Budgeting for College Students: Where to Start

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College marks a significant transition period for many young adults — it’s a time of newfound freedom and the financial responsibilities that come with it.

Whether your funds come from family, student loans, scholarships or your own wallet, you’ll need to budget for expenses like textbooks, housing and, yes, a social life. Knowing who’s footing the bill, what costs to expect and which ones you can live without — ideally before school starts — can reduce stress and help you form healthy financial habits for the future.

Have the money talk

Before you build a budget, go over some important details with the people — parents, guardians or a partner — who will be involved in financing your education. Discussing your situation together will ensure everyone is in the loop and understands expectations.

“One of the biggest obstacles we have [with] teaching young people financial literacy and financial skills is not making money and expenses a taboo subject,” says Catie Hogan, founder of Hogan Financial Planning LLC. “Open lines of communication are far and away the most important tool, just so everyone’s on the same page as far as what things are going to cost and how everybody can keep some money in their pocket.”

Here are some topics to start with:

  • Who is paying for college and how. Have a conversation before the start of each school year to decide if your family will pay for costs out-of-pocket or if you’ll need to get a job, rely on financial aid, use funds from a 529 plan or combine these options.
  • What expenses to expect. In addition to tuition, you’ll have to budget for other college costs, like transportation and school supplies. Make a list of likely expenses, estimate the cost and agree who pays for what. (See more on expenses below.)
  • FAFSA and taxes. Whether a parent or guardian claims you as a dependent or you file taxes on your own determines whose information is required to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and who can claim tax credits and deductions. Discuss your financial status before each school year and address any changes, like a raise or job loss.
  • Credit cards and bank accounts. If you’re considering opening a credit cardaccount for the first time, are younger than 21 and don’t work full time, you’ll need a co-signer: a parent or other adult. You’ll want to talk about ground rules, like only using a credit card for emergencies and defining what constitutes an emergency. Approach new financial products with caution and be careful not to take on debt. If you plan to directly deposit funds from a job or allowance, look for a checking account that offers low (or no) fees.

Anticipate your expenses

To determine what you’ll spend each term, keep these college-related expenses on your radar:

  • Textbooks and school supplies. Course materials could eat up a large chunk of your budget. The average estimated cost of books and supplies for in-state students living on campus at public four-year institutions in 2016-2017 was $1,250, according to the College Board. Also plan for purchases like notebooks, a laptop, a printer and a backpack, and read the do’s and don’ts of back-to-school shopping for money-saving tips.
  • Room and board. When it comes to food and living arrangements, weigh your options. Compare the cost of living on campus and getting a meal plan versus renting an apartment and shopping for groceries.

Continue onto NerdWallet to read the complete article.

TFS Scholarships Launches Online Toolkit to Provide College Funding Resources

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Higher Education

SALT LAKE CITY— TFS Scholarships (TFS), the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding, has launched a free online toolkit to provide counselors, families and students with resources to help improve the college scholarship search process. The toolkit, available at tuitionfundingsources.com/resource-toolkit, provides downloadable resources and practical tips on how to find and apply for scholarships.

The launch comes in celebration with Financial Aid Awareness Month when many families are beginning the FAFSA process and researching financial aid options.

“We hope these resources help raise awareness around TFS and the 7 million college scholarships available to undergraduate, graduate and professional students,” said Richard Sorensen, president of TFS Scholarships. “Our goal is to help families discover alternative ways to offset the rising costs of higher education.”

The resource toolkit includes flyers, email templates, newsletter content, digital banners and table toppers which are designed to be shareable content that counselors, students and organizations can use to spread the word about how to find free money for college.

The newly revamped TFS website curates over 7 million scholarship opportunities from across the country – with the majority coming directly from colleges and universities—and matches them to students based on their personal profile, where they want to study, and stage of academic study. By tailoring the search criteria, TFS identifies scholarships that students are uniquely qualified for, thus lowering the application pool and increasing the chances of winning. By creating an online profile, students can find scholarships representing more than $41 billion in aid. About 5,000 new scholarships are added to the database every month and appear in real time.

Thanks to exclusive financial support from Wells Fargo, the TFS website is completely ad-free, and no selling of data, making it a safe and trusted place to search.

For more information about Tuition Funding Sources visit tuitionfundingsources.com.

 

About TFS Scholarships

TFS Scholarships (TFS) is an independent service that provides free access to scholarship opportunities for aspiring and current undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Founded in 1987, TFS began as a passion project to help students and has grown into the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding. Today, TFS is a trusted place where students and families enjoy free access to more than 7 million scholarships representing more than $41 billion in college funding. In addition to its vast database that’s refreshed with 5,000 new scholarships every month, TFS also offers information about career planning, financial aid, and federal and private student loan programs as part of its commitment to helping students fund their future. Learn more at tuitionfundingsources.com.

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Dr. Karen Schuster Webb Appointed Sixth President of Union Institute & University

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union institute president

Union Institute & University’s Board of Trustees today announced the appointment of Dr. Karen Schuster Webb as the university’s sixth president, effective July 1, 2018. Dr. Webb succeeds Dr. Roger H. Sublett, who is retiring after serving Union as president since April 2003.

Dr. Webb is a visionary leader with a passion for community and mentoring women in leadership, having dedicated her career to the equity of access to educational excellence in the United States, as well as around the world. She brings more than 20 years of executive leadership and an impressive career in higher education, most recently as the Midwest campus president and senior advisor for Academic Innovation to the Chancellor at the Antioch University System. She also served as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Antioch University Midwest Campus. Prior to her work at Antioch University, Webb served at Alliant International University System from 2000 to 2013, where she was founding university dean of the California School of Education, overseeing programs in California, Mexico, and the Far East, as well as online programs. She was also associate provost for Community Engagement at Alliant from 2009 to 2013.

