Author: jenniferw

I'm a staff writer for Metro Silicon Valley. Previously, my work has appeared in Diablo Magazine, The Daily Beast, SFgate.com, San Jose Inside, Sv411.com, Bitch Magazine, the North Bay Bohemian, East County Times, Product Design & Development Magazine, San Jose Mercury News, Nevada Business Magazine, Tracy Press, East Bay Express, Santa Cruz Good Times, Manufacturing.net, Design World, Pacific Sun, PayScale.com, InsideFacebook.com, AllFacebook.com, j. Jewish Newsweekly, Los Gatos Magazine, Thought Catalog and AOL's Patch Media, among others. I have also worked as a copywriter for various manufacturing firms.

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It’s Not Just Kids – American Adults Are Getting Dumber, Too

While everyone sat around decrying the state of modern education, the Associated Press came out with a study that shows it’s not just the youngsters lagging behind other countries in academic achievement. Adults in the U.S. are falling behind, too. (Photo credit: velkr0 / Flickr) The report released Tuesday says that Japan...
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Furlough Parties Now a Trend, Thanks to Government Shutdown

A bunch of furloughed government workers, willing themselves to make lemonade from lemons, have been hosting shutdown parties to cheer themselves up. The New York Times ran a piece about the trend, which extends to restaurants and cafes offering deals to anyone who shows a government ID. (Photo credit: Rep. Keith Ellison...
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Harvard Offers Free Tuition to Low-Income Students

With a yearly tuition of about $65,000, a Harvard education is far out of reach for the poorest American families. That’s why the university recently announced that students from low-income families don’t have to worry about how to pay for it – they can get it for free. (Photo credit: Patricia Drury...
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Which Countries Treat Their Workers the Best?

The Human Capital Report released Tuesday by the World Economic Forum gauged 122 countries in terms of education, employment, “enabling environment” and health. It was the first report of its kind and interesting because of the way it ranked countries based on how well they treat their workers. The top region was...
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Top 4 Online College Courses to Take

Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are becoming more mainstream. Some of the top-ranked institutions in the nation are offering them for free. But with so many now on the market, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of options. Here’s a list of some of the best MOOCs, according to Business...
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4 Ways Government Shut Down Will Hurt Women

The federal sequester is felt by a wide range of demographics, it’s true. But some of the programs getting shuttered until the nation’s leaders get their act together and come up with a budget agreement affect the nation’s most marginalized people – the working poor, children, veterans, the elderly and women. (Photo...
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Want to Become an Entrepreneur? Quit Your Yapping, Start Creating

Writing a business plan is cool and the class discussion probably informative, but that ivory-tower learning doesn’t prepare students much for the world. How do college students become successful entrepreneurs in today’s world? They got to start making things. ASAP. (Photo credit: Dell’s Official Flickr Page) “To be a successful entrepreneur, students...
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There’s Nothing Wrong With a Discount Education

People brag about finding a steal when it comes to homes, cars and other big purchases. But for some reason it’s not a matter of pride for parents to talk about how they saved a bunch of money on their child’s education. Even middle-class or low-income families are willing to break the...
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After 25 Years of Teaching, Professor Dies Broke

After a quarter-century teaching at the university level, 83-year-old Margaret Mary Vojtko died impoverished. A friend says her death highlights the plight of adjunct professors, who endure abject penury despite teaching at some of the top universities in the nation. (Photo credit: WarmSleepy / Flickr) That friend, Daniel Kovalik, wrote an op-ed...
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Is a Management-Free Workplace Productive?

Imagine the entire professional hierarchy restructured into something more democratic. No boss to report to, no corporate ladder to climb, no one to beat for a promotion and no one left in the dark about overall goals and far-reaching vision. Will it breed innovation or lead to a Lord of the Flies...
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More Women Find Work, Just Not at Well-Paying Jobs

The latest unemployment data seems to show positive gains for women. The female jobless rate – 63 percent by the last count – is the lowest it’s been for five years. Men’s, in comparison, remains above 7 percent. Women are finding work, pushing down that unemployment rate, but the jobs they’re landing...
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Harvard Freshmen are a Bunch of Cheaters

A recent survey produced results that fly in the face of Harvard’s emphasis on honesty and academic integrity. (Image credit: The Crimson) The Crimson reports that 10 percent of incoming freshmen admit to cheating on an exam before coming to Harvard. Seventeen percent say they’ve cut corners on a take-home. And 42...
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Why Do Women Choose Lower-Paying Jobs?

