Alberta education minister will not reverse decision on layoffs amid COVID-19 pandemic – Global News

Alberta’s education minister, in her first public comments since laying off more than 20,000 people in an email on the weekend, resisted Opposition calls to reverse her decision.Adriana LaGrange also declined to say why she ordered the layoffs despite promising two weeks earlier to keep full education funding in place for the rest of the…

Alberta’s education minister, in her first public comments since laying off more than 20,000 people in an email on the weekend, resisted Opposition calls to reverse her decision.Adriana LaGrange also declined to say why she ordered the layoffs despite promising two weeks earlier to keep full education funding in place for the rest of the school year — but she noted the COVID-19 crisis is a fluid situation.“We are in unprecedented times, and both governments and businesses are making difficult decisions,” LaGrange told the legislature in question period Tuesday.“This pandemic has changed how our education system functions and, like the private sector, we are still adapting to this new reality. This is a temporary measure that will be reversed when classes resume.”LaGrange closed schools on March 15 due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, but at that time announced funding would stay whole. Story continues below advertisement

On Saturday afternoon, as schools geared up to begin virtual at-home programming for thousands of students, she directed school boards to lay off more than 20,000 support staff, including substitute teachers, school bus drivers and educational assistants who work with special-needs students.

1:39Alberta cuts $128M in K-12 education funding to boost COVID-19 response

Alberta cuts $128M in K-12 education funding to boost COVID-19 response
LaGrange said the resources were not needed in the switch to virtual schooling and
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Paul Krugman: The US economy is in a ‘medically induced coma’ and needs massive fiscal aid to weather the coronavirus

Major parts of the US economy have been suspended to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, and a surge in government spending is essential to offset the slowdown, Paul Krugman said on Thursday.”We want massive, debt-financed disaster relief while the economy is in its medically induced coma,” the Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist and New…

Major parts of the US economy have been suspended to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, and a surge in government spending is essential to offset the slowdown, Paul Krugman said on Thursday.”We want massive, debt-financed disaster relief while the economy is in its medically induced coma,” the Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist said in a Twitter thread.Krugman suggested the government could source funding from essential industries that are still active, as workers and companies are saving instead of spending.Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Large swaths of the US economy have stalled as the novel coronavirus rages across the nation, and a government-spending boom is needed to prevent further pain, Paul Krugman said on Tuesday.”This isn’t a conventional recession; it’s more like a medically induced coma, where you temporarily shut down much of the brain’s activity to give it a chance to heal,” the Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist and New York Times col
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It will be a devastating week for the US economy. There is no playbook — and stimulus must come fast

New York (CNN Business)The economy is cratering deeper than we have seen in our lifetimes. Layoffs are coming so quickly, the state unemployment offices can’t keep up. Banks are flooded with calls about upcoming mortgage and loan payments. Downtowns are deser…

New York (CNN Business)The economy is cratering deeper than we have seen in our lifetimes. Layoffs are coming so quickly, the state unemployment offices can’t keep up. Banks are flooded with calls about upcoming mortgage and loan payments. Downtowns are deser…
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How one tech company avoided layoffs even when revenue was cut in half

The coronavirus has already taken a massive toll on the economy, as businesses of all sizes have had to let employees go because of stay-at-home orders. But in order to keep staff on payroll, companies like Seattle-based Gravity Payments are getting creative.Dan Price, founder and CEO of Gravity, found a way to keep paying all…

The coronavirus has already taken a massive toll on the economy, as businesses of all sizes have had to let employees go because of stay-at-home orders. But in order to keep staff on payroll, companies like Seattle-based Gravity Payments are getting creative.Dan Price, founder and CEO of Gravity, found a way to keep paying all of his 210 employees, even though the company’s revenue has been cut in half. He asked each employee how much of a pay cut they’d be able to take for the next few months. By trimming salaries accordingly, Gravity now has enough reserves to keep everyone employed for up to a year under the current circumstances.Gravity Payments, which launched in 2004, processes payments for 13,000 small businesses across the country, which gives Price a unique insight into how mom-and-pop shops are faring. “Across all of our merchants, there was a 55% drop in revenue over the last month,” Price tells me. “That is a bigger decrease than during 9/11 and during the Great Recession.” Gravity takes a cut of about 0.3% of the merchants’ sales, which means it’s seen a similar decrease in revenue. At the current rate, Price said the company would be out of business within four to six months.Price gained national recognition in 2015 when he set Gravity’s minimum salary at $70,000 after reading a study about income and happiness. The current crisis demanded another out-of-the-box approach, as economists believe the impact of the coronavirus will be enormous—unemployment claims have already dwarfed any other time in history.So on March 19, Price called a companywide meeting to let employees know the state of the business and solicit creative strategies for navigating the next few months. He and Gravity COO Tammi Kroll also scheduled 40 hourlong meetings with small groups of employees to check in and gather ideas. “We just put all our cards on the table,” Price says. “And we listened.”Some important learnings came out of those meetings. First, employees agreed that they wanted to avoid raising fees for Gravit
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GE Aviation Workers Demand That Inactive Plants Begin Manufacturing Respirators