Dr. Webb served as dean of the College of Education (Baton Rouge) at Southern University and A&M College System: Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Shreveport (Community College), and online from 1998- 2000. She co-founded and co-directed the Center for the Study of Academic Achievement in Learning Environments, part of a Stanford University Complex Instruction Institute Consortium, University of Kentucky System: Lexington from 1994-1998. Fluent in Spanish, she was also program director, Language Education Programs, at the University of Kentucky from 1992-1998. Earlier in her career, she served at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Indiana University, Bloomington, and Coppin State University in Maryland. From Indiana University-Bloomington, Dr. Webb earned her B.A. degree in Spanish, her M.S. in Education: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages/Applied Linguistics, and her Ph.D. in English Education: Second Language Studies.

Dr. Webb was appointed chair-elect of the American Council on Education’s Women’s Network Executive Council (WNEC), Washington, D.C. in 2014, and becomes chair of the Executive Council in July. She also served on the ACE Northern California Women’s Network for more than 10 years and held both vice chair and chair positions there. She has earned numerous awards, including Teacher of the Year by the California School of Education doctoral students at Alliant International University, and was selected in 2016 as one of the Top 25 Women in Higher Education and Beyond by Diverse Issues In Higher Education Magazine, honoring her commitment to and advocacy for diversity, inclusion, and mentoring. Dayton Magazine profiled her for their leadership series. She serves on the Advisory Board of William V. S. Tubman University Foundation in Harper, Liberia, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.

Dr. Webb has a successful record of fundraising and building relationships and partnerships throughout her career. She served on accrediting peer visit committees for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, as well as holding numerous committee leadership positions throughout her career.

Dr. Webb has been a leader in her fields of study and has spoken at conferences nationally and internationally. She has published numerous articles in the areas of urban education, sociolinguistics, and language learning. Dr. Webb’s career has been one of service at complex systems, and primarily at institutions serving adults returning to higher education and emphasizing experiential learning-based instruction. She also served at universities that were founded to provide equity of access to higher education for students of color. At Antioch University, she and her leadership team initiated programs that grew undergraduate and master’s degree programs. She secured corporate funding for academic program development and launches and developed private and public sector partnerships, including programs with PNC Bank and the Greene Foundation of Kettering Health Network. She was instrumental in Antioch University’s collaboration with Sinclair Community College in Mason, Ohio, and established articulation agreements with four additional non-competing regional community colleges. She launched the Workforce Development, Community Education, and outreach initiatives for Antioch University with Dayton’s immigrant communities, and established the Antioch University Midwest campus Veterans Affairs Liaison Office.

Dr. Webb and her husband, Wallace H. Webb, Jr., a retired educator, are the proud parents of two children, Ramona and Wallace, III.

Dr. Webb said, “I am humbled and honored to have been selected as the sixth President of Union Institute & University—a university living its mission to engage, enlighten, and empower students to achieve a lifetime of learning and service. Indeed, it is a privilege to follow Dr. Sublett, whose leadership has provided Union with a firm foundation, as well as a reputation for commitment to excellence, innovation, and community outreach. I look forward to joining the partnership reflected by the exceptional Union community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and Board of Trustees to continue Union’s distinguished social justice legacy as a world-class university.”

Ms. Christine van Duelmen, chair of Union Institute & University’s Board of Trustees, said, “On behalf of the Board of Trustees of Union Institute and University, I am very pleased to welcome Dr. Karen Schuster Webb as Union’s sixth president. The search committee, consisting of trustees, administrators, faculty and alumni, spent more than a year evaluating and rating potential candidates. A very thorough national search was guided by a distinguished national firm. All Union stakeholders had the opportunity to meet the finalists and provide their feedback. At the January 2018 Board of Trustees meeting, the trustees carefully considered the qualifications of the three finalists and after much deliberation, they voted unanimously to offer the presidency to Dr. Webb,” Trustee van Duelmen continued.

“Dr. Webb is ideally suited to serve as Union’s next president, particularly following the exemplary leadership of Dr. Roger Sublett. I know she will create new opportunities for students, faculty, and staff and build upon our partnerships with area businesses and the local communities we serve,” said van Duelmen. “Dr. Webb has the background and experience to lead our university forward, in her words ‘to a more perfect Union,’ and has shown us her commitment to and passion for Union’s mission and values: to engage, enlighten and empower individuals to pursue professional goals and a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.”

“On behalf of the entire Union community across the nation,” van Duelmen continued, “we are so pleased that Dr. Webb has both the vision and capacity to lead Union Institute & University, one of the most important universities of its kind in the world.”

In April 2017, Dr. Sublett, Union’s fifth president, informed the trustees and community of his plans to retire on June 30, 2018 after 17 years of leadership and a career serving higher education spanning five decades. Dr. Sublett said of Dr. Webb’s appointment, “Dr. Webb is an accomplished professional with a strong commitment to social justice, social responsibility, and community connectedness in higher education. She has served with distinction in institutions most recently in California and Ohio. She is a national leader particularly in support of women in higher education through her work with the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C. Having worked with Dr. Webb over the years, I know she understands Union’s history and commitment to serving adult learners. She is and has been a strong advocate for the mission of Union and other like institutions. She is a scholar, a seasoned administrator, a respected colleague in higher education across the nation. All of us who have been involved in the life of Union welcome Dr. Webb to the presidency of Union with enthusiasm, and wish for her and Union only the very best in the coming years. Union is most fortunate to have attracted such a talented leader.”

Trustee van Duelmen praised Dr. Sublett on his service and tenure. “Dr. Sublett has provided incomparable leadership through a period of both challenges and academic growth. The entire Union community is grateful for his years of dedicated service and his commitment to higher education. Throughout his 17- year tenure, Dr. Sublett has been a beacon of service and leadership. It was in that spirit that the trustees bestowed upon him the Presidential Medal of Exemplary Leadership last October. We look forward to celebrating his stellar career later this spring.”