NPR reporter Lisa Chow majored in applied mathematics. She got her MBA. But when choosing a job, she picked one in journalism, not exactly the most lucrative option. Why do women, even the ones who earn a STEM-related degree, tend to opt for jobs with lower pay? (Photo credit: U.S. Navy /...
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Want Upward Mobility? Get an Education – If You Can Afford It

America, for all its fanfare about providing equal opportunity, is becoming increasingly stratified. Income inequality is growing, quashing the ability for the poor and middle-class to achieve upward mobility. And education, the great equalizer, has priced itself out of reach for many families, deepening the divide. (Photo credit: Will Folsom / Flickr)...
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Want to Boost the Economy? Skip the Four-Year Degree

Middle-market employers are looking for more workers with education – just not the four-year brand you’d expect. (Photo credit: eflon / Flickr) Talk to manufacturers and you’ll hear a familiar refrain: They want employees with hands-on, practical know-how to operate machinery and manage factory automation. But these jobs that drive the economy...
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En Vogue: The Working Woman’s Fashion Dilemma

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer appeared in last month’s issue of Vogue, elegantly perched on a lawn chair, decked out in the high-end couture she’s known to wear. The image elicited some sharp response from women who felt the image belittled the Silicon Valley powerhouse by dressing her up as a more of...
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Could a Post-College SAT Become the New Norm?

As employers lose faith in the almighty GPA, they’re looking for other other benchmarks to gauge competence. They need only to wait another school year. Beginning in 2014, about 200 colleges in the U.S. plan to roll out a post-grad exit exam to give companies a better idea of a grad’s real-world...
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America’s Growing Adjunct Crisis [Infographic]

Though they study on average more than eight years to teach, most adjunct professors earn just $20,000 a year. The number of masters and doctorate degree holders on food stamps has tripled in the past few years. Why do we reward our best and brightest with measly pay, massive debt and, very...
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Part-Time is the New Full-Time in the Restaurant Industry

Economic recession replaced full-time work with part-time gigs, easy to fill because widespread joblessness means more people will accept just about any employment opportunity. That’s good news for employers trying to save a buck by bypassing the need to offer healthcare, but pretty sucky for the rest of America who have to...
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White House Unveils Plan for College Affordability

President Obama kicked off a two-day bus tour with talks about how to make college more affordable. “We can’t price the middle class — and people working to get into the middle class — out of a college education,” he told an audience at The State University of New York in Buffalo...
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Young People Left Behind in Jobs Recovery

The latest jobless figures show that the economic recovery is leaving young people in the dust. Youth and young adults are underemployed or unemployed at almost recession-era peaks. That’s an alarming statistic since the extent that young people aren’t realizing their full working potential can have long-term consequences for everyone else. (Photo...
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Why Don’t More Men Take Paternity Leave?

Chatter about paternity leave is trending across the globe since Prince William returned to his princely duties after the birth of his son. We’re curious why so many men feel a stigma about taking time off work to connect with their just-born offspring. Fifteen percent of U.S. companies give paid leave to...
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Career Options for Aspiring Accountants [Infographic]

Once you’ve completed your accounting degree, there’s a whole realm of career options. Already armed with your qualifications? Here’s a glimpse of your career options. Perhaps you’d like to be a tax accountant? With an average salary of $60,000, the stress of tax season could pay for a nice vacation.  Read on...
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What’s the Difference Between Lean and Green Manufacturing? [Infographic]

The goal of lean manufacturing is to tighten up efficiency, cut down on wasted time, maximize talent and reduce waste. It sounds a lot like the benefits of going green, too. Let’s look at some of the similarities, where green manufacturing intersects with lean principles. (Image Credit: Bishop-Wisecarver Group) Tell Us What...
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3 Finance Tips From The Undead

Ever notice how vampires, in monster lore, are wealthy, cunning and hold positions of power while their undead cousins, zombies, wander around aimlessly with no achievements to speak of? FinancesOnline.com has a few lessons to impart to the walking dead from the more fiscally savvy Transylvanian bloodsuckers. (Photo credit: outcast104 / Flickr)...
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How Much Do Interns Make at Facebook and Google? [Infographic]

