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Education as an Equalizer: New Survey of US Workers Finds Education Is a Catalyst for Change in the Workplace

New study by Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions finds underrepresented workers are prioritizing advanced education more than counterparts, despite facing more barriers

NEWTON, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions today released the first report of the Education Index, a series of research reports that will explore issues related to education. The inaugural report, “Workforce Education and Equity in the Workplace,” which was conducted by Kelton Global, surveyed American working adults on their sentiment and outlook on the role of education for professional growth. After more than a year of financial insecurities created by furloughs and job losses, data from the report shows working Americans – and particularly those in underrepresented groups – placing a high priority on learning to ensure their futures.

According to the report, Black (90%) and Hispanic/Latino (91%) workers believe learning new skills will be important for them to succeed in the future. Specifically, 87% of Black workers and 80% of Hispanic/Latino workers say completing a certificate program will be important for future success — versus 62% of white workers. Additionally, 81% of Black and 79% of Hispanic/Latino workers believe a degree will be important for future success, more so than their white peers (50%). Coming out of the pandemic, nearly half (45%) of American workers surveyed state that their education became even more important for their growth in the past year, with Black (55%) and Hispanic/Latino (54%) employees feeling this more strongly than white (41%) workers.

“The data show that underrepresented employees feel that the odds are stacked against them in their careers, and access to education is a key element that can level the playing field in the workplace. This is where employers need to step in or risk their organization’s reputation and employee morale,” said Dr. Jill Buban, General Manager of Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions.

Obstacles to Education Goals

Even with this premium on education, there are several pervasive roadblocks workers face in achieving their education goals. The top barriers reported include not having the money to pay for the program (30%), not having the time (28%), and having too much going on at work and in their personal lives to take on any new challenges (28%).

When it comes to underrepresented workers, these obstacles are amplified. Black employees (44%) report the inability to afford education programs as a more prevalent issue than white employees (29%), and working women (36%) are more likely than working men (22%) to report this challenge. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of women said they have not been able to participate in an education program in the past 5 years, while just over half (51%) of men report the same.

Education on the Forefront

With many employers calling employees back to the office in some capacity this fall, employers are going to find that employees have returned with a renewed vision for education, provided by their employer. Three in five (60%) American workers expect employers to offer education assistance benefits, with a similar proportion also expecting employers to offer a broad range of options when it comes to these benefits (57%).

Underrepresented workers, including Black and Hispanic/Latino workers, reported a higher appreciation for education benefits. Compared to white workers (73%), more Black (90%) and Hispanic/Latino (88%) employees are looking to develop and expand their skillsets to advance and grow. Additionally, Black and Hispanic/Latino workers are more likely to believe that improving (86% and 85%, respectively) and diversifying (86% and 80%, respectively) their skillset is more crucial than ever before, as compared to their white peers (71% and 69%, respectively).

A Win-Win for Employers and Employees

While many workers see learning as a pathway to personal betterment, they also see it as a way to improve their performance on the job, thus benefiting their organizations. About one in three (33%) workers were driven to pursue education opportunities by a desire to contribute at a higher level and to bring more value to their organizations (31%). Black workers are more focused on improving their job security than their white coworkers (34% vs. 25%) and setting a positive example for their families (34% vs. 23%).

Buban adds, “For employers, there is a major benefit in offering career development and education opportunities that will serve to upskill employees and ultimately build a talent pipeline that will bolster recruiting efforts for years to come.”

To download the full 2021 Education Index Report, click here.


The study surveyed 1,017 working adults living in the U.S. This survey was conducted online during the period of May 14 – 23, 2021, and the study has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.

In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percent from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all personas in the universe represented by the sample. The margin of error for any subgroups will be slightly higher.

About Bright Horizons

Bright Horizons® is a leading global provider of high-quality early education and child care, back-up care, and workforce education services. For more than 30 years, we have partnered with employers to support workforces by providing services that help working families and employees thrive personally and professionally. Bright Horizons operates approximately 1,000 early education and child care centers in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and India, and serves more than 1,300 of the world’s leading employers. Bright Horizons’ early education and child care centers, back-up child and elder care, and workforce education programs help employees succeed at each life and career stage. For more information, go to www.brighthorizons.com.


