U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL,8) was at the University of Illinois at Chicago Wednesday morning to talk with students about higher education and college affordability.
"I can't think of something more important as an investment to our nation than making sure that we make college affordable, and that we get to a point where students are not starting off life with tremendous amounts of student loan debt," Duckworth told reporters after the town hall.
The event, sponsored by UIC student organizations and Young Invincibles Action, was supposed to be a candidate forum, but Kirk declined to participate, Duckworth said.
The congresswoman used the event to detail college affordability proposals she is sponsoring in the U.S. House, namely the "In the Red Act." The proposal would adjust Pell Grants for inflation, allow borrowers to refinance student debt at lower interest rates and provide students with two years of tuition-free community college.
The U.S. labor market remains tough for today's young high school and college graduates, but their job prospects are brighter than they were for past groups of students who graduated in the wake of the Great Recession, finds a new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI)
Nonetheless, recent graduates continue to experience poor wage growth as well as unemployment and underemployment rates higher than pre-recession levels, according to the liberal think tank. Unemployment rates among young college and high school graduates also remain higher for blacks and Hispanics than whites.
"Though there has been improvement since the unemployment rate for young workers peaked in 2010, the labor market has still not completely recovered," reads EPI's report. "Thus, the class of 2016 will be the eighth consecutive graduating class to enter the labor market during a period of weakness. The evidence suggests that because of their unlucky timing -- in other words, through absolutely no fault of their own -- this cohort is likely to fare poorly for at least the next decade."