The short answer: A lot. In fact, the tech giants offer their software engineer interns pay and benefits that would make most of American wish they’d studied coding in college. (Image credit: Internet Service Providers) Tell Us What You Think Does all this talk about generous compensation make you want to break...
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New York Times Cites Men 3.4 Times More Than Women

A survey of the New York Times’ front page stories showed that men dominate both the bylines and sources quoted in those stories. Since men greatly outnumber women in the newsroom that should come as no surprise. (Photo credit: Josh Shlabotnik / Flickr) Earlier this year, some University of Nevada, Las Vegas,...
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Howard Buffett’s Crusade Against World Hunger

Howard Buffett was born to privilege. But from an early age, the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett wanted nothing more than to be a farmer. Later in life he found a way to combine his privilege and his passion, forming a foundation that helps fight hunger both in America and around...
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Depression’s $23 Billion Toll on the American Workplace

People diagnosed with clinical depression are much more likely to miss work. How much does their absenteeism cost the U.S. workplace? One study says it adds up to $23 billion a year in lost productivity. (Photo credit: UrbaneWomenMag / Flickr) That figure was reported by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, a database of feedback...
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Fast Food Workers Can’t Afford Rent, Demand Higher Wages

Media outlets are calling it the largest fast food worker strike in U.S. history. Starting Monday, hundreds of low-wage workers walked out of McDonald’s and other chain eateries in Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Flint, Mich. and Kansas City, Mo., demanding living wages so they can afford rent, shoes and healthy food....
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The Super-Cheap Masters Degree That Could Revolutionize Higher Education

Georgia institute of Technology is about to rock the realm of higher education. The college will open up an online masters degree program in computer science for just $6,600 – that’s $38,400 less than typical out-of-state tuition for the same degree on-campus. (Photo Credit: Will Folsom / Flickr) Roshan Khan, a product manager...
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The Truth About Green Jobs [Infographic]

CEO Magazine ranked California as the worst place to do business for the past five years? Why? At least some businesses say it’s because of the state’s stringent regulations, which make it tough to start and run a business. The California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA) seems to agree, arguing that the...
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More Colleges Offer Career Guidance

Colleges used to market themselves as a place to settle for a few years, enjoy your coming-of-age and find your passion. Today, that focus has shifted from following one’s dreams to finding a job. So colleges switched gears, revamping career centers, beefing up internship programs and encouraging students to mentor younger classmates....
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7 Top Cities for Startups [Infographic]

Looking for an affordable startup scene? Consider packing up and moving to Austin, Texas, which topped a recent ranking of the hottest startup scenes in the U.S. The list, compiled by GoodApril, a tax-planning company and startup in its own right, compares the seven best startup regions in the nation based on...
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Americans Want a Degree, But Won’t Pay as Much to Get One

Families are still optimistic about the value of a college degree, they’re just less willing to pay as much to get one, says a new Sallie Mae survey.The study, “How Americans Pay for College 2013,” shows that the average college spending per student topped $21,000 in 2012, a drop from $24,000 in...
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Why is STEM Education So Important?

Jobs in science, tech, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields earn you more money and drive innovation and the economy forward. But how do we spark interest in these careers among today’s students? Here’s an illustration of just how critical today’s STEM education is to tomorrow’s economy. Tell Us What You Think What...
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Tech Workers Are So, So Young

With kids toddling around around with iPads and an entire generation raised on social media, it’s commonly accepted that technology is mastered by the young. So it should come as no surprise to find out that the median age in the tech industry is young. Very young. And also, very male. PayScale...
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On the Front Line: Life as a Female Journalist in Syria

Journalism can be a thankless job with its low pay, long hours and tremendous risks. Italian war correspondent Francesca Borri penned a harrowing essay about life on the front lines of Syrian combat, a war zone she covers as a freelancer and, against the patronizing advice of others, as a woman. “People...
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Stop Hating On Millennials

Millennials: the generation media love to hate. It seems like every day there’s another hit piece on the “most selfish generation,” the one that still lives with their parents, won’t get married young enough, take endless selfies, post food pics on Instagram and can’t decide on a career path. Relax, people. We’re...
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Should Colleges Charge Different Tuition for Different Majors?