A Board-appointed transition committee will assist Dr. Sublett and President Elect Webb in the coming months. She will take office on July 1, 2018.

Union Alumna to Serve as New Cincinnati Center Executive Director

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Dr. Rea Waldon is coming home to Union Institute & University as the executive director of the Cincinnati Academic Center.

Waldon received her Ph.D. from Union Institute & University where her studies focused on public policy and urban economics.  She is returning to the university that she credits with propelling her career. “My new role at Union allows me to combine my passion for education and business.  I didn’t fit the mold but Union had confidence in me and my degree changed my life,” said Waldon. “I know Union changes lives. I am one of those lives.”

Waldon is a businesswoman with a solid background in strategic planning as well as professional experience in banking, education, workforce development, healthcare, business and community development.

“A degree is the ticket to entry for most professional careers. One of my goals is to connect the dots between the business ownership and a college degree. Approximately 75% of entrepreneurs do not have college degrees. A business degree provides a broad foundation for the entrepreneur that starts to build a more complex organization. Tied to that is the need to recruit and train qualified staff. I understand workforce development and I think I can make a difference the way Union made a difference in my life and career.”

Dr. Nelson Soto, provost and vice president for academic affairs at UI&U looks forward to her leadership skills. “Rea is the epitome of success. She understands the value of higher education and transferrable skills. She has numerous business connections and will be a valuable addition to Union.”

Waldon describes herself as a person pegged “couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t” succeed. But that has never stopped her. “Union’s nontraditional approach is the right fit for adults with the odds stacked against them. My message is you can work and complete your degree.”

Waldon is the founding executive director of the Ohio River Valley Women’s Business Council, worked for the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati for eight years, first as Senior Vice President and then as Chief Operating Officer.  Prior to joining the Urban League, she was Assistant Vice President/Community Development Officer for PNC Bank.

Waldon also served Union Institute & University as a faculty advisor and affiliated faculty from 1995-2006. Waldon has been recognized as a Cincinnati Business Courier Mentor of the Year and is the recipient of the Women of Color Foundation’s ISIS Award. She is also one of Fifth Third Bank’s Profiles in Courage recipients.  She is a coach and mentor to business owners and students. She is also the owner of KDDK Legacy Group.

In addition, she holds a M.A. from Antioch College in Management Information Systems, and a B.S. in Accounting from the Union Institute & University.

About Union Institute & University

Union Institute & University is a non-profit, regionally accredited university specializing in providing quality higher education degrees for adults nationwide. Founded in 1964, Union’s academic programs and services are the result of more than five decades of identifying and refining ways to structure and deliver education to meet the needs of adults. Distinguished as the pioneer in adult education, Union perfected the concepts now common in higher education such as the hybrid model, a blend of online and traditional classroom instruction, interdisciplinary studies, and student centered education with socially relevant and applicable learning outcomes in its undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs.

The university is guided by its core mission to educate highly motivated adults who seek academic programs to engage, enlighten, and empower them to pursue professional goals and a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.

Union is a national university with academic centers located in: Ohio, Florida, and California.

For more information about Union Institute & University, visit www.myunion.edu or call 1- 800-861-6400.

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6 Apps That Save Your Money While You Barely Lift A Finger

LinkedIn

Apps do a lot of things, including help us spend money. To kick off the year right, we’ve rounded up some apps that help us save ― or at least help us spend less. Here are a few that could tune up your budget in 2018, with hardly any effort on your part at all.

1. Earny

What it does: Obtains refunds automatically when prices drop on items you’ve already purchased
What it costs: Free

It’s so frustrating when you see that something you just bought is now on sale for less than you paid. About the only thing worse is not realizing it, especially if you bought the item from a retailer that will price match.

Meet Earny, which automatically monitors when retailers reduce the prices on items you purchased. When that happens, Earny goes one step further: It contacts the company to get the difference back, without your so much as lifting a finger.

2. Raise

What it does: Offers gift cards for less; sells unwanted cards for cash
What it costs: Free

Gift cards have wormed their way into our spending life, despite our tendency to lose them a lot. In 2015, there was about $130 billion in gift cards sold, almost $1 billion of which then went unspent. Yet we keep buying more: Consumers dropped about $150 billion on gift cards last year, according WalletHub.

Sometimes we intend to use them for ourselves, especially if we can find them discounted. The Raise app is one place to look.

Before you shop online or in stores, search the Raise marketplace to find discounted gift cards by brand, category or value. Shipping is always free on the physical cards, and shoppers save an average of 12 percent on purchases, according to a Raise spokesman.

On the other hand, if you have gift cards you don’t want, sell them on Raise for cash.

3. Cardpool

What it does: Operates an exchange for discounted gift cards
What it costs: Free

Similar to Raise, Cardpool works as a platform for users to buy and sell gift cards. Buyers can get up to 92 percent of a gift card’s value. Sellers may have to wait a bit longer for their money because, unlike Raise, Cardpool doesn’t post the funds directly to the seller’s bank account. Instead, the payment comes in the form of an Amazon eGift Card or a bank check sent via snail mail.

Continue onto Huffington Post to read the complete article.

Which MBA Program is Right for You? You can get your MBA your way.

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Today’s business schools offer more opportunities than ever to help you find a program that meets your specific needs. Programs generally fall into the following categories:

Full-time MBA programs are primarily for students who are able to take time off from working full-time to concentrate on their studies. These programs are ideal for both “career switchers” and “career enhancers.” Global companies sometimes send employees for a total immersion experience in countries that represent an important business market.

