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Message from Our Founder

Dr. Lan Joo

Over the past decades, educational policies that aim at reducing social inequality have been implemented in nations as many policymakers believed that education was a key solution to reducing social inequality.  Scholars also have studied the role of education in this social inequality, and some have even suggested that the role of education is insufficient in decreasing social inequality.  However, I believe that although education alone plays a minimal role in decreasing social inequality, as de Gregorio and Lee (2002) suggested, when “the price of skills” is premised, a combination of increasing level and equality of education reduces income inequality.  We cannot ignore “the price of skills” in the labor market, and therefore, in order to reduce the income gap between the rich and the poor, it is necessary to proceed with the analysis of the labor market along with education policies.  


Although it is important to implement educational policies, such as increasing educational attainment, expanding education, and giving equal opportunities, I believe that it is also important to address “what is taught” to children from low-income families because skills obtained in schools will act as a guide to their future success in the labor market.  According to the BLS, the median annual salary in 2018 for people with STEM jobs was $84,880, while the median salary for non-STEM jobs was $37,020.  If we do not intervene and help children from low-income families acquire STEM skills, those children will remain in a circle of poverty in the era of nationally polarized income. 


As a researcher who has studied the role of education in social inequality for the past 10 years, I strongly believe that in order to reduce social and income gaps, we have to develop educational programs that are linked to the labor market. The most effective ways are to (1) analyze high-income jobs in the labor market (2) determine what to teach to the children in order to raise the rate of higher income in their future, and (3) provide and help develop those labor market demanded skills.  At the same time, there should be supporting programs for children, such as social services and physical activities in order to strengthen their physical and mental health to improve their learning.  


These are key aspects of our vision because all children have the potential to acquire high-tech knowledge and skills.   Based on my belief, I established the “Courage. Hope. Care (C.H.C.) Institute”, a non-profit organization that provides both educational and social service programs to children from low-income families in order to increase their access to STEAM education. As for education, C.H.C. will focus on “STEM in Equity” and as for social services, C.H.C. will provide counseling, free meal services, scholarships, and homeless kids programs.  In addition to this, via an online program, C.H.C. will provide STEAM and job skills training programs to people around the world, especially people in developing countries where access to education and training is low.

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