Reacting to to a sharp drop in state subsidies, colleges have opted for selective tuition hikes per undergraduate majors instead of equitable price increases. Does that influence how incoming students select their major? At least one analyst says that does, indeed, appear to be the case. “In the face of declining state...
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Oregon Looks at New Ways to Fund College

While the student debt crisis remains a hot-button issue on a national scale, Oregon lawmakers have come up with a novel idea for funding higher education: Have students pay a small percentage of their salary over the span of many years. The Wall Street Journal tells us the plan is called “Pay...
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Burgernomics: America Still Tops Big Mac Index

Americans can buy more McDonald’s Big Macs per hour than workers in any other country, according to The Economist’s annual (semi-serious) index of purchasing power parity. The news comes just as the WageIndicator Foundation announces that U.S. workers earn the highest hourly wages in the world. That’s all well worth celebrating in...
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Are Success and Likeability Mutually Exclusive for Women?

Is it true that the more successful a man becomes, the more he’s liked? And that a woman’s success is matched by a correlating decline in likeability? In Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, the Facebook executive talks about the double standard of likeability. Successful men are considered more likeable the higher the...
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What Marriage Equality Means for the American Workplace

When Jim Key read the news about Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, he felt an enormous sense of relief. “For 18 years we’ve been fighting for this,” says the chief public affairs officer for Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. “It feels so good to finally see it.”...
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Women More Engaged Than Men at Work

A recent poll found that more workers have “checked out” of their jobs mentally, but that women tend to be more engaged at work than men. Part of that might have to do with the fact that women are more likely to take advantage of flex time, which contributes to a person’s...
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Can Technology and Accountability Save Higher Education?

Higher education in America faces a dilemma. How can we make college more accessible, make sure students learn, make sure they finish their degrees on time and still keep it affordable enough for all socioeconomic levels? At least one study suggests technology and improved accountability measures could be the answer. In the...
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How Do We Make College More Accessible?

The divide between America’s rich and poor has grown extensively in the past 30 years, especially for people raising kids. And while the rich have become richer, earnings have declined for the lowest-income echelon. Education can and should be the great equalizer, expanding opportunity for the poor. But how can we improve...
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Are Husbands Going Out of Style?

Way back when, marriage was a necessity for women. They needed a husband to sign for a loan, job security (yes employers looked at marriage status) and, in general, to achieve upward mobility. Now that the union more of an emotional and social connection than an economic partnership, more women eschew holy...
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What if All the Good Jobs Disappear?

You spend years acquiring a specialized skill. You go to school, land the coveted internship and then, your professional coming-of-age. You get the gig. After some time in the field, there’s some technological breakthrough. It’s exciting, historic and … it puts you out of a job. Sound familiar? With the breakneck clip...
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Is College Worth the Effort Even if You Drop Out?

Ideally, you’d finish your education. You’d graduate without debt. You’d land the job of your dreams. But life has a way of throwing us for a loop. Maybe you didn’t have time to complete those degree requirements. Maybe an exciting job opportunity popped up in the middle of your academic career. You...
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The Good and Bad New About May’s Female Employment Figures

May’s national jobless rate released this week continue the slight, steady gains in employment. The economy added 175,000 jobs and the overall rate climbed up a tad to 7.6 percent. Nearly half those gains were by women. But don’t celebrate just yet. The National Women’s Law Center says those gains aren’t enough...
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Watch Out: Student Loan Rates are About to Double

While college costs continue to mount, the rate of federally subsidized student loans is on track to double by July 1. That’s if Congress doesn’t act in time. Will lawmakers do something about it and come up with a spending plan? Or will millions of millennials get royally screwed? Nothing’s decided yet....
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Why Are Accounting Jobs So Hard to Fill?

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected and the economy more complex, the demands of top professions have become broader and more nuanced. That’s certainly true for accounting and finance jobs, which now require so much more than rote number crunching. But that change in expectations makes it difficult for companies to fill...
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Does Age Affect Productivity?

