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U.S. President Barack Obama looks on during the public ceremonial inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington January 21, 2013.   REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool (UNITED STATES  - Tags: POLITICS)
President Barack Obama is highlighting women's economic issues, particularly access to higher education, at an event at Valencia College, a community college in Orlando, FL, on Thursday. The event is:
... the first in a series of regional forums on women’s issues that senior administration officials plan to attend in the next few months. The forums will help set the agenda for the president’s Summit on Working Families in June, which will discuss programs that can help women but that do not require approval by Congress, where much of his agenda has stalled. The effort is part of Mr. Obama’s “pen and phone” strategy, which involves executive orders and his ability to recruit high-ranking government officials and business leaders to accomplish his goals.
A White House fact sheet emphasizes the importance of education to women's earnings:
Graph showing earnings boosts for women and men with associates degree, BA, grad degrees, over high school graduates.
Community colleges are an important part of education for women, with many female college students over the age of 25 having children and needing flexibility; according to the White House:
Nationally, community colleges are key paths to economic opportunity for women.  In fact, 4.1 million women make up 58 percent of community college students, and about a quarter of them are mothers.  The number of women enrolled at community colleges will grow by nearly 20 percent between now and 2021, to 4.9 million by 2021, nearly three times faster growth than male enrollment.    
Obama is also using Thursday's event to continue pushing for women to enter science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), a push that's consistent with his broader emphasis on STEM fields. While the White House cites data suggesting that women in particular may benefit from entering these fields, on the whole, the president seems, sadly, to be embracing a myth about a STEM shortage that the United States isn't actually facing.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 08:41 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for linking to the STEM shortage piece (3+ / 0-)

    .. That's consistent with what I've seen too - if the shortage were real, the salaries would be higher.

  •  Obama believes what Silicon Valley execs tell him (3+ / 0-)

    so that they can continue to depress the US tech labor market by flooding it with H1Bs, colluding with each other to keep wages low.

    American Presidents: 43 men, 0 women. Ready for Hillary

    by atana on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 09:54:54 AM PDT

    •  S 744 could fix H1B problems. (0+ / 0-)

      The senate immigration bill would mandate higher wages for H1Bs, and it would allow them to switch jobs easier. They would also be able to apply for green cards without employer sponsorship, not to mention that firms that abuse the H1B program (have more than 15% of their workforce on H1Bs) would get punished.

  •  In looking at STEM "shortages" and pay (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alwaysquestion, coffeetalk

    There are massive differences in the abilities of people working in STEM.  

    For example, in software development a top person can be 10 times as productive as the median developer through better design, quality as well are the rate that quality code is produced and meets the needs of customers.

    Paying a top developer 4 or 5 times the average developer compensation is a bargain compared to hiring the average person when it comes to developing a software based product.

    In the world of software development there is no shortage of average developers, but there is a severe shortage of top developers.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 09:59:20 AM PDT

    •  Yeah, but... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy

      ...training a bunch of newbies isn't going to change that situation, is it?  After all, the same companies that don't want to hire "average" software developers are going to be even more unwilling to hire new software developers who will have a learning curve.

      And, by definition, most people in any given field are going to be average.  So what are we supposed to do -- train a million new developers so that industry can pick through them, pick the 10% who are at the top, and then just discard the rest?

      Doesn't sound like much of a plan to me.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 10:21:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some fraction of new graduates will be new (0+ / 0-)

        top STEM people.

        In addition, for each top STEM person, there is need for other people of average ability - testing, integration, documentation, customer support, marketing, etc..  

        For those who are not top STEM people, the general thinking skills in a STEM education have wide application in business including - sales, marketing, business operations, finance, manufacturing, management, planning, etc..  This is especially true for high tech businesses and traditional low tech businesses getting a high tech makeover.

        US emigration policy should "staple" a green card to foreign students graduating from top US STEM programs with Masters and PhDs.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 11:04:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Where is the BS? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alwaysquestion

    I thought it was interesting that the plot showed BA but not BS.  I think that the picture would not be consistent with the message, but would illustrate one of the STEM problems.

  •  If I could wave a magic want, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yo Bubba

    I would stress to all young women how important it is to get the degree before having that baby.  (And then to have only one baby.)  Guess getting the master or higher could maybe be worked in after a baby depending on how demanding that field is.  But life really is much easier for both the mom and child if the education comes first.  Delaying a baby gives a woman the time to mature and think more of the child's needs rather than a young woman's wants.

    1. What does it mean? 2. And then what?

    by alwaysquestion on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 10:32:11 AM PDT

    •  Only one baby? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alwaysquestion

      That would result in rapid aging of the population, and you could say goodbye to Social Security and Medicare. This is the problem that large parts of Europe and some Asian countries like Japan are facing.

      While teen pregnancy should certainly be avoided, another fact worth mentioning is that women who wait until their late 30s before thinking about children often suffer from fertility problems and have to resort to expensive treatment, which may or may not succeed. Not to mention that birth defects get more common the older the potential mother gets.

      •  I think we need to figure out a way (0+ / 0-)

        to address the SS and Med. issue.  But yes, I believe we need to reduce our population.  We have dwindling resources.  We are over crowded.  The entire world is over crowded and Europe and Japan are at least going in the right direction where that is concerned.  I think addressing the social stability of getting over the aged hump is a real issue, true, but we should focus on solving that without birthing our way there and causing other problems.

        You bring up a very important point of fertility and defects.  But if we could get our women into college and out by late 20's, that would be perfect timing to have a baby after that.  It was for me and others I know.

        1. What does it mean? 2. And then what?

        by alwaysquestion on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 11:04:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Except, as much as I hate to say this, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alwaysquestion

          We're not overpopulated. Well perhaps the US is a little, but the overpopulation is really a problem in the third world.

          And telling women in places like Bangladesh or Nigeria that they should wait to have children is a nonstarter. In most cases, they don't really have much of a say.

  •  Is this an official WH photo? - (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scyellowdogdem, dbm

    It's a terrific shot, somewhat telling ...:)

  •  Thanks for the diary, but it's sad... (0+ / 0-)

    Women outperform men in education, yet underperform in wages.

    I'm not saying that's a reason to give up; it's a reason to continue the struggle for equality for all.

    I ride the wild horse .

    by BelgianBastard on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 12:21:17 PM PDT

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