Munroe: Here are some ideas to stimulate job creation
Tapan Munroe, financial columnist
Posted: 02/03/2011 02:56:58 PM PST
Updated: 02/04/2011 04:32:52 PM PST
The State of the Union address was the opportunity to focus the national agenda on what Americans care about most: jobs.
President Barack Obama did that Jan. 25. Now comes the hard part. Unless the president and the new Congress can fully commit to help stimulate startup companies that create good jobs and help invest in retraining to retain good jobs, the nation will lose its global competitiveness, and the economy will perform below its potential with higher than socially acceptable unemployment rates.
It is important to remember that government plays a catalytic role and businesses create most of the jobs in our market economy.
We should place a laserlike focus on the high-growth startup companies. Research from the Kauffman Foundation shows that since 1980, startup firms less than five years old account for nearly 100 percent of net job growth in the United States. However, most of these companies require skills and knowledge that most Americans don't possess because of rapid changes in technologies and global markets.
Job creation opportunities are tremendous if the federal government can help better align training with America's growing innovation sectors such as: health care IT, digital media, precision manufacturing and retrofitting buildings to new environmental standards. This can best be done by modifying existing workplace skills or by helping recent college graduates and mature adults bridge onto new jobs.
Here are five ideas President Obama should work with the new Congress to help stimulate job growth:
1. Grow bottom up, not top down. Rather than federal top-down strategies for job creation, evidence confirms that a bottom-up approach that harnesses the wisdom of local communities and businesses is essential.
2. The federal government needs to invest regionally in the kinds of collaborations that are already producing good jobs in IT, biotech and clean tech, for which specialized training is needed. San Diego is a good example for emulation.
3. Encourage startups. Congress needs to create and keep good jobs in America by supporting innovative startup companies that create jobs and provide incentives for retraining people to be qualified for the new skills and technologies these startups need.
4. Support regional business clusters. In today's environment, regions need to be thinking about the industry clusters that can harness their assets to grow innovative new enterprises that create jobs.
Governments in advanced countries around the globe have launched numerous programs to promote growth-producing collaboration in key industry clusters. We need regional cluster strategies which maximize the resources needed for regional prosperity. We need to bring together the four key players in economic growth--the research community, the entrepreneurs and investors, the economic development associations, and the educators and work force training organizations.
5. Tax incentives for training and tuition-assistance programs. Investment in employee training needs a boost. According to the University and Professional Continuing Education Association, employers recognize the importance of employee education to remain competitive. But cash-starved startups could use some government help.
There also needs to be incentives for colleges and training organizations to offer flexible formats and schedules as most adults are balancing work and family demands with their education.
Think globally. Congress needs to help stimulate training programs to assure America's work force has a clear sense of the enormous effects of globalization and new technologies on all industries and all workers and what they must do to be competitive.
Six out of 10 U.S. university students believe their education has not prepared them to address these issues, according to a 2010 IBM survey of 3,600 students.
Research from Georgetown University in 2010 revealed the growing disconnect between the types of jobs that employers must fill and the number of Americans with the right education and skills.
Many great new jobs are being created by innovations in technology developed through university and corporate research labs, think tanks and innovative businesses across the nation.
This can only work if the president and Congress assist businesses, entrepreneurs, and educational and training institutions to help workers acquire new knowledge and learn new skills via tax incentives and direct investment in the projects to get the jobs our 21st century new economy creates.
We need to move fast to restore our world leadership in innovation and competitiveness.
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Tapan Munroe can be reached at tapan@....
Read about the new book in the blog site -- www.ClosingAmericasjobgap.com, authors--Mary Walshok. Tapan Munroe, & Henry Devries,