Common Cents for June 29, 2012

 Yesterday, I sent a number of bullet points to a reporter friend of mine who had asked the question: “In your own words, tell me what you feel must be done to fix our job market in metro Birmingham and Alabama – despite (the) state trumpeting our big unemployment rate over last year, Alabama ranks near the bottom nationally in job creation – How can we turn thing around?”

So, I sent him back the following: 

  • Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic bullet to this problem. Just as they have on numerous occasions in the past, the local and national economies are going to have to restructure and reinvent themselves to remain competitive. This will take some time.
  • We have to quit looking at our economic development as an election cycle issue, and pointing fingers or patting backs. Economic development starts at the birth of a worker and ends at its death. If you want a vibrant economy, have a vibrant workforce. If you want a vibrant workforce, train and educate the heck out of your citizens.
  • The United States still has a competitive advantage in its development of and access to technology. However, this doesn’t mean a hill of beans if the average worker doesn’t know how to use it. To that end, we simply have to devote more time and resources to math, science, and computer technology. Failing to do so means failing our workers.
  • Not everyone will get a bachelor’s degree. In fact, roughly only 25% of adult Alabamians have one. Why then does our K-12 seem to focus on college prep when the majority of workers in the state need real vocational skills and hands on training?
  • You can get 11 guys off the street; put them in pads and a helmet, and call them a football team. However, the best teams are those with the best coaches, the best athletes, and the best training. We understand this when it comes to football. Why then is it so hard to understand when it comes to economics?

To read more…  June 29, 2012 Common Cents

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