Planning for Higher Education Programs: Effectively Using Data and Modeling to Understand Workforce Needs

Planning for Higher Education Programs: Effectively Using Data and Modeling to Understand Workforce Needs. RAND Corporation. Charles A. Goldman et al. April 23, 2015.

Workforce data sources provide valuable information, though no source should be used on its own. The information should be used to manage new and ongoing degree programs and for periodic strategic planning, according to the authors. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 4 pages, 97.96 KB].

Mountaintop Mining: Background on Current Controversies

Mountaintop Mining: Background on Current Controversies. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Claudia Copeland. April 20, 2015.

Mountaintop removal mining involves removing the top of a mountain in order to recover the coal seams contained there. This practice occurs in six Appalachian states (Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Ohio). It creates an immense quantity of excess spoil (dirt and rock that previously composed the mountaintop), which is typically placed in valley fills on the sides of the former mountains, burying streams that flow through the valleys. Mountaintop mining is regulated under several laws, including the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA).

[PDF format, 21 pages, 289.81 KB].

Strengthening Nuclear Stability in Turbulent Times

Strengthening Nuclear Stability in Turbulent Times. Brookings Institution. April 2015.

The Ukraine crisis and broader deterioration in relations between Russia and the West has created a heightened danger of unintended clashes between Russian and NATO military forces, and continues to deflate hopes for near-term progress on nuclear arms control. The report offers key recommendations and identifies additional measures to build confidence and strengthen security in Europe, enhance global nuclear stability, and set the stage for further progress on reducing nuclear weapons. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 32 pages, 716 KB].

Fueling the Online Trade

Fueling the Online Trade. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Kati Suominen. April 23, 2015.

Across the United States, individuals and small businesses are increasingly buying and selling goods and services online. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the total value of online transactions in the United States grew from $3 trillion in 2006 to $5.4 trillion in 2012, about a third of U.S. GDP. Increasingly, these transactions are cross border. By 2017, a third of U.S. business-to-consumer (B2C) and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) e-commerce transactions will be with foreign counterparts, up from 16 percent today. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 56 pages, 5.49 MB].

Americans’ Views on Open Government Data

Americans’ Views on Open Government Data. Pew Research Center. John B. Horrigan and Lee Rainie. April 21, 2015.

Government reformers and advocates believe that two contemporary phenomena hold the potential to change how people engage with governments at all levels. The first is data. There is more of it than ever before and there are more effective tools for sharing it. This creates new service-delivery possibilities for government through use of data that government agencies themselves collect and generate. The second is public desire to make government more responsive, transparent and effective in serving citizens — an impulse driven by tight budgets and declining citizens’ trust in government. This report is based on the first national survey that seeks to benchmark public sentiment about the government initiatives that use data to cultivate the public square. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 66 pages, 1.11 MB].

Hours Flexibility and the Gender Gap in Pay

Hours Flexibility and the Gender Gap in Pay. Center for Global Development. Claudia Goldin. April 15, 2015.

There is a large hourly wage penalty associated with working fewer hours per week, and although the effect is similar by gender, women are more greatly affected because they are more likely to work fewer than 40 hours per week, according to the author. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 31 pages, 1.72 MB].

Rebalancing the Middle East

Rebalancing the Middle East. YaleGlobal. Emma Sky. April 23, 2015.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 empowered Iran as did the American departure in 2011. Since then the region has unraveled. Emma Sky suggests that U.S. regional policy narrowly focuses on three objectives: the defeat of the Islamic State, neutralization of other extremist groups and a nuclear agreement with Iran. Bilateral approaches can present inconsistencies, she points out, as the U.S. allies with Shia-backed groups to defeat the Islamic State in Iran and then with Sunni groups to defeat the Shia-backed Houthis in Iran. Every policy in the Middle East should be measured for how it affects the region as a whole and aim for regional balance. Military force is not enough, and a pattern has emerged of weapons falling into the wrong hands. The U.S. and others must help guide Iraq and other players in the region with greater engagement to address root problems, including inequality and corruption, while guiding citizens through a process of reconciliation, integration and economic diversification. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format, various paging].