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Pandemic Drives Working Americans to Seek Further Education

New survey from Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions® reveals value of education opportunities, including promoting equity in the workplace

The COVID-19 pandemic ignited a shift in how working Americans view continuing education, according to a new survey commissioned by Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions® (NYSE: BFAM). The survey revealed the 85% of full and part-time employed Americans feel employers need to rethink their benefits offerings in light of the pandemic.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201014005167/en/

What are employees looking for in this current climate? Education opportunities. 78% of working Americans believe the pandemic has increased the need for companies to support their employees with education benefits, including tuition reimbursement for degree and non-degree programs and student loan repayment programs.

What’s more, education benefits are not only driving employee motivation, but they may be a key factor in promoting workplace equality. According to the survey, nearly two-thirds of American workers (65 percent) think that providing education benefits to all employees helps promote racial and gender equality in the workplace.

“We are seeing a significantly higher retention rate among Black, Hispanic, and female employees who are participating in their employer’s benefits program through EdAssist Solutions,” says Patrick Donovan, Senior Vice President, Emerging Services at Bright Horizons. “Now more than ever, employers are looking to build inclusive cultures, create a level playing field for all employees, drive higher retention and, ultimately, more career advancement. Workforce education programs can help achieve these goals.”

In addition to an increased desire for education opportunities – the availability of employer-sponsored education assistance is having a deeper impact on today’s workforce:

  • 75 percent say they would feel more motivated in their current job if they had access to education opportunities through their employer.

  • 74 percent believe these opportunities would make them feel more secure in their current job.

  • 73 percent agree that education opportunities offered by their employer would make them feel more equipped to do their current job.

“COVID-19 magnified the need for career development and accelerated learning in the workforce as corporate strategies have shifted and difficult staffing decisions created new and immediate needs,” says Donovan. “There is a real opportunity for employers to rethink their benefits programs to meet the needs of today’s workforce and invest in ways to drive employee performance – that starts with providing compelling education benefits.”

For more information on Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions, please visit brighthorizons.com/edassist-solutions.

About the Survey:

Bright Horizons commissioned ENGINE INSIGHTS to conduct an Online CARAVAN® survey to understand working Americans’ attitudes toward education benefits. For the purpose of this survey, education benefits are defined as education opportunities offered through an employer as part of a corporate benefits program such as tuition reimbursement for degree and non-degree programs and student loan repayment programs. The survey was conducted September 16-20, 2020 among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,084 adults 18 years of age and older who are employed full or part-time, comprised of 627 men and 457 women. The findings

San Antonio company working with military, SpaceX to move cargo anywhere in world in an hour or less

A San Antonio company is partnering with the military and SpaceX to move cargo anywhere in the world in an hour using commercial spacecraft — including vertical-landing rockets built in Texas.

U.S. Transportation Command, which is responsible for moving military personnel and equipment around the world, said it’s working with Exploration Architecture, or XArc, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX to develop “rapid transportation through space” capabilities.

XArc, with six employees, is responsible for determining what’s needed on the ground to launch and land commercial spacecraft around the world.

The collaboration is the latest development in Texas’ still-expanding role in space travel and could help the U.S. military more quickly respond to threats and humanitarian crises around the world.

The aim is to use commercial space vehicles, including SpaceX’s Starship, to deliver payloads anywhere in the world. Starship can carry loads of 220,000 pounds.

“Our role is to understand the ground support infrastructure required to make it happen,” XArc CEO Sam Ximenes said. “What are the ground facilities and cargo standardizations so that it is seamlessly integrated into the (military’s) current logistics system.”

Sam Ximenes is chief executive of XArc. His company is teaming with Houston engineering firm KBR to evaluate three types of rockets.

His company is teaming with Houston engineering firm KBR to evaluate three types of rocket landing areas: rugged sites with no infrastructure, remote sites with limited support and mature sites that have established capabilities.

Related: NASA contractors stake out San Antonio’s place in space

The nine-person team is considering the logistics, including fuel and cargo requirements, needed to support spacecraft around the world, Ximenes said.

“Think about moving the equivalent of a C-17 payload (170,900 pounds) anywhere on the globe in less than an hour,” Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons, head of U.S. Transportation Command, said in a statement. “Think about that speed associated with the movement of transportation of cargo and people.”

The companies could begin testing ground-support concepts as early as 2021.

In addition to SpaceX’s Starship, XArc’s study is looking at commercial space vehicles under development, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Horizon and Virgin Galactic’s Stratolaunch.

Founded in 2007, XArc specializes in space architecture and engineering, and it consults on designs for “spaceports, space stations, planetary surface systems and terrestrial space-related facilities,” the company website states.

