In Plain Sight

October 31, 2016

“The best customer of American industry is the well paid worker.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

American workers are some of the very best in the world. They are a primary competitive advantage for the United States and a driving force for growth. Given that, we should listen to their views of the workplace and economic development more closely. This is not to diminish economic surveys, global indicators and CEO interviews, but the workforce can be a source of great information in plain sight.

A recent PEW Research Center report on The State of American Jobs illuminates some of the workforce’s thinking. Here’s a summary of some key findings about American workers:

  • They recognize the need for constant training and skill development. Currently, 1 in every 4 workers in America hold a license or a certificate for the skill they use in the workforce; this increases with salary. The worker sees this correlation and understands it.
  • They see threats to their jobs from foreign competition and technology. They are feeling squeezed to produce more and to adapt rapidly to technology and demographic changes around them. They understand that this threatens their earning ability and future, just as the CEO sees these issues as a threat to the overall enterprise.
  • They are willing to take responsibility for training and increasing their skills if given the opportunity, and they wish public schools prepared them and their families better for the working world.
  • They increasingly question the costs and benefits of a college education, and are willing to take non-traditional jobs and career paths to earn a living.
  • They are working even more than before (and the American worker already works more than most), and they are increasingly staying in their jobs longer.

To me, these results are not just interesting, but inspiring. There is so much common ground on which to align broader economic interests with those who actually execute the work each day. There are hundreds of different perspectives from which to examine these issues, and it seems clear that business, government and academic leaders should read this report carefully, and fully appreciate the perspective of the people right in front of them.

-Kenny McDonald

One Columbus Update

  • Today, leading accounting and consulting firm BDO USA, LLP announced a commitment of 400 jobs in Columbus by 2021. Congratulations and thank you to BDO for choosing the Columbus Region for its new business service center.
  • This week, the One Columbus team is in Atlanta to attend Economix, and traveling to Europe to meet with companies.
  • Back at home, One Columbus will partner with CoreNet Global to host site consultants as part of a familiarization tour of the Columbus Region.