Graduation Bonus

A debate is raging right now about the correct approach to fix the struggling global economy. In Europe, the French and Greek electorate have just rejected German calls for more fiscal austerity and signaled their desire for more stimulus spending. We see a similar debate domestically as politicians advocate for more balanced budgets or more spending now to stimulate the economy.

I come down on the side of long-term fiscal responsibility balanced by a short-term need to use government resources to tide us over until private sector demand can catch up, or what is called a Keynesian approach.

Mayor Emanuel declared his support for this approach on Saturday by pledging to pay the first month’s stipend for student who are hired by private sector firms. The stipend is a strong signal to private sector firms that we believe in our graduates. It may give the tipping point for an employer undecided about whether to take a chance on one of our students. It serves as a Keynesian response to our unemployment challenges with direct links to the work force. I don’t know which policy guru at City Hall thought this idea up, but I am impressed with its boldness and focus. In conjunction with the College to Careers initiative, the City is putting its money where its mouth is.

It is a good time to be at City Colleges, and an even better time to be a student here. We are pouring increasing resources into supporting and educating our students. We are focused on student success. And we have a Mayor and City Hall making big plans to push us even further. Fourteen months ago, I never dreamed that being at a community college would be so cool.

Published by Don Laackman

Leader with non-profit, higher education, and private-sector consulting experience.

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