On ExpressNews.com: A Grunt Style Reckoning: A look inside San Antonio apparel maker’s rowdy past, near-death experience and current leadership battle

“For the past 75 years or so, we have been constrained to around 40,000 feet altitude and 600 miles per hour in our very fastest method of logistics delivery — airlift,” said Navy Vice Adm. Dee Mewbourne, deputy commander of U.S. Transportation Command.

A screenshot from the LabPadre YouTube channel shows the SpaceX Starship prototype as it raises itself 150 meters into the air before lowering back to the ground.

Rockets traveling through space could speed cargo delivery by 10 times.

“It’s time to learn how our current strategies to project and sustain forces can evolve with a new mode of transportation,” he said.

In addition to speed, commercial space lift “eliminates en-route stops or air refueling,” officials said in a statement. “This capability has the potential to be one of the greatest revolutions in transportation since the airplane.”

The no-cost agreement allows

As Delta makes landfall, Southwest Louisiana is still without a working radar

It’s mobile radar to the rescue, and not a moment too soon.



a small clock tower in the middle of a field: The radar dome at the NWS Lake Charles sits on top of a tower that was battered by winds and is now out of commission as another hurricane heads toward it.


© NWS Lake Charles
The radar dome at the NWS Lake Charles sits on top of a tower that was battered by winds and is now out of commission as another hurricane heads toward it.

This is the story of how a moving research radar will be helping the Lake Charles, Louisiana, National Weather Service (NWS) outpost, whose radar was broken during Hurricane Laura.

The Lake Charles NWS office and radar are both located at the Lake Charles Regional Airport, which also took a significant hit during Laura.

The radar dome sits on top of an over 60-foot tower, and since wind speeds are often stronger the higher you go up, this likely led to its demise.

The problem is, the radar equipment is still not fixed, and another hurricane arrived Friday night in the the same area of Louisiana.



a person riding on the back of a truck: The SMART radar deployed to Louisiana


© Provided by CNN
The SMART radar deployed to Louisiana

Normally, when one radar site goes out, other nearby NWS offices can step in since many radar sites overlap a little.

“We have multiple radars to use, including one in Houston, Fort Polk, and Slidell,” said Roger Erickson, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the Lake Charles NWS Office.

But those neighboring radars don’t cover the entire area, so what do you do about the gaps left behind?

“For this hurricane, we will have a portable doppler radar as well,” Erickson added.

A mobile radar, that is primarily used for research has been deployed to Louisiana to help fill in those gaps, and also provide high resolution, low-level data as well.



a young boy standing in front of a computer: Addison Alford inside the SMART radar


© Provided by CNN
Addison Alford inside the SMART radar

“In this particular case, the Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching (SMART) Radar is here to enhance the existing coverage and provide high resolution data where the eye and eyewall are expected to pass,” says Addison Alford, a graduate research assistant at the University of Oklahoma. “In past research deployments of the SMART Radars in hurricanes, we routinely transmit our data to a webpage that can assist the NOAA NWS in their critical mission to provide life-saving warnings to the public.”



a person standing on top of a grass covered field: Damaged radar in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria


© National Weather Service/National Weather Service/National Weather Service
Damaged radar in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria

Addison will personally be on that mobile radar truck assisting with those critical, life-saving operations.

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“University of Oklahoma Professor, Dr. Mike Biggerstaff, is the director of the SMART Radar Program and is leading this particular mission. Mr. Gordon Carrie, a data scientist at the university, has helped deploy the SMART Radars for 11 land-falling hurricanes and is managing the real-time transmission of our data. Hurricane Delta will be my eighth land-falling hurricane with the SMART Radars.”

And they won’t just help with the landfall, they will work with NOAA to determine when to shut down the system.

“That will likely be when Hurricane Delta has moved inland into northern Louisiana, beyond our operational radar range,” Alford explains.

So what exactly

As Delta barrels toward the coast Southwest Louisiana is still without a working radar

It’s mobile radar to the rescue, and not a moment too soon.



a small clock tower in the middle of a field: The radar dome at the NWS Lake Charles sits on top of a tower that was battered by winds and is now out of commission as another hurricane heads toward it.


© NWS Lake Charles
The radar dome at the NWS Lake Charles sits on top of a tower that was battered by winds and is now out of commission as another hurricane heads toward it.

This is the story of how a moving research radar will be helping the Lake Charles, Louisiana, National Weather Service (NWS) outpost, whose radar was broken during Hurricane Laura.

The Lake Charles NWS office and radar are both located at the Lake Charles Regional Airport, which also took a significant hit during Laura.

The radar dome sits on top of an over 60 foot tower, and since wind speeds are often stronger the higher you go up, this likely led to its demise.

