ANDERSON, Ind. —
“Any freshmen here?”
U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks waited and few hands went up among the crowd of thirty-or-so suit-clad Anderson University students.
“Okay,” she said, “Me too.”
The freshman congresswoman, R-District 5, met Thursday with faculty and students from honors, the political science department and Center for Public Service, in AU’s Olt Student Center. She recounted her own college days and spoke on the importance of tackling student debt, creating new jobs and engaging young adults in policy discussion.
“This generation of college students is more engaged in politics, and, really, they need to be,” she said.“They need to be educated on all of these problems so they can be prepared.”
For example, they need to know that while they’re paying into Medicare, Medicaid and social security, “those programs are possibly not going to be there when they go to use them,” she said. “We want to preserve those programs for them.”
And of course, there’s student loan debt, an average of $27,253 in 2012. Brooks said that’s an issue they’re working on in the education subcommittee. But in the meantime, the burden is increasingly falling on students’ shoulders, said AU junior Blake Hall.
“Us as students, we’re becoming more self-reliant,” he said. “We’re the ones paying for school.”
And given March’s preliminary U.S. unemployment rate of 7.6 percent — 8.7 in Indiana — some of them might not be able to pay right away. Brooks said that’s one reason she left Ivy Tech Community College, where she’d served as Senior Vice President and general counsel, for Congress.
Seeing adult Ivy Tech students putting families on hold and going into debt to get their education, she wanted to make sure they’d have “good jobs when they came out,” she said.
“Secondly, young students, like you,” she said, referencing the collegiate group gathered at AU Thursday. “That you have those job opportunities; that’s the American Dream. That’s what we’ve promised you: ‘Work hard, and then there will be that future for you.’”
Based on her discussions with employers such as Nestle USA, Brooks suggested students might make themselves more employable by developing their ability to work in teams, their inquisitiveness, love of learning, loyalty, communication skills and punctuality.
She also advised the students to take on internships to boost their resumes, and to “network the heck” out of their families, classmates and professors, because it might lead to a job down the road.
And, despite the debt load many students take on to earn their degrees, Brooks said education is still the key to quality employment.
“If people have a strong education, like you here at AU, it helps them to find their career path, find that job,” she said.
Like Baylee Pulliam on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @BayleeNPulliam, or call 648-4250.
Congresswoman Susan Brooks speaks at Anderson University
ANDERSON, Ind. —
“Any freshmen here?”
- Local Politics
Candidates meet in Alexandria
Several Madison County candidates running for a variety of offices met at Alexandria-Monroe High School Wednesday night to introduce themselves to voters and talk about some issues.
Leaders await decision on Indiana Plan expansion
Two of the state's top Republican lawmakers said Tuesday that they would like to see the federal government sign off on an expansion of Medicaid through the state's health care plan for low-income residents, but they added that they have little idea how soon that could happen.
- Commissioners vote to eliminate Personnel Board Madison County commissioners have decided to end the county’s Personnel Board.
- Primary voting starts at courthouse Through the first week of early voting for the May 6 primary, the Madison County Voter Registration office has been less than overwhelmed.
- Maureen Hayden: Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards.
- Ken de la Bastide: Local Dems want to change redistricting process There is an old saying that goes "to the victor goes the spoils." In politics the spoils usually involves the drawing of legislative districts for the Indiana General Assembly and the seats in the U.S. House.
- City of Anderson won't participate in annual cleanup For the first time in 29 years, there will be no citywide cleanup this year, because of expenses incurred by the City of Anderson this past winter.
- Local lawmakers bemoan no local road funding Despite efforts by three Madison County lawmakers, the Indiana General Assembly didn’t provide funding for the improvement of local roads.
U.S. attorney battles public corruption
U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett has raised his profile by ramping up prosecutions of gang members and corrupt politicians, arguing that both undermine the public’s sense of safety, since he became top federal prosecutor in a district that covers two-thirds of the state.
- Sen. Coats ends up in wrong meeting School kids and business people who start with a new company often worry about showing up in the wrong classroom or meeting. It can happen to a veteran U.S. senator, too.
- More Local Politics Headlines
- Candidates meet in Alexandria