In honor of National Citizenship Day, client Muthusamy Vembusubramanian shares his story about coming to America, and why it was important for him to become a citizen.

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Two years ago, JVS created a five-year plan to expand our impact. This plan was motivated by the knowledge that we face a major “opportunity gap”: 70% of all jobs will require post-secondary education by 2020, more than 60,000 Boston residents--roughly 10% of all residents-- lack the basic skills and credentials to enter college or family-sustaining employment, and two-third of business leaders report difficulty finding employees with the right skills and tens of thousands of individuals cannot access the educational and employment services they need to achieve economic success.

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As August begins to wind down, we usually start thinking about back-to-school events. But before we get caught up in the excitement of the new school year, I want to reflect on the year of classes that we just completed at JVS with fifteen Celebrations of Success that honored more than 1,000 students who completed classes.

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Tom Keane writes convincingly in his recent Boston Globe column that education is the major dividing line between good and bad jobs.

I generally agree with the thrust of Keane’s argument, but he tends to simplify the income inequality problem and the education solution. First, the education gap is not the “real reason for income inequality” as Keane states. It is a reason, albeit a major one, but it is hardly the only reason. There is very compelling evidence that the decline in unionization, shifting tax burdens, and the disproportionate growth of low- wage service jobs in our recent recovery contribute mightily to the problem.

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This week's consent decree between the federal government and the state of Rhode Island to begin the end of sheltered workshops for people with disabilities in favor of competitive employment was a major step towards creating an inclusive society that values potential in everyone. The decree resulted from numerous instances of segregated sub-standard, and isolated work environments, sub-minimum wage pay levels, and long-standing mis-assumptions about work abilities.

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