  • Programs typically last from 12 to 21 months
  • Longer programs often include a three-to-four month internship option
  • Core course requirements are completed in the early stage of the program
  • Specific concentrations and elective courses finish the latter stage of the program
  • The mix of electives and requirements varies among programs
  • Students often relocate to attend full-time programs

Part-time MBA programs are designed for working professionals and allow students to work full-time during the day and attend classes in the evening or on weekends. Part-time programs are popular among career enhancers—those who have experience and want to further their career in a chosen field. They are also a smart choice if you already have a network in your field to help you find a new position post-graduation.

  • Courses are scheduled year-round
  • Programs typically lasts 2 to 5 years
  • Commuting is more common than relocation

Executive MBA (EMBA) programs enhance the careers of professionals who are already specialists in a field or industry. EMBA programs focus on honing general management skills in core classes, with little or no opportunity for specialization. Enrollment is often tied to a new or anticipated promotion, and most students are company-sponsored.

  • Students work full time and attend classes on Fridays and Saturdays, usually on alternate weekends, over two academic years
  • Offers a full immersion experience, with learning outside the classroom and extensive faculty and student/team interaction
  • The shared professional experience and expertise of students becomes part of the curriculum

Virtual/Online MBA programs are a good option for those who need or want to work full time and who cannot or do not want to attend classes in person. Most online programs allow students to complete assignments and review lessons when and where it works best for them.

Which type of program is best for you?
Before you make your decision, you’ll want to consider a variety of factors to determine which type of program will best overall experience to meet your professional and personal goals.

Goals and Program Elements

  • How do you learn best?
  • How much flexibility are you looking for in a program?
  • What is your industry or job function goal and how that could affect your choice in program type?
  • Do you already have a functional or industry specialty, or do you need an MBA to develop one?
  • Will an internship help you make a career transition?

Lifestyle

  • Can you handle going to school full time and working part time, or vice versa?
  • Do you want classmates who share your interests and experience level?
  • Are you ready for the responsibilities of an MBA-level position upon graduation?

Family Considerations

  • Will your partner need to relocate and/or enter a new job market?
  • Does the school offer support for partners and families?

Location/Other

  • Do you want to study locally, in your home country, or abroad?
  • Do you prefer to be in a college town or a city?
  • How will the school’s connections with the local business community help?
  • Will your current employer support you in a full- or part-time program?

Carefully consider your answers to these questions, and you’ll have a much better idea of which type of program will be your perfect fit.

Source: FORTÉ Foundation

Meet Danielle Olson: A ‘Gique’ Advancing the Case for STEAM Education

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Danielle Olson

What is a “Gique”? It’s a cross between “geek” and “chic,” a maker and creative problem-solver whose interdisciplinary interests turn STEM into STEAM. Meet Danielle Olson, researcher and PhD student at MIT and proud founder of Gique, a nonprofit that provides transformational, culturally situated STEAM learning for underserved youth.

Olson says being a Gique is about using your passion to embrace change and create your dream job. Olson offered STEMconnector her insights and experience as an engineer, a dancer, a dreamer, and pioneer in STEAM education, as well as research on how the arts are leveling the educational playing field in STEM.

Interview below courtesy of Stemconnector

STEMconnector: How does using the arts impact the STEM talent gap?

Danielle Olson: Fortunately, a new and exciting field of education is emerging where curricula are designed to expose youth to the applications of science, technology, engineering, art and design, and mathematics (STEAM) in the real world. STEAM, rather than just STEM, education focuses on student cultivation of the critical, creative, and participatory dispositions key to empowered, authentic engagement in both science and art, along with preparing students to think of ways that they can contribute to society as individuals.

The arts have been treated as a “cherry on top” in recent years. But research demonstrates that an arts education offers critical development opportunities for children, which include cognitive and social growth, long-term memory improvement, stress reduction, and promotion of creativity. In fact, research findings show that if arts were included in science classes, STEM would be more appealing to students, and exposure to experts in these fields could affect career decisions. Gique believes that STEAM education affords students opportunities to envision themselves pursuing their “dream careers,” which they may invent for themselves.

There are three categories that aid in representing various perspectives of art integration: (1) learning “through” and “with” the arts, (2) making connections across knowledge domains, and (3) collaborative engagement across disciplines.

Gique piloted a 9-month-long, out-of-school STEAM Program with students at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, an inner-city in Boston, Massachusetts, in the areas of science, the arts, and entrepreneurship by putting the theoretical framework, which underpins the necessity for STEAM education, into action.

SC: What kinds of lessons do you offer students?

DO: Gique designs and provides free, hands-on educational programs and mentorship to talented youth from diverse circumstances in the Boston area and in California. We create a safe, positive learning community for our students and cultivate their curiosity and self-esteem through two arms of programming:

  • Gique’s Science Can DANCE! Community Programs—provides youth with a way to explore STEAM through creative movement and dance choreography. By taking an integrated approach to breaking down technical concepts, we provide a unique mentorship opportunity for students interested in both arts and science topics.
  • Gique’s Out-of-School Time (OST) STEAM Program—a 9-month-long, weekly after-school program for middle school students to explore their personal interests in STEAM. This program enables students to receive long-term mentorship from innovators from around the world and participate in hands-on workshops and field trips. By the end of the semester, students gain a better understanding of how they can take an idea from concept to reality through innovation with art + design, science, and technology.

In addition to these two programs, Gique has provided a wide variety of educational opportunities to people of all ages in the Boston area for the past four years. We have collaborated with numerous organizations to provide educational programming, including MIT Museum, Harvard Museum of Science & Culture, Artisan’s Asylum, and General Assembly Boston.

SC: How can corporations that support a vibrant STEM workforce get involved in advancing STEAM education?