Image: GE workers in Lynn, MA (Communications Workers of America)Today, aviation factory workers for General Electric staged two protests in Massachusetts, demanding that the company reconfigure its aircraft manufacturing facilities in order to make ventilators. Last week, General Electric Aviation announced that it would be laying off a large contingent of its workforce, while officials…

Image: GE workers in Lynn, MA (Communications Workers of America)Today, aviation factory workers for General Electric staged two protests in Massachusetts, demanding that the company reconfigure its aircraft manufacturing facilities in order to make ventilators. Last week, General Electric Aviation announced that it would be laying off a large contingent of its workforce, while officials and medical workers have been calling on the federal government to pressure manufacturing companies like GE to step up and produce ventilators as they’re forced to fight over the limited supply.“The workers are scared about what the future holds because of the layoffs,” a spokesperson for IUE-CWA, the union which represents GE’s aviation workers, told Gizmodo. “Getting the excess capacity at the GE facilities set up for ventilator production would help prevent layoffs and allow the workers to use their skills to help address the COVID-19 crisis by producing much-needed equipment.”Workers stood six feet apart outside a factory in Lynn, Massachusetts and GE’s Boston headquarters, holding signs facing traffic. (The Lynn site is currently open, though not at capacity.) While GE
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Fiat Chrysler Coronavirus Pay Cuts: 50 Percent For CEO, 100 Percent For Board, 20 Percent Deferment For Most Salaried Employees

Image: Getty ImagesIn an effort to prevent layoffs during a time when FCA’s plants are shut down and car demand is weak due to the coronavirus, CEO Mike Manley has sent an email to employees outlining salary cuts. Most salaried employees will see a 20 percent deferment, Manley himself will take a 50 percent cut,…

Image: Getty ImagesIn an effort to prevent layoffs during a time when FCA’s plants are shut down and car demand is weak due to the coronavirus, CEO Mike Manley has sent an email to employees outlining salary cuts. Most salaried employees will see a 20 percent deferment, Manley himself will take a 50 percent cut, and the Board of Directors will take no compensation for the rest of 2020.After thanking employees for their support, pointing out that FCA has been working to create a safe workspace for employees, and mourning the loss and health struggles of workers within the company, Manley gets to the pay cuts set to s
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Researchers find AI is bad at predicting GPA, grit, eviction, job training, layoffs, and material hardship

A paper coauthored by over 112 researchers across 160 data and social science teams found that AI and statistical models, when used to predict six life outcomes for children, parents, and households, weren’t very accurate even when trained on 13,000 data points from over 4,000 families. They assert that the work is a cautionary tale…

A paper coauthored by over 112 researchers across 160 data and social science teams found that AI and statistical models, when used to predict six life outcomes for children, parents, and households, weren’t very accurate even when trained on 13,000 data points from over 4,000 families. They assert that the work is a cautionary tale on the use of predictive modeling, especially in the criminal justice system and social support programs.
“Here’s a setting where we have hundreds of participants and a rich data set, and even the best AI results are still not accurate,” said study co-lead author Matt Salganik, a professor of sociology at Princeton and interim director of the Center for Information Technology Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. “These results show us that machine learning isn’t magic; there are clearly other factors at play when it comes to predicting the life course.”
Fragile Families Study
The study, which was published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the fruit of the Fragile Families Challenge, a multi-year collaboration that sought to recruit researchers to complete a predictive task by predicting the same outcomes using the same data. Over 457 groups applied, of which 160 were selected to participate, and their predictions were evaluated with an error metric that assessed their ability to predict held-out data (i.e., data held by the organizer and not available to the participants).
The Challenge was an outgrowth of the Fragile Families Study (formerly Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study) based at Princeton, Columbia University, and the University of Michigan, which has been studying a cohort of about 5,000 children born in 20 large American cities between 1998 and 2000. It’s designed to oversample births to unmarried couples in those cities, and to address four questions of interest to researchers and policymakers:
The conditions and capabilities of unmarried parents
The nature of the relationships between unmarried parents
How the children born into these families fare
How policies and environmental conditions affect families and children
“When we began, I really didn’t know what a mass collaboration was, but I knew it would be a good idea to introduce our data to a new group of researchers: data scientists,” said Sara McLanahan, the William S. Tod Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton. “The results were eye-opening.”
The Fragile Families Study data set consists of modules, each of which is made up of roughly 10 sections, where each section includes questions about a topic asked of the children’s parents, caregivers, teachers, and the children themselves. For example, a mother who recently gave birth might be asked about relationships with extended k
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WeWork sells off social network Meetup to AlleyCorp and other investors

