Robert Reich is writing as if nobody in the US actually gets a vocational-technical education. Is he that wonky? What about all the young people who, um, get vocational training?

What about JobCorps?

Job Corps is a no-cost … vocational training program … that helps … people ages 16 through 24 improve the quality of their lives through vocational … training.

Funded by Congress, Job Corps has been training young adults for meaningful careers since 1964.

Here are JobCorps’ performance measures (.xls files).

            	        2007 	2008 	2009 	2010 	2011 	2012
Entered Emp/Educ	73%	66%	66%	73%	73%	75%
HSD/GED or Career Tech. Training Cert.	53%	55%	61%	64%	65%	71%
Literacy or Numeracy Gains	53%	58%	64%	65%	65%	69%

Vo-tech training is not a novel idea. It is not exotic. If vo-tech and community college will solve the United States’ labour-force problems, why aren’t they already solved?


225th Anniversary of the First Congress: We’ll be posting documents and stories highlighting the establishment of the new government under the Constitution through March 2016.

Ordinary citizens were not the only people to petition the First Congress. The clerks in the Public Offices of Congress submitted this petition on September 2, 1789 asking for a raise in salary. Unfortunately for these clerks, this petition was not considered.

Petition of Sundry Clerks for an Increase in Salary, 9/2/1789, SEN 1A-G3, Records of the U.S. Senate


Wall Street made more in bonuses than the combined salary of every American on minimum wage

According to the Institute for Policy Studies, 2013 was the year the New York financial industry’s bonus pool exceeded the cumulative annual earnings of the 1 million Americans working full-time at the federal minimum wage. Wall Street’s 165,200 employees got a total of $26.7 billion in bonuses — payments made on top of their normal salary and commissions — or more than enough to double the salary of the 1,085,000 Americans working 40 hours or more at $7.25.

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Walmart custodial worker charged with felony theft after being caught eating junk food on camera. She admits to pinching junk food off the shelves over the course of eight years. Why? She couldn’t afford the food — despite her enormous earnings of more than $11.00 per hour, well above the typical sales associate’s pay. Don’t worry: Walmart’s CEO will still earn his $35 million this year. He makes more in an hour than most of his employees make in a year. Oh, and Winters will probably do more time behind bars than anyone responsible for the Bengali sweat shop fire that killed 116 last year.

(AOL Jobs Newsletter) Winters allegedly was caught by the store’s surveillance cameras eating Oreos that she hadn’t paid for during her evening shifts at a Walmart in Portage, Ind. In response, Walmart Stores Inc. notified police and Winters was charged with felony theft, which could result in jail time for the woman described by Chicago TV station WBBM as the “Oreo Grandma.”

According to the report obtained by, Winters confessed to authorities that she had stolen cookies at the store in Portage, a city of 36,000 on the southern shore of Lake Michigan. And she’s reportedly conceded that she’s been eating — and not paying for — Oreos, gum and potato chips for more than eight years while working night shifts for Walmart.

According to TheSmokingGun, she told a Walmart investigator that she “simply did not have the monies to legitimately purchase the food items.”

As was reported by CBS-affiliate WBBM, Winters has been earning $11.40 an hour at Walmart — putting her above many of her colleagues at the giant retail chain, which employs about 1.4 million Americans. An incoming sales associate typically earns $8.87 an hour.

After posting bail earlier this week, Penny Winters was released from jail as her case continues.

Mark Weisbrot writes:

The federal minimum wage is just $7.25 an hour and hasn’t been raised in three years. But a raise is much more overdue than that. If we look at the minimum wage 44 years ago, and simply adjust it for inflation, it would be more than $10 today. This is another ugly symptom of what has gone wrong in America over the past 35-40 years. From 1979-2007 about 60 percent of the income gains have gone to the now infamous 1 percent at the top, with the majority of those gains going to the top 0.1 percent – people who made, on average, $5.6 million per year.