DO: First, corporations should stand with teachers and parents to fight back against policies that discourage interdisciplinary education. This may include, but is not limited to, policies that result in art, drama, history, and science class time reduction and policies, which discourage teachers from being innovative due to too much focus on standardized testing.

Second, people in power must use their influence to help give underrepresented groups more access to resources that can level the playing field in education. I had access to programs like FIRST Robotics Competition and MIT’s Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science Program, which changed my life, thanks to the generosity of donors investing directly in people of color by sponsoring these programs. However, I wouldn’t have been able to participate in these programs if I had to pay for them. That’s why Gique leverages the support of its sponsors to deliver life-changing experiences to students that help them pursue career dreams that they may have deemed impossible.

SC: How is Gique measuring its impact?

DO: We have a structured process in place to design, administer, and analyze quantitative and qualitative measurements, including pre- and post- assessments, audio/video interviews, and external feedback (from program staff/volunteers and parents/guardians).

Specifically, for Gique’s OST STEAM Program, a schema was developed to identify, both broadly and specifically, what students learned and in what context it applies to their lives. Prior to each term, the program leadership developed several goals for student impact, with measurable indicators to assess each goal. Assessment questions were adapted from the Museum of Science Boston’s Engineering is Elementary program assessment model. At the end of the semester, students completed the same assessment for the program leadership to understand what deltas occurred and what the development areas were for program improvement.

While the quantitative data collected often helped to inform strategic decisions and content choices, the qualitative data showed how the program impacted students, parents, volunteers and teachers. Gique wholeheartedly believes that learning experiences should be fun, so asking these qualitative questions were critical to the development and success of the pilot OST STEAM program.

Gaining parent/guardian feedback served to be an excellent indicator of how excited students were about the program.

Visit Gique’s community of leaders and makers at gique.me

Source: stemconnector.com

 

 

New Year’s resolutions for career success in 2018

LinkedIn

By Eric Titner

A new year is often looked at as an opportunity for making positive changes, and we’re all familiar with the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions—as we end each year and look forward to the next, we take stock of the things we want to improve upon or change in our lives.

Those among us who are diligent enough to take things one step further set a plan for achieving our resolutions, and some among us actually follow through by putting in the time and effort to achieve our stated goals. And for the most dedicated and focused among us, sometimes a positive change and lasting result is achieved.

Our New Year’s resolutions can vary across an endless array of categories—from finding love, making new friends, and moving to a new city to acquiring a new hobby or skill set. Among the most popular resolutions that people make involve job- and career-related goals. However, while making a New Year’s resolution for career change and success can be the beginning of a wonderful new chapter in our lives, it’s really just the first step.

Positive intent can be a powerful motivating force for change and growth in our lives, but the truth is that it’s often not enough—this is the reason why the majority of us fail to completely commit and follow through on the resolutions we make each year. The truth is, most resolutions flounder in the starting gate without any real forward progress ever being made, and many others are met with a feeble, half-hearted effort that eventually goes nowhere. We need more than a positive attitude and hope—we need a plan.

According to a recent article on The Muse, “Those who took meaningful steps to achieve their resolutions—setting step-by-step goals or telling their friends and family, for example—were far more likely to achieve their desires than those who made no specific commitments… So if you really want to see results this year, it’s critical that you set your goals with sincerity, and set yourself up for success.”

What are your New Year’s resolutions for career success in 2018? More importantly, do you have a plan for achieving them? Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular career-related resolutions, and some advice for taking them past the “good idea” stage and closer to the “goal achieved” category.

I want a promotion.

Who among us doesn’t want a loftier position with a more impressive sounding title and a higher salary, regardless of where we currently work? The truth is, this isn’t always an immediately attainable reality for everyone—maybe you’re just getting started at your current job and it’s too soon to start thinking about a promotion, or maybe the place you work at is small and there’s no clear upward trajectory. Whatever the reason, if you’re seeking a promotion and there’s no obvious path for growth for you in your current job, perhaps this means you should make a more drastic change as part of your New Year’s resolution planning.

However, if there are opportunities for growth on the horizon for you, then take a step back and a deep breath and think carefully before blindly charging into your boss’s office and demanding a promotion.

Take stock of your current situation—have you spent the last year working hard to convince your boss that you are ready, willing, and able to take the next step to a new job with greater responsibility? Has your boss been giving you positive feedback all year about how valuable you are to the company and how everyone is impressed with the job you’ve been doing? If so, then you’ve already been working hard to achieve your goal of getting a promotion—the next step is choosing the right time, place, and method for asking for one. This is highly subjective and based on your individual job situation. Do you have annual review meetings with your boss to discuss such issues? If so, then this would be the ideal time to broach this subject. Or perhaps your boss is open to feedback and discussions whenever they arise. If so, choose a day when your boss seems to be in a good mood and go for it!

Maybe you haven’t been getting great signals that your boss would be terribly receptive to the idea of you asking for a promotion. If this sounds more like your reality, then it may be wise to concoct a more long-term plan. Spend the next several months—maybe even the entire next year—anticipating your boss’s needs, doing your job to the absolute best of your ability, and sowing the seeds for popping the big “promotion question” next year. Like we said earlier, sometimes you need a plan, and there’s nothing quite as defeating or draining as asking for a promotion before you’re ready and meeting rejection.

I want a new job.

Okay so maybe you’ve reached as high and as far as you can possibly go in your current job, faced every challenge, conquered every obstacle, and mastered every skill that you could possible acquire. It’s time–you’re ready for a change. It happens, and it’s a perfectly natural and healthy part of any career path. In fact, job changes are often great opportunities to climb to the next rung on your career ladder. However you should consider some advance planning before you race out of your current job screaming, “I quit!”

