Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Why Business Can't Save America

From Jim Koch's Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream to Andrew Yang's Venture for America, there is a wave of initiatives focused on funding small businesses in the name of economic revival, job creation, and general social good. Indeed, writes Aaron Hurst in a Stanford Social Innovation Review blog, there is an increasingly popular perspective that supporting business is a charitable act.

But here's the rub, Hurst says. While job creation is important, there is a much greater need for employee creation. By 2016, four out of ten jobs will require advanced education or training, and many hiring managers are already finding that the talent they need is hard to find. "If we want to see more Americans gainfully employed — not in jobs, but with living-wage careers," he writes, we need to invest more in the nonprofit sector and in government programs like our educational system to advance science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) outcomes. STEM skills are marketable and will lead to sustained employment. While these investments don't create the short-term gains that business leaders have been trained to seek, they will create the supply of talent needed for our economy and society to thrive.

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