Robert Templin and Ron Brownstein

President Templin Speaks at State of the Middle Class Summit

Robert Templin
President Robert G. Templin, Jr., was a keynote speaker for the State of the Middle Class summit sponsored by The Atlantic and National Journal.

On April 25, President Robert G. Templin, Jr., was one of two keynote speakers for a summit on the “State of the Middle Class” organized by The Atlantic and National Journal. The other keynote speaker was Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council and assistant to President Barack Obama for economic policy.

“Higher education in the United States has become the pathway to the middle class and that’s because the fundamentals of our economy have changed with most new jobs being created requiring much higher levels of education than before,” Templin said.

He went on to discuss why there is a skills gap during a recession when so many people are looking for work. The issues include not enough students prepared for college, not enough students finishing college and not enough graduates in the right fields.

Robert Templin and Ron Brownstein
President Robert G. Templin, Jr., discussed higher education issues with National Journal Editorial Director Ron Brownstein during a summit on the State of the Middle Class.

“Exacerbating the problem is the fact that America is disinvesting in higher education, pushing the financial burden for college going from taxpayers to individuals,” Templin said. “Higher education now is not seen as a public benefit, it’s seen as a private good. As a consequence, since 2001 state and local per pupil appropriations for higher education have declined by one-third.”

After his opening remarks, Templin sat down with moderator Ron Brownstein, editorial director at National Journal, to continue the conversation. They discussed a wide range of solutions such as NOVA’s Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program, guaranteed admission agreements, engaging with employers and partnering with school districts.

View the full discussion at

According to the website for the summit, the Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll and the accompanying First Annual Summit on the State of the Middle Class were the 16th in a series of groundbreaking surveys and events to examine both the economic challenges and opportunities that Middle Class Americans face. Building on the extensive journalism and polling already produced through the Next Economy project, the effort aims to provide a vivid and comprehensive look at the state of middle-class life in America today.

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