Get a feel for the current job market in your field and area. Are there a wealth of opportunities available, or is it slim pickings? Take a subtle poll of the folks in your peer network who work at other companies. Does it sound like you may be able to go after an opportunity through your contacts?

If conditions out in the job market seem great, then plan for your next steps—polish up your resume and cover letter, make sure your interview clothes still fit, and get out there! However, if you’re seeing some warning signs that right now might not be the best time to jump ship, then bide your time and plan accordingly. Don’t forget, you can do some subtle and covert planning for your next job while you’re at your current one so when the iron is hot you’ll be prepared to strike!

I want to make a major job or career change.

Perhaps you’re just not feeling completely happy or fulfilled in your current industry, and something is telling you that perhaps now is the time to make a major change. This could be a good thing—the truth is, job unhappiness is often a major cause of mental and physical distress and could have a wide range of negative effects on our health and well-being.

According to a recent Huffington Post blog post by Alexander Kjerulf, founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Woohoo inc, “Way too many people hate their jobs. Exactly how many is hard to say, but depending on which study you believe, somewhere between 20 percent and 40 percent of employees are miserable at work.” Kjerulf goes on to say that hating your job can weaken your immune system, make you gain weight, rob you of sleep, ruin your personal relationships, and even increase your risk of serious illness. Not a good way to ring in the New Year!

So, if you’re eager to make a major job or career change… you guessed it, make a plan. Consider making a list of pros and cons for taking the plunge. If everything in your life is pointing to making a major change, figure out what new goal makes the most sense for you. Take an inventory of your skills and experience, along with your interests and aspirations, and figure out which careers/industries you best align with. Do you have any friends or family who have jobs that sound potentially intriguing to you? If so, ask them more about it. Do your research—the Internet is a great source of information for researching new companies and careers.

Although making a big career change can be a wonderful moment in your life, acting impulsively could really backfire. There are countless stories of people who made quick decisions to leave their current working worlds for new ones, only to discover that they were ill-informed and really had no idea what they were getting into and wound up being just as unhappy—or even unhappier—as they were before. Don’t become just another unfortunate member of this group. Plan wisely and carefully, and you’ll be setting yourself up for a real shot at positive and lasting change.
I want to build new job skills.

This is a great goal for most of us and can really help put you in a better position to achieve the other resolutions on this list in the future—getting a promotion or a new job, or even changing industries. And even if none of these goals are in your immediate future, acquiring new skills can be a rewarding and fulfilling enterprise on its own and help us feel more empowered and effective in our current positions.

If you’re looking to acquire new job skills in the new year, consider the following. Do you want to acquire skills that will make you more effective at your current job or a new one? Your answer to this question will help you determine which skills you should look at. Also, are you looking to invest money towards acquiring new skills? If so, there are a wealth of career and adult education/skill-development programs available across the country; a great place to start is researching the offerings at colleges and universities in your area. You’ll likely come across a wealth of options, both in class and online—you just need to decide which are right for you.

If money is an issue and you’re looking for a more cost-effective approach, there are some great free and low-cost options online. One great resource is Skillshare, an online learning community created, maintained, and curated by veterans and experts in their respective fields who are dedicated to teaching others the skills they’ve acquired.

Here’s the bottom line—many folks who are unhappy with their work lives or who are just eager for a fresh start or new challenge take the new year as an opportunity to make a change, and it’s a great time to do so! Because so many people are focused on career changes at the beginning of a new year, many companies and industries ramp up their hiring during this time—and those among us who are serious and dedicated can take full advantage of this reality. If this sounds like you, perhaps now is a great time to move forward—but do so wisely and plan accordingly. Good luck and Happy New Year!

Continue on  to read more articles like this on The Muse

Playing the Long Game: Sustainable Diversity-College Recruiting

LinkedIn

By Jena Burgess, PHR

Organizations are recognizing the benefits of starting diversity recruiting efforts early and often in order to build the numbers to feed their future ranks. Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and Fortune 500’s have been engaging in a college recruiting model that early identifies, but often comes up short in meaningful impact. And while initiatives have been put in place to hold companies accountable and transparent, there are missed fundamentals to consider when building sustainable diversity-college recruiting programs. As CEO of Coach Jena B. LLC, I spend my time coaching both colleges and corporate partners to close the skills gap for Millennials and Gen Z’ers. What I’ve learned? When it comes to diversity-college recruiting, corporate partners need to play the long game for maximum impact on campus and with their recruits.

  1. Walk in as a partner not a recruiter

Before you walk in guns blazing hunting for the best and brightest under-represented talent on campus, have you stopped to ask your colleges how best to partner? The difference in diversity recruiting is your ability to build trusting relationships that meet the needs of your gate-keepers. Especially, when it comes to supporting our HBCU’s. As a recruiter, you may have a plan in place to meet your numbers, even throw dollars to get the job done. But without the proper strategy, your short term play will have you losing the long term gains. Ask your college contacts: 1) How can we best support diverse students? 2) What challenges are preventing placement for un-tapped talent? 3) What do your students/staff need to be successful? If a school doesn’t have what it needs to lift talent through the pipeline, you won’t have what you need either. Find out what partnership means for your key schools and adapt your strategy accordingly, resulting in deeper connections and reach to desired students.

Remember: Your organization has a lot to offer outside of dollars. Knowledge and presence are invaluable. Some may need better administration support for diverse students; others need professionals for mentorship programs. These efforts not only keep your budget intact, but they will go a long way to building your relationship and proving you are a true partner.

