It's Not Liberal Arts And Literature Majors Who Are Most Underemployed - Canadanewsmedia
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It's Not Liberal Arts And Literature Majors Who Are Most Underemployed

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Help wanted signs hang below menus at a restaurant in the Newport section of Jersey City, N.J., Wednesday, May 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Burning Glass and Strada Institute for the Future of Work (formerly USA Funds, one of the nation’s largest student loan guarantors), recently published The Permanent Detour – Underemployment’s Long-Term Effects on the Careers of College Grads.

The report found that a high percentage of college graduates (43%) were underemployed – initially taking jobs that did not require a college degree – a condition that’s likely to persist.

Although there are some serious methodology errors with those conclusions, The Permanent Detour also segregated college majors by their rates of underemployment. The report found that those who graduated with majors in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) were the least likely to experience underemployment.

“STEM majors are the least likely to face this problem. Only 30% of engineering and computer science majors are underemployed in their first job after graduation…” the report said. STEM fields such as engineering and computer sciences had the lowest rates of initial underemployment – 30% and 29% respectively.

Those findings mirror a national consensus that STEM jobs are in-demand and the best path to good, post-college careers – a narrative echoed by Burning Glass. Generally, there’s no reason to disagree with the premise or the findings that STEM graduates do well at finding appropriate jobs.

And it’s easy to become distracted by the share of underemployed graduates Burning Glass ascribed to each major. That, for example, of the 21 majors reported, “Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services” had an abysmal 65% underemployment rate. Or that “Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies” posted a cringe-worthy 63%.

But what’s more interesting is not the percentages of underemployed graduates in these fields of study. The raw numbers of students impacted tell a different story.

The Permanent Detour report conveniently lists the number of degrees awarded in 2016, along with their reported underemployment rates, in each of the 21 majors it tracks. So, even though the “Parks, Recreation” majors fared quite poorly as a percentage, those academic tracks marooned just 28,474 graduates on the shores of underemployment because only 60,583 of those degrees were awarded in 2016. The total number of underemployed Parks and Rec graduates places it not among the worst majors, but just mediocre, at 11th of 21.

When you do the math on the supposed underemployment number against the number of degrees awarded by major, “Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services” left far more people high and dry on job success. With a 47% underemployment rate according to Burning Glass, and a massive 601,092 degrees passed out in 2016, business and related majors produced a staggering 186,339 people with a degree and no corresponding college-level job.

“Health Professions and Related Programs” majors were second worst, leaving 154,915 with degrees but without good jobs, according to the report. Education and Psychology were third and fourth with 99,597 and 61,647 graduates without good jobs respectively.

The “Health Professions” data is head-scratching since we know that in 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted, “Healthcare support occupations and healthcare practitioners and technical occupations are projected to be the two fastest-growing occupational groups, adding a combined 2.3 million jobs, about 1 in 4 new jobs” by 2024.

Nonetheless, if you believe the Burning Glass data, those four majors alone – business, health professionals, education, and psychology – put more than half a million people in the underemployed camp in a single year. And given that the 21 selected majors in the Burning Glass report totaled 904,000 underemployed graduates, just those four majors accounted for more than half (56%) of the underemployed in the study.

It’s also interesting that although it’s a popular target of those who insist that a college education should connect to a good job, majors in “Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies, and Humanities” left a scant 18,824 underemployed grads in 2016. “English Language and Literature/Letters” had just 16,422 underemployed. And the major with the fewest underemployed graduates, according to the report, was “Foreign Languages, Literature, and Linguistics.”

In other words, for every cliché of a barista or bartender with a liberal arts degree, there were ten with a degree in business.

It may be true that if you’re chasing a nice college-level job, studying STEM subjects is among the safest bets. But from a policy perspective, considering the actual and subsidized costs of college, colleges that churn out degrees in business and health professions may be a serious problem – pumping hundreds of thousands of underemployed graduates into the economy every year.

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Opinion: City council’s bold investment in the arts will elevate Calgary when we need it most – Calgary Herald

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Not only does increased arts funding make Calgary more vibrant and livable, but it also boosts the economy, say columnists.


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Times are tough, but Calgary’s city council got moving with a game-changing investment that positions its arts sector to lead nationally.

We recognize the political risk inherent in the decision to elevate Calgary from one of the lowest arts funders per capita — behind Edmonton and Winnipeg — to one of Canada’s leaders, alongside Vancouver and Toronto.

