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Philadelphia — Patrick T. Harker, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, told a virtual audience that the lack of economic mobility throughout American society is a “profound moral problem” and argued that now is the time to “to experiment with new models and new pathways to success.” He spoke at the Uneven Outcomes in the Labor Market: Understanding Trends and Identifying Solutions conference.

Harker, a former university president, cited certificate courses and associate’s degrees as important steps to middle-class careers. He also urged “government, civil society, the corporate sector, and, perhaps especially ... universities and colleges” to make education more affordable for more people. Harker also noted that as a result of the pandemic and the economic downturn, enrollment in community colleges and vocational courses has fallen ― a trend, he said, that must be reversed.