Does productivity decline with age? A recent study suggests otherwise, claiming today’s generation is actually earning less and not as likely to obtain as many academic credentials as workers older than 60. Boy, how times have changed. Back in the day (as grandparents are wont to say), the elderly workforce tended to...
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Report Highlights Hidden STEM Economy

Science, tech, engineering and math (STEM) careers justifiably get a lot of ink as critical to the economy, the driving force of the future. Half of all those jobs don’t even require a bachelor’s degree, which is good news for the majority of working-class adults. Yet public policy and public spending doesn’t...
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Is Diversity Declining in Top Professions?

A half-century after the advent of affirmative action, diversity in the nation’s top professions appears to be stagnating. An analysis by the New York Times includes startling figures showing that the percentage of black doctors and architects, to name a couple fields, has remained the same for two decades. The data calls...
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Sheryl Sandberg on Gender Inequality, Women in Tech and Free Speech

Sheryl Sandberg famously instrumental in Facebook’s success also struck up an important national discussion about gender equality in the workplace. The tech giant’s chief operating officer recently spoke with the Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital about what’s changed and what still needs changing after book “Lean In: Women, Work and the...
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3 Promising Ideas for Immigration Reform

Those in favor of immigration reform like to talk about the value of high-skilled immigration, the kind with degrees and training and impressive work experience. But think about young Steve Jobs and how he would have appeared to immigration authorities: a college drop-out, a rebel, a hippie. Motivated, sure. But technically skilled?...
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Women are Increasingly Both Breadwinners and Caregivers

As more women join the workforce and climb the corporate ladder they’re more likely to fill the role of family breadwinner. Yet those professional advancements come without without the luxury to relinquish any of their traditionally held caregiver responsibilities, like shuttling kids to and from school, taking care of doctor appointments and...
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The 10 Toughest Jobs to Fill This Year

Forty percent of employers in the U.S. have job vacancies, but can’t find the skilled workers to fill them, according to the latest skills survey from staffing agency ManpowerGroup. For those of you hiding under a rock for the past half-decade, that’s what we call the skills gap. The disparity between employers’...
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Fashion Models Strut Into U.S. More Easily Than Engineers

If you’re tall, thin, gorgeous and make a living off those traits it’s easier to get an American work visa than university-trained engineers. A puzzling 20-year-old decision by Congress allowed models to be included in the H-1B class of visas, an oversight that has led to relatively preferential treatment for foreign-born beauty...
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How Many Grads Have Jobs Related to Their Major?

A new study suggests the American workforce is remarkably over-educated and underemployed. The young adult workforce, this research claims, holds degrees, but works menial jobs that don’t call for the skills they learned in college. Think the stereotypical liberal arts major serving up coffee or philosophy grad dressing storefront mannequins. But is...
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Legalizing Gay Marriage is Good for Business

The Defense of Marriage Act, in addition to being a civil rights battle, has implications in the workplace, too. That’s why some major companies like Disney, Amazon and Microsoft (to name a few) have submitted amicus briefs encouraging the U.S. Supreme Court to reform the meaning of federal marriage to include same-sex...
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Young Americans Can Make or Break Obamacare

A big part of the president’s healthcare reform plan is to extend coverage to those who need it most – the old, the poor and the young. To make it affordable, the program relies on young, presumably healthy, adults to opt in. If they don’t, they pay a fine. But what if...
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Baby Boomer Retirees Are Fine, It’s Gen X That’s Screwed

When the nation’s economy close to tanked five years ago, 60-somethings who lost a share of wealth in the downturn panicked, worried they were out of time to recoup. But a recent study shows that Baby Boomers are actually in pretty good shape – they’ve recovered most of their earnings thanks to...
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Coming Closer to Pay Parity for Women

The Equal Pay Act outlawed employers from gender-discriminatory pay practices in 1963, but pay still isn’t entirely equal. Now, legislation seeks to expand existing law to enact more protections against male-female pay disparities. Fed up, women are “leaning in” hard on this one, which means the Paycheck Fairness Act, twice rejected by...
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Federal Sequester Slashes Unemployment Checks

Politics just got a whole lot more real for anyone relying on federal jobless benefits. The much-threatened and finally-enacted sequester, an $85 billion slash-and-burn federal budget cut, started trickling down to the everyman these past two months. It translated to, among other things, some folks getting a smaller unemployment check and others...
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Has College Outlived Its Usefulness?

