The governor’s comment, writes the Journal Sentinel, a newspaper in Milwaukee, bares “one of the most enduring sources of friction” in American higher education: What is the primary function of the faculty? On one side of the question are critics of universities who see it as working with students in the classroom. On the other are defenders of advancing knowledge through research, and sharing it in ways that go beyond the classroom.

The free community college plan would save millions of students close to $4,000 a year and help keep college costs down across the board. It would give community colleges a more serious competitive edge over exploitative and unreliable for-profit schools that prey on those who are most desperate for cheap education. And on principle, it would strengthen the promise of democracy by encouraging the development of more informed citizens. These are all good things.

But there’s one common misconception about expanding the accessibility of education that should be done away with: the idea that more education will guarantee full employment for a class of previously unemployable people. The deeper problem with joblessness today isn’t that there aren’t enough skilled workers — it’s that there aren’t enough jobs.

First Nations Excluded from Key Employment Data

"The government of Canada doesn’t gather unemployment statistics on First Nations reserves because it says it’s too costly and it’s hard to find people to interview."

"That means roughly half of this country’s First Nations people don’t show up in unemployment numbers. As a result, Canada knows very little about unemployment in areas where it has made job training and economic development a priority. It also means that the regional unemployment figures that play a role in whether employers can import temporary foreign workers are blind to the reality of First Nations joblessness."

"The Labour Force Survey is a key diagnostic tool, something akin to a heart-rate monitor. The survey, conducted monthly by interviewers across the country, delivers a statistically sound snapshot of the Canadian population’s employment levels and labour-force participation. Statistics Canada has never included reserves in the Labour Force Survey."

The Globe and Mail, January 23, 2015: “Ottawa failing to include First Nations in key employment data,” by Joe Friese

What if First Nations Were Counted?

"Since this data isn’t collected monthly, the only reliable figures are from the first week of May 2011, when the National Household Survey (NHS) was conducted. … [T]he seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate for Canada is 7.6% … but on reserves it is a shocking 22%. Had reserves been included in the calculations, the Canadian unemployment rate would have been 7.8%, not the official 7.6%. … [and the] employment rate falls from 61.1% to 60.9%—pretty incredible, considering people on reserves make up only 1% of the Canadian population."

"That’s for 2011, but what would it look like today? [Approximations show] once reserves are included, the unemployment rate is a little worse than the ‘official’ statistics indicate for Canada, Ontario and Quebec. But it is substantially worse for the Prairie provinces and BC. … [T]he unemployment rate in December 2014 would have jumped from 5.2% to 5.8% in Manitoba; and in Saskatchewan from 3.6% to 4.3%. BC would see its rate go from 5.4% to 5.7%.”

Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Behind the Numbers blog, January 26, 2015: “What if First Nations (and their poverty) were counted?,” by David Macdonald

First Nations: Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

It’s often said that a society can be judged by how it treats its most disadvantaged. So why then does Canada continue to brandish a reputation of racial harmony?

"By almost every measurable indicator, the Aboriginal population in Canada is treated worse and lives with more hardship than the African-American population [in the U.S.]. All these facts tell us one thing: Canada has a race problem, too."

"How are we not choking on these numbers? For a country so self-satisfied with its image of progressive tolerance, how is this not a national crisis? Why are governments not falling on this issue?”

Macleans, Januuary 22, 2015: “Canada’s race problem? It’s even worse than America’s,” by Scott Gilmore


How You Really Sound In Job Interviews

Watch this intensely squirmy video to discover why you aren’t getting hired—and what you can do about it.

Read More>

interpreting workplace standoffishness

Anonymous said to realsocialskills:

Question about a common problem @ work: Sometimes “normal” (not really) people are distant, unfriendly, or even rude because they’re busy or not interested in being friendly. Sometimes they’re like that b/c they have a problem with you and they’re being cooly polite to cover it up.

As an autistic person, how can I tell the difference between a person who is unfriendly but has no ill intentions; versus a person who is unfriendly because there’s a problem?

This has caused me big problems at work.

realsocialskills said:

You can’t always tell, but there are a couple of approaches that work some of the time:

One way is to watch how they are with other people. Are they also cool and abrupt with others, or is it mostly directed just at you? If it’s mostly directed at you, they are probably annoyed with you specifically.

Another way is to ask other people who you work with. Are there people at work who you know like you, and who you get along well with? If so, you might be able to ask them, and they might know what’s going on. Eg:

  • "I feel like I’m offending Bob a lot. Do you think I am, or am I misreading something?"

Another possibility is asking the person. This can backfire and isn’t always a good idea, but sometimes talking to someone directly can go a long way towards solving the problem. Eg:

  • You: I feel like I’m annoying you a lot. Is there something you’d like me to do differently?
  • Them: It’s really annoying when people chat at me while I’m trying to concentrate. Could you keep it to work related things when it’s not lunch time?

