. That’s probably the point
that’s to the question, because it is an underlying,
probably, issue, in a lot of ways—who
gets called back for a job? Who is able to survive
in the workplace? Even if you get the job,
do you fit in? I think that there has to be
more of a widespread intentionality
around racial equity with something that even
LISC is grappling with, that there isn’t
a specific policy yet. We say that this is
what we are about, but we don’t have a specific
intentionality about it. So, to many of the employers that we are beginning
to talk to, I think, and maybe because
the market is—is actually good, people seem to be
more interested in diversity, more interested
in finding ways to, in a more stable way, provide more stability
for people in the workplace. But I think that it requires both a partnership
between government and the private sector
aligned around some agreement that—I am trying to,
I am struggling for the word—that racial equity
is an important consideration. Without that, it—we’re going
to go right back. I mean, I said earlier
that a lot of people in the communities
I work in are not—they don’t see
the difference at all yet, and—but yet many people do.
But I think that, more and more, as we—if we care about this,
about racial equity, then we’ll make it
more of a formal consideration when we consider
workplace opportunities, even financing that
we can attach certain rules around racial equity to
the financing that we provide. Those kinds of things
could make a difference. Sara. Sure. I think people would be
very surprised to know that independent contractors are actually not covered
by race, age, gender, and any kind of protection
at all—period, full stop. It’s a wonderful thing
that in New York City, with the great work
of the Freelancers Union and the mayor of New York
and others, that we have the first
city council that voted and was passed that
any independent contractor, any freelancer
is actually covered by all human rights laws. So it’s sort of shocking
that that’s not—that doesn’t exist
throughout the country. But I can’t say this without being a third-generation
labor person myself: I don’t really see
any progress for people who try to solve things
on their own, and that—what I think
is really encouraging is that this new workforce, particularly millennials
and younger workers are very well networked
and organized and have found
communities of affinity. And I think that that, to me, is where the conversations
are going to happen. But beyond conversation,
the activity, and the concerted
activity—and that, I think, is where we should
be thinking about how are we going to support that
activity of people organizing, because that is the way
we have a path to success in this country. So I’m going to let Greg
have the last word. But, Chad, I didn’t want
to deprive you of an opportunity to jump in
if you wanted to, but I know you are going
to speak on the next panel, so— So I wanted to—I was actually
going to say something very similar
to Sara there. I think that
every manufacturer— The National Association
of Manufacturers and unions—isn’t
that exciting? Well, I don’t know
about that part. [Laughter]
But I was going to say, about the millennials—the
millennials, I do think
that—every manufacturer I talked to says that
they’re working on culture, that they’re trying to
embrace the spirit of culture that embraces diversity
and inclusiveness. And I think millennials,
in particular, are the ones pushing for it. And I think, even at the NAM,
we’re having this conversation. And I—the part of it, I think,
is the tight labor market and then the ability to continue
to attract the best labor. But I think there’s also
a social goodness to it as well, that people are wanting
to embrace the differences that we all have. And I think that’s a good,
positive thing, that you can get that fit,
that stickiness, I think, of personalities
in that way—that as we continue to embrace
each other’s differences, we actually can be successful.
So that’s where I was going. Greg, the last word. So, about a year ago,
Broward College launched a program—a
dual-enrollment program with Miramar High School. And dual enrollment,
for those who don’t know, is when a student in high school
can contemporaneously proceed towards their high
school diploma as well as get a certificate
or associate’s degree. And this was in aviation, what we call a workforce
dual-enrollment program, and you had to have at least
a 2.5 to get into it. It was the first of its kind
that we were launching in Miramar High School,
a very diverse institution. We looked for applicants—we had
39 applicants, and we let them all in. These were
all minority students, and a third of those students
were women—young women looking for this opportunity
in aviation maintenance, an opportunity
that they otherwise would have never known of, would have never
been exposed to. And in Florida,
dual-enrollment programs are free to the student. And for many of the students
we’re talking about, these are students
who don’t have family members who have gone to college. Maybe they would have thought
it’s too expensive to do it and didn’t know
the opportunity, nor did they know
the opportunity to pursue
something in aviation. And those students took
their first college classes. All of them did incredibly well,
B’s and above, and without any exposure
from anyone outside, other than the partnership that
occurred between Broward College and that high school. And that’s the kind
of exposure—and we’re looking
at penetrating folks as young as we possibly can,
certainly in high school, and if we’re really good,
even younger, to give them the opportunity
to do something they would have
never thought of, and we’re seeing them succeed. So if we can perpetuate
those opportunities— and we’re doing it again now
as well in marine engineering, and we are seeing
the same kind of success. So we’ll continue to push that
as well as partnerships to create diversity
and opportunity that we know has the opportunity
to grow in our community. Thank you very much
for having us here. Thank you.
Thank you. So we are going to take a half
an hour coffee break. We’re going to reconvene at four
o’clock sharp in this room. And before we do that, I just wanted to thank our panel
for some really thoughtful and thought-provoking
intervention. Thank you. [Applause]

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