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A student learns welding at a vocational high school in Massachusetts. (Photo: Emily Hanford)

Ready to Work

Vocational education was once a staple of American schooling, preparing some kids for blue-collar futures while others were put on a path to college. Today the new mantra is "college for all." But not everyone wants to go to college, and more than half of jobs don't require a bachelor's degree. Many experts say it's time to bring back career and technical education. This American RadioWorks documentary explores how vocational education is being reimagined.

Recent Posts

  • 04.28.16

    “My Frain is Bried”: Shadowing a Student

    "Welcome to our world." Educators take an entire school day to shadow a student and walk in their shoes. We find out how it went for one teacher.
  • 04.21.16

    High School Job Prep

    Want a job? So does every student ever! Maybe career and technical education classes are the way to go. Shaun Dougherty says you could be more likely to graduate and earn more if you do.
  • 04.14.16

    How Tutoring Helps Students

    Private tutoring is no longer just for the rich kids. Our guest tells us how the individual attention improves student learning and graduation rates.
  • 04.07.16

    Is Advanced Math Necessary?

    In our last episode, Andrew Hacker argued that math courses like algebra are unnecessary for most high schoolers. This week's guest couldn't disagree more.


in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Allow people on government assistance to build assets

File under: personalfinance

5 (2 votes)

From: Jo Ann T., St. Paul, MN

Many who are experiencing poverty are excluded from being able to build assets, such as savings accounts, vehicles, burial plots, life insurance policies, stocks and bonds. Those who rely on government assistance in the form of medical assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), food stamps, Social Security or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are not allowed to build any type of nest egg for themselves. If a participant in any of these programs has an asset over the amount allowed, they must first "spend it down," in other words, sell it and live off the money before they can become eligible for the program.

I train low-income community members in becoming leaders in the community, so that they can become change agents in the area of poverty. In a recent class that I was teaching, we discussed building a small nest egg while on Social Security Disability. My students' idea was to allow people to save two times their monthly grant per year. So someone who receives $500 per month could save up to $1000 per year. They could continue to build on this each year, but never exceed more than an additional $1000 per year. My students said the would use these savings to make car repairs or even pay their utility bills after a cold winter.


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American RadioWorks |
A student learns welding at a vocational high school in Massachusetts. (Photo: Emily Hanford)

Ready to Work

Vocational education was once a staple of American schooling, preparing some kids for blue-collar futures while others were put on a path to college. Today the new mantra is "college for all." But not everyone wants to go to college, and more than half of jobs don't require a bachelor's degree. Many experts say it's time to bring back career and technical education. This American RadioWorks documentary explores how vocational education is being reimagined.

Recent Posts

  • 04.28.16

    “My Frain is Bried”: Shadowing a Student

    "Welcome to our world." Educators take an entire school day to shadow a student and walk in their shoes. We find out how it went for one teacher.
  • 04.21.16

    High School Job Prep

    Want a job? So does every student ever! Maybe career and technical education classes are the way to go. Shaun Dougherty says you could be more likely to graduate and earn more if you do.
  • 04.14.16

    How Tutoring Helps Students

    Private tutoring is no longer just for the rich kids. Our guest tells us how the individual attention improves student learning and graduation rates.
  • 04.07.16

    Is Advanced Math Necessary?

    In our last episode, Andrew Hacker argued that math courses like algebra are unnecessary for most high schoolers. This week's guest couldn't disagree more.