Kristen Raymaakers

[email protected]

Colleges Pioneering LGBTQ Education & Acceptance

HARTFORD, Conn., July 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — From 1994 to 2020, public acceptance of LGBTQ+ people rose from 46% to 72%. This meteoric rise is due, in part, to the pioneering work of American colleges and universities. 

Some began their efforts even before the American Psychiatric Association dropped its categorization of homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973

Given the progress, College Values Online studied and ranked the top 30 colleges that continue to find innovative ways to recognize and include the LGBTQ+ community into society.

“During pride month, we took the opportunity to examine which colleges were finding ways to break down barriers and make their campuses a safer, more inclusive space for their LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff,” said Julia McCaulley, College Values Online Editor. “What we found was very encouraging. Acceptance of diversity is a crucial aspect, not only to those within the LGBTQ+ community but to everybody who works, studies, and lives on college campuses across the country. We are pleased to present the schools that earned top marks for promoting these changes!”

Here’s a sampling of  30 US Colleges That Have Made Great Strides In LGBTQ+ Acceptance

The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Thanks to LGBTQ+ activists at the University of Michigan, the college made history in 1971 when it opened the first staff office for LGBTQ+ students in an American institution of higher learning. The two-person staff created a system of peer advisors trained to help LGBTQ+ students. Today, LGBTQ+ issues are promoted throughout the college. For instance, its medical school ensures that all of its students learn about LGBTQ+ health concerns. Campus Pride names it one of the best LGBTQ+ colleges in America.

University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
This university has led significant achievements in LGBTQ+ rights. Perhaps the earliest indirect accomplishment was the graduation of John Burnside, who later founded the Los Angeles Gay Liberation Front. In the 1950s, a college urologist performed one of the earliest gender-reassignment surgeries. One of its psychologists published research showing that homosexuality was not a psychological disease. Pioneering achievements continue at UCLA. For instance, the college’s health department has been tracking transgender and nonbinary experiences during the pandemic in the hopes of providing better care. 

University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon
The University of Oregon has seen more than four decades of grassroots activism by LGBTQ+ students, faculty and staff, and community allies. In 1969, the University became home to the Gay People’s Alliance. The first accommodation that the college provided to LGBTQ+ people took place in 1971, when the college adopted equal employment opportunities, by stating that it would not regard any “extraneous considerations” in hiring decisions. In 1992, the college formed the Standing Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT). Today, the college encourages equality in many ways, such as the John R. Moore Scholarship, which gives students $2,000 for excelling in contributing to the LGBTQ+ community at the college.

Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana
The first LGBTQ group on the Purdue University campus was the Purdue Gay Alliance, formed in 1971. A few years later, the college became home to the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Women’s Alliance. Today, the college’s LGBTQ+ Center hosts a wide range of welcoming activities. Higher Education Today notes that Purdue University has one of the best LGBTQ inclusion policies in America. 

Stanford University
Stanford, California
The Stanford Sexual Rights Forum was founded in 1965. This student organization became the first student group to advocate nationally for civil rights for LGBTQ+ people. In 1968, the college also saw the foundation of the Homophile League of Stanford University, the second homosexual student group in America. It was followed up in 1970 with the Stanford Gay Students Union. More achievements included the first gay studies course in 1973 and the tenured hiring of the first openly gay professor at the college in 1977. More recently, the college introduced the Stanford LGBT Executive Leadership Program in 2016. 

University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is home to the second oldest LGBTQ+ center in America, which opened in 1982. It has grown over the years and today occupies an entire building on campus. Additionally, the college’s hospitals are renowned for LGBTQ+ patient care. In fact, in 2018, Human Rights Campaign stated that the hospitals were leading LGBTQ+ healthcare equality efforts. Fastweb names the University of Pennsylvania the most LGBTQ+-friendly college. 

For the complete list and ranking methodology, click here.

Contact: Julia McCaulley, Editor
Phone: 518-496-0845
Email: http://www.collegevaluesonline.net/contact/

SOURCE College Values Online