  1. Match your brand to your efforts

A quick way to damage your diversity brand on campus is to not walk the walk. It’s great that you brought the CEO to read your diversity statement to the students, but are your actions and student experience matching your sales pitch? In talking with students from across the country for Super Qualified, I was astounded by how savvy students are about company culture. Build sustainable brands by offering students:

  • Exposure to the right executive sponsors (not just diverse leaders, but those with inclusive leadership traits)
  • Bringing diverse professionals to all your campus events, not just the diverse ones (this will also encourage your diverse recruits to attend those events)
  • Transparency to expectations. Yes you are selling, but be realistic and clear on what you need from the student to be a successful match – coach in addition to recruiting

  1. Recruiting doesn’t end at the internship offer

When I speak with colleges, I tell students that the internship is an extended interview. The same goes for your company. Students are still ‘interviewing’ you.  Invest in the intern experience as you much, if not more, than you have invested in the recruiting process. Craft an experience, not just a program. I’ve been working on a curriculum guide to my book Super Qualified that maps out how to create a meaningful intern to career experience. Here’s what I’ve learned…

  • Students need a Sherpa! Let someone on your team (or you!) “own” the diverse student experience. Task this person with checking in on your interns, creating a safe space to discuss company culture/performance issues, or being a central point of contact
  • Give your diverse interns opportunities to connect with the larger company. Your interns know what the company “looks” like. Don’t shield them from it; support them learning it
  • Often and continuous. I hear from many managers at companies that they don’t know how to give feedback to their diverse interns (who later become their diverse professionals). Coach your managers on how to give it. Coach your interns on how to receive it. And if you need resources, the Super Qualified curriculum can help

Do the internship right and you’ve turned your intern into a campus ambassador. Do this wrong, and you’ve turned this student into a walking negative review.

Remember, long term means long term. Your diverse recruits may trickle in slowly, and in this case quality beats quantity. As I tell my clients, this may seem like a lot of initial investment, but you may be recruiting your next CEO. Play the long game by remembering these 3 tips and get to sustainable.

About the Author:

Jena Burgess is the author of Super Qualified: Maximizing Your College Experience To Get The Job You Want and board member of HBCU Career Development Marketplace. She is CEO of Coach Jena B. LLC consulting and focuses on early career success for colleges and companies.

3 Things to Know Before You Pick a Health Insurance Plan

LinkedIn

Choosing a health insurance plan can be complicated. Knowing just a few things before you compare plans can make it simpler.

  1. The 4 “metal” categories: There are 4 categories of health insurance plans: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. These categories show how you and your plan share costs. Plan categories have nothing to do with quality of care.

Which metal category is right for you?

Bronze

  • Lowest monthly premium
  • Highest costs when you need care
  • Bronze plan deductibles — the amount of medical costs you pay yourself before your insurance plan starts to pay — can be thousands of dollars a year.
  • Good choice if: You want a low-cost way to protect yourself from worst-case medical scenarios, like serious sickness or injury. Your monthly premium will be low, but you’ll have to pay for most routine care yourself.

Silver

  • Moderate monthly premium
  • Moderate costs when you need care
  • Silver deductibles — the costs you pay yourself before your plan pays anything — are usually lower than those of Bronze plans.

Gold

  • High monthly premium
  • Low costs when you need care
  • Deductibles — the amount of medical costs you pay yourself before your plan pays — are usually low.
  • Good choice if: You’re willing to pay more each month to have more costs covered when you get medical treatment. If you use a lot of care, a Gold plan could be a good value.

Platinum

  • Highest monthly premium
  • Lowest costs when you get care
  • Deductibles are very low, meaning your plan starts paying its share earlier than for other categories of plans.
  1. Your total costs for health care: You pay a monthly bill to your insurance company (a “premium”), even if you don’t use medical services that month. You pay out-of-pocket costs, including a deductible, when you get care. It’s important to think about both kinds of costs when shopping for a plan.

When choosing a plan, it’s a good idea to think about your total health care costs, not just the bill (the “premium”) you pay to your insurance company every month.

Other amounts, sometimes called “out-of-pocket” costs, have a big impact on your total spending on health care – sometimes more than the premium itself.

Beyond your monthly premium: Deductible and out-of-pocket costs

  • Deductible: How much you have to spend for covered health services before your insurance company pays anything (except free preventive services)
  • Copayments and coinsurance: Payments you make each time you get a medical service after reaching your deductible
  • Out-of-pocket maximum: The most you have to spend for covered services in a year. After you reach this amount, the insurance company pays 100% for covered services.

So how do you find a category that works for you?

  • If you don’t expect to use regular medical services and don’t take regular prescriptions: You may want a Bronze plan. These plans can have very low monthly premiums, but have high deductibles and pay less of your costs when you need care.
  • If you qualify for extra savings on out-of-pocket costs OR want more of your costs covered: Silver plans probably offer the best value. If you qualify for extra savings (“cost-sharing reductions”) your deductible will be lower and you’ll pay less each time you get care. But you get these extra savings ONLY if you enroll in Silver plan. This can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year if you use a lot of care. Even if you don’t qualify for extra savings, Silver plans offer good value — moderate premiums and deductibles, and better coverage of your out-of-pocket costs than a Bronze or Catastrophic plan provide.

If you expect a lot of doctor visits or need regular prescriptions: You may want a Gold plan or Platinum plan. These plans generally have higher monthly premiums but pay more of your costs when you need care.

  1. Plan and network types — HMO, PPO, POS, and EPO: Some plan types allow you to use almost any doctor or health care facility. Others limit your choices or charge you more if you use providers outside their network.

Types of Marketplace plans

Depending on how many plans are offered in your area, you may find plans of all or any of these types at each metal level – Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

Some examples of plan types you’ll find in the Marketplace:

  • Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO): A managed care plan where services are covered only if you use doctors, specialists, or hospitals in the plan’s network (except in an emergency).
  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): A type of health insurance plan that usually limits coverage to care from doctors who work for or contract with the HMO. It generally won’t cover out-of-network care except in an emergency. An HMO may require you to live or work in its service area to be eligible for coverage. HMOs often provide integrated care and focus on prevention and wellness.
  • Point of Service (POS): A type of plan where you pay less if you use doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers that belong to the plan’s network. POS plans require you to get a referral from your primary care doctor in order to see a specialist.
  • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): A type of health plan where you pay less if you use providers in the plan’s network. You can use doctors, hospitals, and providers outside of the network without a referral for an additional cost.