Also, there’s a blog called Ask a Manager that you might want to read. It has a lot of really good posts on workplace culture and how to manage conflicts with coworkers.

Anyone else want to weigh in? How do you tell the difference between people who are just generally distant, vs people who have a problem with you in particular?

Driver's License and Vehicle Required

So concludes about 80% of the job postings I find.

For many people, this is inconsequential; something that’s a given. When I was sixteen, I stood by as some of my friends excitedly obtained their permit, and only a short while later, their license. By the time I was in college, nearly everyone my age — that I knew — had a car. There were, of course, a few exceptions, but I was not in the majority.

Having a driver’s license is expected. If you don’t have one, you’re viewed as unreliable by some and immature by others. It seems to be a prerequisite for many jobs — even ones that pay minimum-wage or only slightly higher. Despite the cost of maintaining a vehicle, gas, and insurance, it’s generally assumed that one will, eventually, earn their license and purchase a car.

It’s different for someone who has had ten eye surgeries.

I spent much of my early teenage years struggling to balance my glaucoma (which I was diagnosed with at age nine) with school, extra-curricular activities, and simply growing up and finding my place. My parents were my biggest supporters. The vision in my left eye deteriorated rapidly. I had surgeries in other states. I missed a lot of classes. When I graduated high school, I breathed a sigh of relief.

For the past few years, I’ve been very lucky. My vision has remained stable. However, I still primarily only use one eye, I experience frequent headaches and blurry vision, and my eyes are very easily irritated. I take several medications to keep my intra-ocular pressures stable.

At age twenty-two, I walked across the stage after hearing my name. I had done it — I had earned my Master’s degree. I was beaming; I was glowing. I was prouder than I have probably ever been. And, you guessed it — I still didn’t have my driver’s license.

As I began the process of looking for and applying to jobs, I noticed that the majority of employers required a car and driver’s license. This makes sense where travel is required between offices, I thought, or if home visits are required. But in some instances, it seemed, well… superfluous. I’ve been utilizing public transportation since I was thirteen years old; it’s neither a burden nor does it prevent me from getting to work and being punctual.

What struck me as especially intriguing was the almost always present: “We do not discriminate on basis of religion, sexual orientation, gender, disability….”


I’m not sure if I consider my vision impairment a disability or not (the Americans with Disabilities Act does), but that’s beside the point. It is frustrating, and honestly saddening, to have worked so hard for a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, and my Licensure — I’m an LMSW — only to see this in job descriptions time and time again.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, this shouldn’t be happening.

Yet it has, and it continues to happen. Cars are not always reliable. They break down. People will always run late. And in this part of the world, inclement weather occurs all too frequently during the winter. I am trying to learn to drive, but it’s taking time, and I’m not sure if it’s ever something I will be fully comfortable with. My safety, and the safety of others, must always come first.

More importantly, however: requiring that someone have a driver’s license and vehicle to get to work is ableist. It discounts the work I, and so many others, have put in. It is discriminatory. And it needs to stop.

Thank you for reading.

[Also on LinkedIn.]

I’ve been on benefits for over a year now. Well, this time around anyway. I have basically spent most of my life battling mental illness. This time around was the worst it’s ever been, but as a result of many years of being mental, I have GCSEs and a job history consisting of a handful of name tag gigs that lasted a maximum of 6 months each, with massive gaps of unemployment in between. And considering how bad my mobility issues have gotten, there’s no way I can go back to standing all day at a cash register.

Now I’m at the best I’ve ever been. I feel motivated, and I’m ready to start living. There’s one major barrier to me getting my life where I want it, and that’s my lack of qualifications. I found a Pitman Training course to become a legal secretary. With that, I can get work in a legal environment, enabling me to start a CILEx course, eventually becoming an actual lawyer. I’m aiming to specialise in employment law and family law, so I can help the kinds of people who’ve been hurt by the end of legal aid. People like me.

However, the course is expensive. Over £300 per module expensive. It looks like I’ll need to do a minimum of three modules, at <14hrs a week so I don’t lose my benefits. On my restricted income, it’ll take me months to even save up for one module. I managed to save up £70 over several months and I’ve already had to dip into it and owe myself.

The government, despite it’s grandstanding about people like me being workshy spongers, will not fund the course, instead preferring to fund “cv skills” and other such nonsense through the Job Centre. The Princes Trust have no money, despite the Prince himself being minted. And the other charities that would be willing to help have all told me that they can’t because of Government funding cuts.

So yes, I’m crowd funding it. It’s my only option. My lovely boyfriend has offered to help out as best he can, but he’s not exactly swimming in cash either and as we’re both saving up for a deposit so we can live together and I can have something other than a one room dank pit, I’d rather not take his bonus and tax rebate from him.

So, if you’re willing to help me get into work either out of the kindness of your heart or because you’re the kind of person who hates tax money going to the unemployed or disabled, now’s your chance. Even £1 would help. So please consider helping out, or sharing this with your (hopefully minted) friends.