Map to the Middle Class

Questions at work

The Map to the Middle Class is a project that will explore what it takes to get to the middle class in an evolving economy

The story of work is one of deepening economic polarization. Good jobs are disappearing for people with only a high-school diploma, while wage and employment gains increasingly accrue to people with higher education. In this series, we’ll explore how trends such as automation could reshape the types of jobs that are available. And we’ll find out how schools can help young people prepare for a landscape where middle-class life is increasingly out of reach.

But to do that, we need to hear from you.

Here’s how it works: You ask. We report. We share the answer.

You could ask questions such as: Is my job safe from automation? Is getting a four-year college degree worth the cost? Are good jobs for people without college degrees ever coming back?

So what questions do you have about school, training programs and the path to the middle class? Ask your question here

Hunter Blair and his fiancée, Ronnie Kinsman, pose in the field behind their home on June 2, 2018, in Onalaska, Washington. The pair graduated from Onalaska High School in 2017 and 2016 respectively, and say they intend to settle down in their hometown. “It’s beautiful country up here,” Kinsman said. “Why leave something that we love?”

How one tiny town is battling ‘rural brain drain’

Nearly all high-school graduates in Onalaska, Washington, head off to college — but many come back home after earning a degree

Matthew Porter, a student at Craig High School, inspects a “collaborative” robot at Prent Corporation, in Janesville, Wisconsin.

Convincing students that learning blue-collar job skills will pay off

In Wisconsin, a school district faces a dilemma: Businesses are desperate for their students, but don’t always pay as well as they used to

Fifth graders Davonayshia Hollis, left, and Denaya Rippey, review a group entrepreneurial project for a parent-approved music device, developed in a mentorship program, Thursday May 19, 2016, at Brooklyn's P.S. 307 in New York. Startups and established tech companies are providing a crash course in entrepreneurship, sending engineers and designers into public schools to mentor students.

Not enough students have mentors, and we must change that

Internship programs that pair students with employers can help bridge the gap

GED and other high school equivalency degrees drop by more than 40% nationwide since 2012

Decline linked to 2014 change in exam and adult ed budget cuts, researcher says

A high school student repairs a car in an automotive shop class. Jobs in automotive body repair are relatively safe from automation, and they don't require a college degree.

Ten jobs that are safe from robots

A college degree, problem-solving skills and the ability to adapt to technological change will help land jobs at low risk for automation

Academia is beginning to offer courses in blockchain technology. Po Chi Wu, a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley, teaches a course about blockchain entrepreneurship.

Blockchain arrives on college campuses

The growing demand for scholarly research on blockchain and professionals with skills in the field is prompting universities to add coursework on the technology

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technical education

OPINION: College or technical ed? Here’s why students need both

Work skills that count in the long haul

A graduate student working in science lab.

Too little aid for low-income STEM majors?

With an extra financial-aid boost, low-income students more likely to study science, technology, engineering or math, study finds

Freshman Arnaldo Gonzalez with his parents after the College Assistance Migrant Program celebration dinner in April.

A free sandwich can make the difference for some migrant worker children in college

For decades, a small federal program has been helping the students of farmworkers win at college with constant support

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