Yesterday, I participated in what can only be described as a thrill ride of ideas about how to help Americans get back to work and succeed in a post-recession economy. The session was titled, somewhat tamely, “Post-Recession Workforce Innovations: Smart Ideas for the Public, Private, and Philanthropic Sectors.” In reality, it was one of the most invigorating and interesting discussions I’ve had in a long time.
Moderated by Bob Giloth of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and featuring: Doris Koo of Enterprise Community Partners, Clifford Johnson of the National League of Cities, Orson Watson of Garfield Foundation and myself, the panelists and the audience sought to come up with concrete work-force solutions. The workshop was a fast-paced incubator of solutions that ranged from a call for a permanent public jobs program, to large-scale green retrofitting of cities as a means to create jobs, to helping people in need of jobs move to where the jobs are, to a push for stronger collaboration between employers and the people training workers to ensure that training and available jobs (now and in the future) match (my suggestion).
If we can be as focused and creative when it comes to developing policy, we might have a chance to once again build a strong and vital economy.
Fred Dedrick is the executive director of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.