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Five things to know about SPACs, the exit trend of the year

More special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) have been formed in 2020 than in the last several years combined. These entities have helped some high-profile unicorns go public recently, including DraftKings and Nikola Corp.

Battleground state voters show rising trust in science

Nearly half of voters within battleground states have a deep level of trust in scientists, according to a recent study conducted by Third Way. This represents a significant increase from the 21 percent of voters who held scientists in high esteem in 2016, and is in line with Pew Research Center’s earlier report that found 39 percent of U.S. adults trust science and believe scientists act in the public’s best interest.

Apprenticeships providing pathways to good jobs, better economic outcomes

Apprenticeships, which will be celebrated during National Apprenticeship Week beginning Nov. 8, are receiving renewed attention and being highlighted as an avenue of economic mobility. Two recent reports highlight the opportunities of apprenticeships, the promise they hold for economic mobility, their expanding reach and a new effort in California to reach 500,000 apprenticeships by the year 2029.

Federal Reserve and Alabama launch new workforce development tool

In an effort to help Alabamians advance into higher-paying careers and understand how higher income from new careers can establish a path toward self-sufficiency, the state of Alabama and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta have partnered to launch a new career tool.

Pandemic speeding automation; impact on jobs could worsen inequality

New analysis from the World Economic Forum (WEF) forecasts an 85 million global loss in jobs by the year 2025 due to pandemic-induced increase in technology adoption. While social distancing measures such as remote work have already brought many white collar workers into the “future of work,” the quickened pace of technology adoption and automation across all sectors will create greater employment challenges for lower paid and lower skilled workers. The WEF’s Future of Jobs Report 2020 also indicates that the jobs created to work with these new technologies could reach 97 million by 2025. However, business leaders and the public sector must take action to promote equitable workforce development and prepare all workers for the jobs of the future.

While the bulk of the report takes a global perspective, the WEF also provides several country-specific profiles. The trends in the U.S. profile indicate that 57.6 percent of companies surveyed are accelerating the automation of tasks in response to the pandemic, and 91.5 percent are accelerating the digitization of work processes, while only 44.1 percent are implementing upskilling and reskilling programs. As companies increasingly rely on technology — and the use of technology — to complete essential business functions, displaced workers will face increasing demand for new, technology-based skills.

Higher ed enrollment picture becomes clearer: first-time students drop dramatically, community colleges see steep enrollment decline

First-time beginning students looking to pursue post-secondary education tumbled this fall, showing a 16.1 percent decrease nationally when compared with last year’s figures, according to recently released data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. That decline was even worse at community colleges, down 22.7 percent compared to a 1.4 percent increase the previous year.

First- and second-generation immigrants making up larger portion of higher education enrollment

In 2018, 5.8 million students at colleges and universities within the United States were either the children of first-generation immigrants or were immigrants themselves, which accounted for 28 percent of the total student population and was a noticeable increase from the 2.9 million enrolled in 2000. This data serves as the foundation of a new report from the Migration Policy Institute, Immigrant-Origin Students in U.S.