Updates: Brought to you by Muppet Science Labs

Policymakers often envision poor and minority workers filling routine jobs in high-tech industries, but not advanced positions in research or design. This is a discriminatory and historically entrenched outlook.

In the 1960s, for example, Chicago was trying to shift its dying, rust-belt economy toward computing and electronics. The city also faced spreading poverty and racial unrest. Its civic leaders sought to solve all of these problems at once by creating affordable two-year technical-college programs for disadvantaged inner-city youths - in computer repair.

The idea that urban youths might represent a new pool of potential electrical engineers and software designers, trained in four-year programs, was rarely heard.

Also, that college degree isn't worth as much as they said it was. Turns out the lifetime income gap between college educated individuals and high school only graduates is not as staggering as that $800k figure the College Board likes to throw around. Dr. Schneider from the American Institutes for Research calculated it to be more like $280k.

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