President Obama and the 130 leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors who are attending this week's Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth in Washington should be unreservedly congratulated for generating ideas to stem the ongoing loss of jobs in the US.
But let's keep the focus on the tough job of figuring out how to boost employment at a time when many companies are only beginning to enjoy a modicum of confidence in our still-shaky economy. And, let's focus on developing jobs in America that will make us stronger coming out of this Great Recession than we were going into it.
So, how elusive is the solution to America's unemployment spiral? One part of the solution is not elusive at all. It is innovation.
Indeed, President Obama set forth an ambitious strategy earlier this year that will create incentives for innovation and investment, and establish a favorable environment for innovative businesses and workers that will allow America to compete on the global stage. The Administration's innovation strategy, titled "A Strategy for American Innovation: Driving towards Sustainable Growth and Quality Jobs," sets ambitious goals and recognizes that software, IT and other ground-breaking scientific and technical advances will be key drivers for improving the American economy in the long term.
As for the assembled delegates to the jobs summit, many come from industries that have enjoyed fantastic successes by developing pioneering new ideas, technologies, and processes. The fact is, these leaders know that innovation is at the heart of economic growth, which in turn drives employment.
So it would seem that the key to ensuring that this summit is a resounding success is to make certain that every attendee agrees not on the solution to the jobs crisis, but rather the steps that must be taken to ensure that we are stimulating the parts of our economy that will deliver the greatest benefits in terms of employment.
With that in mind, here are some points to consider:
The software and computer sector has been working hard to create jobs across the economy. Software and computers have been the largest contributor to productivity growth over the past 20 years and have created millions of high-wage and highly skilled American jobs. Moreover, President Obama's stated goals of ensuring that the US has the world's best trained and best educated work force, and his commitment to building world-class green technologies are critical efforts that can only take root if the high-tech sector remains vibrant and able to supply the rest of the economy with the tools necessary to deliver these aspirations.
Software drives productivity, innovation, and resilience in almost every economic sector, helping businesses of all sizes perform better in good times and bad. If the software and tech sectors are healthy and growing, then our target to remain the most competitive economy in the world is greatly enhanced. On that basis, it is imperative that the delegates to the jobs summit are keenly aware that the promotion of international trade, tax reform, strong protection of our digital infrastructure, and support for intellectual property rights are fundamental in our combined efforts to expand employment.
Every participant at the jobs summit will come to the table with unique goals and even a degree of self-interest brought about by their experiences. That's natural and even healthy. But ultimately, the participants have the same goal: the creation of a vibrant and strong American economy and solid employment prospects for every member of the workforce. So as the proceedings begin, it is my hope that the participants will share a sense of urgency and a common belief that out of this extraordinary challenge, we can create jobs for today's workers and our next generations. We can innovate our way to a prosperous future.