The problem is, the radar equipment is still not fixed, and another hurricane is on its way to the same area of Louisiana.



a person riding on the back of a truck: The SMART radar deployed to Louisiana


© Provided by CNN
The SMART radar deployed to Louisiana

Normally when one radar site goes out, other nearby NWS offices can step in since many radar sites overlap a little.

“We have multiple radars to use, including one in Houston, Fort Polk, and Slidell,” said Roger Erickson, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the Lake Charles NWS Office.

But those neighboring radars don’t cover the entire area, so what do you do about the gaps left behind?

“For this hurricane, we will have a portable doppler radar as well,” Erickson added.

A mobile radar, that is primarily used for research has been deployed to Louisiana to help fill in those gaps, and also provide high resolution, low-level data as well.



a young boy standing in front of a computer: Addison Alford inside the SMART radar


© Provided by CNN
Addison Alford inside the SMART radar

“In this particular case, the Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching (SMART) Radar is here to enhance the existing coverage and provide high resolution data where the eye and eyewall are expected to pass,” says Addison Alford, a graduate research assistant at the University of Oklahoma. “In past research deployments of the SMART Radars in hurricanes, we routinely transmit our data to a webpage that can assist the NOAA NWS in their critical mission to provide life-saving warnings to the public.”



a person standing on top of a grass covered field: Damaged radar in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria


© National Weather Service/National Weather Service/National Weather Service
Damaged radar in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria

Addison will personally be on that mobile radar truck assisting with those critical, life-saving operations.

Loading...

Load Error

“University of Oklahoma Professor, Dr. Mike Biggerstaff, is the director of the SMART Radar Program and is leading this particular mission. Mr. Gordon Carrie, a data scientist at the university, has helped deploy the SMART Radars for 11 land-falling hurricanes and is managing the real-time transmission of our data. Hurricane Delta will be my eighth land-falling hurricane with the SMART Radars.”

And they won’t just help with the landfall, they will work with NOAA to determine when to shut down the system.

“That will likely be when Hurricane Delta has moved inland into northern Louisiana, beyond our operational radar range,” Alford explains.

So what

Jacqui Lambie is right – it just got harder for working class kids like me to go to university

I know Senator Jacqui Lambie is a controversial figure but after scuttling government’s refugee phone ban and now delivering this powerful speech on working class kids, I am starting to warm up to her.



a large stone building with a clock tower: Photograph: David Mariuz/AAP


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: David Mariuz/AAP

Her recent speech on the floor of the Senate opposing the government’s university changes because they would make it hard for working class students to go to university resonated with me on so many levels.

I know because I was one of those working-class students she talked about.

Related: Jacqui Lambie to oppose Coalition’s university funding changes, saying poor kids ‘get a raw deal’

I went to one of the poorest high schools in this country – Parafield Gardens high school. A school with no culture of students going on to tertiary education.

It was assumed, and accepted, by those around me that if you came from the northern suburbs of Adelaide, you would end up on the factory floor.

Completing Year 10 was the ceiling. You were then ushered into vocational training and then into a low paid, insecure job behind a till or on a factory line (if you were lucky).

Universities did not bother with us.

We did not have mentors or “old boys’ or networks to open doors for us, prop us up and set up connections for life.

I was supposed to end up slaughtering chickens at the local abattoir with my twin brother before moving up to a job with Holden’s Elizabeth plant – with my older brother.

But it is not just that society (teachers, politicians, universities) gave up on me, on us working class kids, it could also be our own families.

Unlike most ethnic parents, my mother was never too keen on education because none of her working-class friends had kids in universities. She was constantly pushing me to get a job and stop dreaming about going to university – a concept so foreign and distant it was almost unimaginable to her.



a large stone building: ‘The distance between my world and Australia’s understanding of it is so vast because so few people from my Australia ever end up in law schools, on university grounds, or in echelons of power and beyond to tell our stories.’


© Photograph: David Mariuz/AAP
‘The distance between my world and Australia’s understanding of it is so vast because so few people from my Australia ever end up in law schools, on university grounds, or in echelons of power and beyond to tell our stories.’

She worked on the farms in regional South Australia picking fruit, vegetables and tending vineyards because it was the only thing she could do – a peasant refugee war widow from communist Yugoslavia.

I remember, at the end of the day, she would sit at the kitchen table: tired, looking at her bruised hands, then at me, as if she were thinking “poor child, this is waiting for you, too”.

Related: My university degree was life-changing. Putting them out of reach is elitist and wrong | Sarah Maddison

When you don’t have anyone in your family who went on to university or even completed high school level education, it makes it that much harder to believe in yourself.

And when you do make