Given the cost and other challenges involved in going to college, some have asked the question whether it is worth it. Frequently, the answer is that given the post-secondary requirements of better paying jobs and careers, college is certainly "worth it", in spite of the tough job market.

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Just before the Independence Day holiday, the Massachusetts legislature and Governor took steps to improve our publicly funded community colleges that few thought would happen. After years of steady declines in funding, the legislature approved an $11 million increase in funding for community colleges.

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Last week, Massachusetts’ community colleges were the focus of two reports by the Boston Private Industry Council, and the Boston Foundation respectively. The reason for this attention is pretty clear; nearly all the new jobs in Massachusetts (and the nation) that pay well require some post-secondary education, and far too few students get in and through college.

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When asked during his recent visit to JVS how he manages to keep going in the face of the great challenges he faces in Congress, and in our national political and economic environment, Congressman John Lewis reached for biblical inspiration and told those of us gathered to greet him “that this too shall pass.” He recalled that during some of the darkest and most challenging days of the civil rights movement, he and his colleagues tried at all times to “take the long view.” As he spoke, I immediately thought of Martin Luther King’s quote, that “though the arc of history is long, it bends towards justice.”

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For as long as I can remember, conservative political candidates like to declare that government can’t create jobs, only private business can. This line is used now nearly every day as candidates rail against public stimulus spending. Now campaign rhetoric is one thing, and flourishes can often be excused, but when serious policy analysts and economists make this declaration, as I recently heard from a Wall Street Journal economist being interviewed on CNN, it is time to take a closer look at this oft repeated mantra.

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