As the cost of college soars to unsustainable heights, its efficacy has been seriously called into question. Students now have direct access to employers, open-access online courses and a jaded outlook of “finding the right fit” when selecting a place to pursue their higher education. With so many colleges giving such a...
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Executive Leadership a New Frontier in Feminism

Feminism brought women into academics, the professional world and other male-dominated arenas, but has yet to transform the world of executive leadership. Of the Fortune 500 CEOs, only 21 are women. The Harvard Business Review recently ran a piece that spotlights the new wave of feminism, led by Lean In author Sheryl...
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Debt the Deciding Factor in Choosing a College

Back in the day, when life wasn’t as ridiculously expensive, choosing a college meant considering the school’s student life, culture, reputation and academics. With the sharply rising cost of education, that choice has come down to cold hard cash. The biggest question in the minds of students: How much debt will I...
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Young America’s Job Crisis

U.S. youngsters are having a tougher time finding work than their counterparts in other wealthy, large economies. What’s going on here? In the land of plenty, shouldn’t young talent have a smorgasbord of job offerings to choose from? Turns out, the American economy will have to create 4 million jobs before adults...
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10 Valuable Lessons to Learn From Warren Buffet

The guy became an investor at 11 years old, paid his way through college with profits from his childhood business and later became one of the greatest billionaire moguls and philanthropists of all time. Warren Buffet knows what he’s doing. Thankfully, the 82-year-old entrepreneurial mastermind (and newly minted Twitterer, or tweep, or...
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Do the Rich and Famous Have Shorter Lifespans?

Does the full-throttle lifestyle of the rich and famous make one burn out a little faster? A study that examined New York Times obits concluded exactly that, finding that folks who found a mix of notoriety and success tend to die younger. But business people who were successful without the fame tend...
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Is Social Science Under Attack?

As government spending gets slashed post-sequester, publicly funded social science research has been put on the defensive by conservative lawmakers. Do we need taxpayer-funded projects on National Geographic animal photography, women’s labor and economic performance in China and the Asian dairy industry? Inquiring minds want to know how important those are to...
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Money Buys You Infinite Happiness, Says Totally Un-Groundbreaking Study

We all know the equation: more money subtracts stress and adds a peace of mind not afforded the cash-strapped working poor. In other words, money buys some measure of happiness. But a new study by the Brookings Institute suggests something more: that the wealthier you are, the happier you become. So, evidently,...
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Fed Should Shift Focus to Expand Employment

If we want the economy to really rally, we need to do something about unemployment. It seems, at first, a semantic ploy, to call for the U.S. Federal Reserve to shift its approach from slashing the jobless rate to actually expanding employment. But there is a difference, and it’s less subtle than...
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Culinary Students Fed Up with Tuition Costs

Many chefs pursue a culinary career for the art of it, not because they think they’ll get rich working in a kitchen. (Well, unless you go into the field with the lofty goal of becoming a celebrity chef.) Starting salaries are miserably low and the hours are late and long. So why...
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Student Loan Reform: It’s About Time

The national student debt now stands at more than $1 trillion. It marked the first time in U.S. history that college debt outnumbered credit card debt. A bill making its way through Congress aims to help Americans better deal with that burden of college debt. In 2011, the national student debt clocked...
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Did Twitter Crash The Stock Market?

One fake tweet caused a “flash crash” freak-out in the market. What does this tell about the fickle nature of high-frequency trading and the power of social media? The pen may be mightier than the sword, but Twitter is, evidently, more powerful than the free market. A fake tweet published at 1:07...
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Can Doritos-Flavored Tacos Save the Economy?

Well, America, it seems we’ve found a solution to unemployment: Dorito-flavored tacos. Or at least that’s what Taco Bell is crediting for the recent creation of 15,000 new jobs. Riding the high of a fevered public reception to its Doritos Locos tacos, Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed announced that the new line...
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3 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day at Work

You can promote sustainability in a big way with your wallet and encourage your employer to do the same. Today, on Earth Day 2013, the globe’s carbon dioxide levels are higher than they’ve been in the last 800 millennia. When the world first celebrated Earth Day 42 years ago, the planet’s atmospheric...