It’s a bold move, and not a moment too soon.

Calgary needs big wins and must strengthen its creative industries, break out of the current downturn and grow the economy in the years ahead. In cities that have faced similarly daunting challenges — from Chicago to Miami to Denver — the results are clear: Developing an international reputation as a vibrant arts hub attracts and retains North America’s top creative talent, which in turn acts as a magnet for business.

We need look no further than Calgary’s experience bidding for Amazon HQ2 to understand the competitive landscape. Calgary not only lost the bid, it didn’t even make the final round. The only Canadian city on Amazon’s short list? Toronto. Mayor John Tory attributed Toronto’s success to its creative talent, quality of life and vibrant civic culture. The data backs up the claim. Toronto is a champion of the arts, funding artists and arts organizations at $5 to $10 more on a per capita basis than comparable Canadian municipalities.

By nearly doubling funding for the arts in 2019 and increasing funding to an estimated $15.9 million or $14.60 per capita by 2022, the City of Calgary has closed the municipal arts funding gap.

We know the immediate impact this funding will have on arts organizations and artists in the city. At city council on Nov. 26, representatives from Glenbow Museum, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, Quest Theatre for Young People and Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra described how additional municipal support will enable dynamic new programming, increasing paid attendance, drive memberships and attract new philanthropic support from the community.

Beyond these immediate benefits, arts organizations fuel Calgary’s creative sector and deliver economic returns. It is estimated that $1 invested in the arts returns $1.90 in direct spending and $2.60 when you consider increased tourism benefits. In Calgary, creative industries employ over 50,000 people. Each year more than 4,000 students graduate from the city’s four major schools with creative industries-related degrees and diplomas.

Perhaps most significantly, the arts transform lives, making our city more livable, interesting and inspirational for everyone. Children grow and achieve their full potential through lessons, classes, performances and creative interactions. Each year, hundreds of thousands of children and youth participate in arts education events across Calgary.

To realize the opportunity presented by the city’s strategic arts investment, it will take a co-ordinated sector-wide effort. We know that Calgary’s artists, arts executives, philanthropists and city builders are ready to do the heavy lifting because they have been the driving force behind the non-partisan Creative Calgary campaign over the past year and, together, we have achieved historic results for the sector. The group convened in early 2017 around the audacious goal of positioning Calgary as a national champion of the arts. Since then, we have worked collaboratively with city agencies and institutions to find win-win strategies to help move Calgary forward. Over 60 civic representatives signed Creative Calgary’s pledge to work with council and Calgary Arts Development to close the municipal arts funding gap. In response, city council showed real leadership and vision by more than doubling its arts funding commitment by 2022.

The time is ripe for growth in Calgary. Let’s get creative and seize the opportunity presented by the city’s bold investment in the arts when we need it most.

Irfhan Rawji, CEO of Calgary-based tech startup MobSquad, and Mary Rozsa de Coquet, president of the Rozsa Foundation, are co-chairs of Creative Calgary.

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New home for Creating Space community arts studio in Peterborough – ThePeterboroughExaminer.com

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REVIEW: Arts Club's Pemberley is a Christmas gift to Vancouver – Vancouver Courier

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One of the Arts Club Theatre’s Christmas gifts to Vancouver this season is their production of Christmas at Pemberley, a modern imagined sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

One of the stars of this show is the immediately charming set by set designer Ted Roberts.  It creates a large, elegant mansion atmosphere in the small confines of the theatre on Granville Island, with its open gazebo ceiling over the large drawing room and huge glass windows onto an outdoor scene.  There’s also a tall Christmas tree and even a view to part of the rest of the house. 

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The dialogue is witty and entertaining, and the actors stay very much in character with the original novel. Staid and prim Mary is now revealed to be bright and yearning for a wider life, excellently portrayed by Kate Dion-Richard, with a mixture of intelligence and gawkishness bringing the character to life.

Matthew MacDonald-Bain is equally awkward and believable as her hopeful suitor, and the rest of the cast bring the other original Austen characters to lively Regency life in elegant costumes by Amy McDougall.  Baraka Rahmani is just as giddy as the original Lydia, and Carmela Sison is the reincarnation of her snobbish mother, Lady de Burgh.

A guaranteed entertainment for mind and eye, with suspense – as true love does not run smoothly – but with a welcome happy ending for  this festive season.  The show runs till Dec. 30.  

See www.artsclub.com for information and tickets.

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