Fed Chair Janet Yellen: Public Education And Skill Development Raise Job Prospects, Lower Unemployment

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald March 30, 04:00 am
Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen holds a news conference following a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee March 15, 2017 in Washington, DC.
(Photo : Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Janet Yellen, the chairperson of the Federal Reserves, believes unemployment remains a big challenge for the U.S. economy. The government head, however, knows the answer to this challenge is to fix the public education system as well as help Americans develop better skills as workers.

Yellen made her pronouncements while addressing members of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition Tuesday in Washington. She noted how poor education historically reflected on low-income and minority families, which in turn affected their chances of employment.

The general U.S. unemployment rate was at 4.9 percent as of February 2017, according to Trading Economics. In 2015, Yellen said that unemployment rate among low-income families was at 13 percent, while the high-income families' unemployment rate was at 7.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate among African-Americans dropped to 8.1 percent in February. During the recession in 2010, this rate was at 16.6 percent. Among Hispanics, on the other hand, the unemployment rate is at 5.6 percent, as per Bloomberg.

Yellen challenged economic leaders to help the government's education sector by providing alternatives or opportunities. "[Its] educational programs and training that lead to better paying and more steady work crucial for people without college degrees, particularly lower-income workers," Yellen said, Reuters quoted.

Yellen went on to enumerate some of the successful education initiatives the Federal Reserve supported, such as the career and technical education (CTE) programs or vocational education. She also highlighted how companies can open apprenticeships or promote entrepreneurship among the disadvantaged labor force.

Yellen expressed optimism with the U.S economy and the job market's improvement in the coming years, but she also recognized the solutions do not come with quick results. "I want to reiterate that addressing the particular barriers standing in the way of lower-income students attending college and earning a degree requires a long-term strategy," she said in her speech, Mondovisione reported.

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