College Degrees Being Neglected

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According to the State Department of Employment Security unemployment increased in January in seven out of 12 metro areas in Illinois. Since January, unemployment in the Chicago area has increased from 9.5% to 9.9%.

With the unemployment rates in Chicago increasing, I am curious about the unemployment of recent college graduates. New Research from the Center for College Affordability and Productivity suggests that nearly half of the nation’s recent college graduates work jobs that don’t require a degree. The report concludes that while college-educated Americans are less likely to collect unemployment, many of the jobs they do have aren’t worth the price of their diplomas.

This data challenges the idea that higher education is better in our economy that favors college graduates.

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CPS School Closings: Student Safety Concerns

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A common theme I noticed came across most stories discussing the CPS school closings is that of parents concern for their children’s safety. DNAinfo wrote a piece called CPS School Closings: ‘I Am Completely Disgusted’ which really caught my attention given it speaks to outrage that exists in the communities affected by these closings. Many of the parents quoted in this story claim a main concern for them in regards to the closing of their children’s schools is that of how far they’ll have to walk  to get to school. Particularly, in neighborhoods with high crime rates in which gangs and violence are just around the corner.

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West Side Bicyclists Won’t Get Protection From The City

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I’m not a cyclist myself, but bicyclists have always fascinated me. Mainly, Chicago bicyclists are of interest they maneuver around the busy city streets and go toe-to-toe with cars, with little protection other than a hardened foam bike helmet. Kind of crazy, right?

Last week I read that the city balked at making a protected bike lane on Milwaukee Avenue. A big reason for that is because cars park on the street, and the city would be sacrificing parking spaces. Milwaukee Ave., though, is an odd street because it is a diagonal street. It has a ton of six-way intersections. This is a fairly dangerous street for bikers.

For my midterm, I want to go in and write about that – finding people who traverse West Side streets on bike, getting their reaction to not just the city’s scrapped plan, but also their take on any cycling-related issues in Logan Square and Wicker Park.

I found a few Chicago cycling clubs online, so I’m sure they have an opinion on the issue. I also found a splendid map that illustrates where accidents happen, and exactly what happened.

I also found an article stating just how beneficial protected bike lanes are, and just how dangerous it is to ride around out in the city streets without that protection. The protected lanes not only protect bikers, but are good for the city, too.

Wicker Park Gangs & Hip-Hop

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While working on my assignment about Chicago hip-hop shows reflecting the city’s rise in violence, the topic of gang violence and affiliation came up.

It’s obvious that the Wicker Park area is no stranger to gang violence– the area’s Alderman, Scott Waguespack, recently announced his plans to combat gang violence in the community, in spite of Rahm Emmanuel’s “business as usual” plan.

While I don’t want to sound stereotypical, it is true that a lot of hard-core rappers from Chicago have some affiliation with gangs. Maybe they have a friend that’s a gang member, they were former gang members, or they themselves are still gang members. The two that I’ve come in contact with the most are Gangster Disciples and Vice Lords.

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Unemployment Rate For 18-29 Year Olds

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A staffing company called Adecco emailed me last week about a career fair they are holding on April 30th. The email reported that the unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds was 13.1 percent as of January 2013, which doesn’t include the 1.7 million young adults that have given up and stopped looking for a job.

I also found an article on DNAinfo.com from January of this year that focused on the unemployed youth of Chicago.

The article discussed different hardships that the teens in Chicago face, including drug addiction and teen pregnancy. These hardships create barriers that the teens have to overcome in order to graduate and get their diploma. The article focused on high school students in Chicago and how they are dealing with unemployment.

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Humboldt Park School Closings and Wicker Park Gentrification and Parking

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In conducting my research on the news coverage of the northwest Chicago neighborhoods of Logan Square, Bucktown/ Wicker Park and Humboldt Park, there are a couple of story ideas that came to mind.

One of these story ideas is that of the public school closings taking place in Humboldt Park. This story idea came to me after reading a couple of the articles published by DNAinfo on the subject. The first news story that caught my eye was a story called “CPS Closings: Public Meetings Set for Humboldt Park Schools”, this story discussed public meetings being held by the city which aim to give members of Humboldt Park neighborhood a second chance at trying to save their neighborhood schools.

This story immediately caught my attention given that one of the schools listed in the story Ana Roque de Duprey, is a school to which I attended during my first years of school. I remember the school very vividly and can definitely attest that it played a huge role in the development of my Spanish language skills my overall interest in my education.

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Jobs in Chicago

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For one of my story topics I want to focus on jobs in Chicago. I want to look at unemployment rates and what sources are being used by people looking for jobs. While searching on Twitter I found a job source called Chicago Job Resource. The website lists employment openings and job clubs and fairs. The website is a good networking source for people looking for a job.

Not only do I want to focus on companies that are hiring and different sources to help people find a job, but I want to get to the bottom of the unemployment in Chicago. I want to focus on what the unemployment rate is in the area and why people are unemployed. While searching on Twitter I found several people tweeting about the unemployment rate in Chicago for African Americans. One Tweet reported that the unemployment rate for African Americans in Chicago was 19%. I could focus on the African American community specifically and why they have a higher unemployment rate. I could see if schooling and criminal backgrounds play a factor into why so many African Americans are unemployed.

Another tweet by Chicago News Now reported that the hiring rate in Chicago last month slowed down and that unemployment rates dropped, but only because people stopped looking for work. The tweet from Chicago News Now had a link to a Sun Times article that focused on unemployment rates dropping and the future of the economy. I could use this as a starting point for my article on jobs in Chicago. I could focus on the health of the job market and the trend in unemployment rates dropping or rising because of the state of the economy.