Source: Healthcare.gov

Economic impact of HBCUs is almost $15 billion, study finds

LinkedIn

American Historically Black Colleges and Universities contribute $14.8 billion to the U.S. economy, according to a new study.

The study, published by the United Negro College Fund, hopes to motivate further investments into America’s 101 HBCUs. It states HBCUs create over 134,000 jobs, and every dollar spent on HBCUs yields positive economic returns.

According to the report, almost $10 billion of the total impact are from public institutions like N.C. Central University and Winston-Salem State University.

Henry McKoy, a business professor at NCCU, said HBCUs should be invested in both publicly and privately. Public HBCUs are largely funded publicly and McKoy hopes corporations and businesses will begin to invest more in the schools.

“What it’s trying to show is that HBCUs shouldn’t be undervalued — they should be invested in,” he said.

Zagros Madjd-Sadjadi, an economics professor at WSSU, said the importance of HBCUs goes beyond traditional economic impact.

“What we really should be focusing on is the fact that you’re taking a number of individuals – for whom education would not have been possible if you don’t have the HBCUs – and making them college graduates, and then allowing them to become productive members of our society,” he said.

McKoy said HBCUs have a historical and current importance in America. About 300,000 students attended HBCUs and about 9 percent of black college students were enrolled in HBCUs in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center.

Madjd-Sadjadi said the report is not fully representing the impact of HBCUs.

“That 14.8 billion — that’s actually underestimated,” he said. “I’m currently working on the economic impact for our university, and we’re showing probably somewhere in the neighborhood of four-to-five hundred million dollars impact. That’s because you have to also consider the fact that many of the individuals who graduate from an HBCU would never have gotten the opportunity to go to college at all if we weren’t here.”

Continue onto The Daily Tar Heel to read the complete article.

University of Chicago statue gives black scholar her place in history

LinkedIn

When Georgiana Rose Simpson arrived to the University of Chicago in 1907, her presence in a dorm caused an uproar among some of the other students because she was black, and she was eventually asked to move off campus.

Undeterred, Simpson continued her studies by commuting to campus and corresponding from afar and went on to become one of the first black women in the country to graduate with a doctorate, records show.

For decades, Simpson’s role as the first black woman to finish a doctorate from U. of C. has gone largely unknown.

But on Tuesday, two university students will unveil a bust of Simpson atop a pedestal at the Reynolds Club, the university’s student center, which was once accessible only by white males. For Asya Akca and Shae Omonijo, the move is an effort to give Simpson her rightful place in university, and Chicago, history.

“The University of Chicago is on the South Side in a predominantly African-American community, and yet there is not that much African-American history represented on our campus,” Omonijo said. “This is despite the fact that so many prominent black scholars came from this institution.

“It’s important to see and know her. … Classes may be hard, you might fail a midterm or not know what to major in. … But at the end of the day, if she pushed through, you can make it and graduate,” Omonijo said.

With the Simpson statue, Akca and Omonijo are entering a larger conversation about the role of monuments and statues in the nation’s history and how the images affect the consciousness and esteem of the people who see them.

Nationally, there are few statues that recognize the historical contributions of women. In Chicago, there are memorials that honor women like Jane Addams — but few statues or busts that present an actual image of a notable woman. According to the Smithsonian Institute’s archives, only about 8 percent of publicly displayed statues depict women.

“Women — real women, not symbolic and allegorical figures — are practically invisible in American memorial culture,” said Erika Doss, a professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame and the author of the book “Memorial Mania.”

Continue onto the Chicago Tribune to read the complete article.

 

Martellus Bennett’s ability to empower and inspire kids caught the eye of Microsoft

LinkedIn

When tight end Martellus Bennett was a young child, he knew he wanted to create visuals and tell stories.

“As a punishment as a kid, my mom used to make me write stories about what happened. And I used to crush those,” he said. “I started writing like crazy. I always feel like creativity is one of my easiest things to do, ’cause there’s some things that you do in life that just feel right.”

The act of creating is natural for the 6-foot-6 athlete who was raised in Houston, where football is king. As Bennett’s desires grew to create more with his creativity and imagination, he knew he wanted to do more. So in 2016 he followed his passion and created The Imagination Agency, “a place where dreams come to life” and where he wears the title of chief executive officer. He tells stories through children’s books, apps and films. It’s an agency that cultivates and inspires youths to pursue creative career paths.

Under the umbrella of The Imagination Agency, Bennett penned children’s book Hey A.J., It’s Saturday, which was released on Father’s Day 2016 and has an app.

Bennett describes the word imagination as “endless possibilities.”

“I think imagination is the key to the world’s issues,” he said. “I think imagination is a great solution. Therefore, this is why I work very hard to promote creativity in kids, because kids have great imagination and creativity, and to help create great solutions for all of the problems that we have in the world in the future.”

To help him carry out his passion, he has partnered with Microsoft to participate in its Create Change movement. Microsoft’s Create Change program features a video series discussing how handpicked players are using Microsoft technology in their philanthropic endeavors. The company, known for having high standards with its philanthropic endeavors, is pursuing thought creators who are inspired to drive positive change and empower other individuals in their communities. And Bennett fits the bill. They also collaborated with four other NFL players to support the philanthropic work they do off the field: Von Miller, Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman and Greg Olsen.

Continue onto The Undefeated to read the complete article.

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