Meetup, the social networking platform designed to connect people in person, is being spun out from shared office space provider WeWork, the company confirmed on Monday. The site is being sold to AlleyCorp and other private investors for an undisclosed sum, but one that’s reportedly far less than the $156 million acquisition price WeWork paid…

Meetup, the social networking platform designed to connect people in person, is being spun out from shared office space provider WeWork, the company confirmed on Monday. The site is being sold to AlleyCorp and other private investors for an undisclosed sum, but one that’s reportedly far less than the $156 million acquisition price WeWork paid for the social network back in 2017.
Fortune (paywalled) was first to break the news of Meetup’s sale. The company has also now put out a press release with further details.
Meetup, which has operated for two-and-a-half years as a WeWork subsidiary, will divest itself from its parent company and continue to operate, it says. The site today serves 49 million registered members and more than 230,000 organizers who create an average of 15,000 in-person events per day.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Meetup had been struggling. The company in November announced a round of layoffs amid other cost-cutting measures. And these had followed earlier cuts of 10% of staff during acquisition negotiations.
With the COVID-19 pandemic now in full force, fewer people than ever are willing and able to meet in-person, leading to M
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SMB loans platform Kabbage to furlough a ‘significant’ number of staff, close office in Bangalore

Another tech unicorn is feeling the pinch of doing business during the coronavirus pandemic. Today, Kabbage, the SoftBank-backed lending startup that uses machine learning to evaluate loan applications for small and medium businesses, is furloughing a “significant number” of its U.S. team of 500 employees, according to a memo sent to staff and seen by…

Another tech unicorn is feeling the pinch of doing business during the coronavirus pandemic. Today, Kabbage, the SoftBank-backed lending startup that uses machine learning to evaluate loan applications for small and medium businesses, is furloughing a “significant number” of its U.S. team of 500 employees, according to a memo sent to staff and seen by TechCrunch, in the wake of drastically changed business conditions for the company. It is also completely closing down its office in Bangalore, India, and executive staff is taking a “considerable” pay cut.
The announcement is effective immediately and was made to staff earlier today by way of a video conference call, as the whole company is currently remote working in the current conditions.
Kabbage is not disclosing the full number of staff that are being affected by the news (if you know, you can contact us anonymously). It’s also not putting a time frame on how long the furlough will last, but it’s going to continue providing benefits to affected employees. The intention is to bring them back on when things shift again.
“We realize this is a shock to everyone. No business in the world could have prepared for what has transpired these past few weeks and everyone has been impacted,” co-founder and CEO Rob Frohwein wrote in the memo. “The economic fallout of this virus has rattled the small business community to which Kabbage is directly linked. It’s painful to say goodbye to our friends and colleagues in Bangalore and to furlough a number of U.S. team members. While the duration of the furlough remains uncertain, please bear in mind that the full intention of furloughing is temporary. We simply
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Where to Find Free Mental Health Resources During the Pandemic

Image: ShutterstockIf you feel like you’re struggling with your mental health, you’re not alone. Many of us are dealing with profound uncertainty and unanticipated stress, whether we’re worried about our health, our finances, our families, or how we’re going to make it through the next month of physical distancing and self-isolation.Which means mental health resources…

Image: ShutterstockIf you feel like you’re struggling with your mental health, you’re not alone. Many of us are dealing with profound uncertainty and unanticipated stress, whether we’re worried about our health, our finances, our families, or how we’re going to make it through the next month of physical distancing and self-isolation.Which means mental health resources are more important than ever—and making the time to access those resources is just as crucial. Even if you’re trying to balance working at home while homeschooling children and figuring out when to make your next grocery run, taking some time for self-care and mental health care will benefit not only you, but also your entire family.If you are currently working with a therapist, you may still have the option to attend virtual therapy sessions. These (probably) won’t be free, but they’ll provide a way for you to continue processing your anxieties and mental health concerns in the company of someone you trust.For the rest of us—or for those of us who might need to cut back on paid therapy sessions due to unexpected layoffs, reduced income, etc.—here are some fre
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