This week, Senator Scott Brown is crisscrossing the Commonwealth on a “Jobs Tour,” aiming to share his plans for spurring economic growth and job creation.
We couldn’t agree more that this is THE issue of the moment. Getting people back to work is the key to solving so many other problems we face as a state and as a nation.
However, it appears that Senator Brown takes a fairly one-sided approach; focusing solely on lowering taxes and reducing bureaucracy, the Senator fails to talk about the ways that government might effectively intervene to create jobs and opportunity.
With this in mind, we urge the Senator, and indeed all of our political leaders, to consider the full range of policies that can lead to economic growth, including:
- funding critical infrastructure projects
- increasing support for on-the-job training and transitional jobs
- investing in youth employment programs
- providing tax credits for hiring the long-term unemployed, veterans and other populations with barriers to employment as well as tax credits for participating in higher education and training
- passing comprehensive climate change and energy legislation that creates jobs and advances our energy security
- investing in industry sector-focused training that helps companies find and hire the people they need to fill current and projected job openings
- supporting Pell grants and other financial aid programs that make it possible for our current and future workforce to gain post-secondary certificates and degrees
Although this is a blog about workforce training and middle-skill jobs, we do recognize that training alone does not create jobs. But job creation policies cannot be truly effective without a human capital strategy either; companies need to be assured of an appropriately-skilled labor force that will allow them to thrive and grow. And people with post-secondary training have more options in this tight job market and lower rates of unemployment. In Massachusetts, adults with only a high school diploma or GED are 1.5 more likely to be unemployed than those with an associate’s degree (11.2% unemployment vs. 6.9%).
Therefore, training that meets employer needs and that helps people gain the skills they need to be competitive in the job market should be an important component of a “comprehensive [economic development strategy] to make sure that new jobs exist and that companies offering them remain successful.”
In honor of the National Workforce Week of Action, take a moment to share your ideas for job creation and training with Senator Brown, Senator Kerry or your Congressperson. Share them with us in the Comments section as well–we’d love to hear your ideas and pass them on!