As Congress contemplates another round of COVID-19 relief, one massive part of the economy is consistently overlooked, yet has proved so vital in bolstering quality of life during this unprecedented public health emergency in which people must be distanced and isolated: the arts. Shutting down theaters, performance spaces, concerts, exhibitions, museums, galleries and cultural spaces has resulted in hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs, their careers. Many of these institutions are non-profits, which routinely struggle for financial resources. Now, the industry has created Be An Arts Hero (beanartshero.com), to lobby for support using the same arguments as other industries that are getting more attention: hospitality, airlines, cruiselines, restaurants. This is a “Dear Senators” letter:
The $877 billion our industry generated last fiscal year is about to disappear. The 4.5% we added to our GDP—about to vaporize. We are second only to Retail as the most powerful economic driver of this economy, boasting an export of $72.6 billion and an annual growth rate of 4.16% , nearly double that of the U.S. economy as a whole at 2.2%. Without your immediate action for financial relief by August 1, we will collapse, and the result will be an economic cataclysm.
We are the Arts Economy. We are everywhere. And our fates are tied together.
We are over 675,000 small businesses and organizations in every town, city, and state, employing 5.1 million hard-working Americans who are now desperately struggling to stay above water. Our influence reaches across every sector because the Arts Economy is a jobs multiplier, creating millions of sustainable jobs in collateral arts-adjacent economies. In short, our institutions of Arts and Culture anchor communities, producing highly interdependent commercial ecosystems that depend on rank-and-file Arts Workers who increase tax revenue, real estate value, and attract businesses, large and small. These are the dominoes. If you lose us, we lose the economy. We need your help.
We are Florida’s largest job creator at 260,999 jobs, bringing in $36,937,050,840 (3.7%) to Florida’s state revenue. America’s favorite theme park which was built by union carpenters and construction workers, now runs on the working-class labor of the administrative staff who operate the day-to-day; the engineers who make it move; the electricians who keep it bright; the painters and pyro-technicians who explode it with color; the custodians who keep it clean; and the actors, dancers, and musicians who bring it to life. We need your help.
We are New York City’s main economic driver: in 2019, Broadway sold more tickets than all the NY and NJ sports teams combined, creating a revenue of $1.83 Billion in ticket sales, generating even more in Arts-adjacent businesses. On any night out, our audiences take public transportation, taxis, and Ubers/Lyfts; pay for childcare; go shopping; and by record numbers, they go to restaurants which employ kitchen staff, waiters, and bussers who rely on food delivery trucks whose companies purchase goods from farmers, who are now mass killing their livestock and burning their crops because their industry is crashing. We need your help.
We account for $30.3 billion (3.7% of GSP) of the Illinois economy and contribute over 224,000 jobs. In Chicago, alone, that’s $2.25 billion in economic activity annually. If we go missing, the economic implosion in our neighborhoods, in our cities, and in our state will take decades to rebuild.
We are a $1 billion economy in Wyoming, $2.9 billion in Nebraska, $4.2 billion in Iowa, $7 billion in Utah, $8.3 billion in Indiana, $9 billion in Arizona, $10 billion in Missouri, $15 billion in North Carolina, $19 billion in Ohio, $24 billion in Georgia, $44 billion in Washington, $46 billion in Texas, and $230 billion in California. We are Big Business because we are Local Business, creating and sustaining jobs across trades, not to mention the Artists themselves.
Artists, whose creativity has elevated our best moments and now sustain us through one of our worst. Artists, who require your signature as a byline to one of the most consequential stories of your tenure; the story where you:
1. Extend Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) by August 1, before 28 million of your constituents are evicted and on the streets.
2. Create a 100% subsidy for COBRA to protect workers’ healthcare, with eligibility extended to 36 months.
3. Provide $43.85 billion in economic relief to sustain our Arts and Culture institutions: this relief should go directly to the NEA, NEH, IMLS, and CPB, to be appropriated to its partner organizations across the towns, cities, suburbs, exurbs, and rural areas in which they operate. This $43.85 billion is 5% of our generated revenue for 2019, which is proportionate to the $50 billion you gave to the top ten airlines who successfully lobbied for your assistance. We ask for nothing more than immediate and proportionate economic relief.
The cost of this relief and FPUC’s extension of $85/day ($600 extra dollars a week) will pale compared to your inaction, which is estimated to cost trillions and will devastate working people. Families and individuals who depend on our colossal Arts Economy are struggling to pay rent and put food on the table as they face anxiety over whether they can make it past August 1. Our very humanity—and the Humanities—teeter at the edge of a fiscal and existential cliff. If we fall, so does the identity of America itself, for we are the very expression of this nation. And right now, we are crying out for your action.
Dear Senators, you are at your finest when you come together to hear the collective call of your people, one people, without prejudice to partisanship or politic, and with a heart full of love for all whom you represent. We are not only calling on you to represent us, we are calling on you to represent this moment. We are calling on you to represent our future. We are calling on you to represent the history that you are about to make.
Dear Senators, now is your time. The nation is bearing witness. You hundred women and men stand at the center of America’s stage and we are calling upon you to act. You have the power to save your people and revitalize your country in its darkest hour. And we are desperate for Light. Dear Senators, the ink is still wet, you hold the pen, and the story of this nation is in your hands.
UNITED WE STAND,
Matthew-Lee Erlbach THE ARTS ECONOMY
Co-signatories of this letter include working-class Arts Workers in solidarity with the most preëminent Arts Leaders and Institutions of the United States.
After the April jobs report showed a loss of 20.5 million jobs and an unemployment rate of 14.7% – the worst since the Great Depression –former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for President, offered these remarks on “Trump’s Disastrous Economy,” saying “it didn’t have to be this way.” Here are the remarks, as prepared for delivery, which provide an alternate to how things could have, should have been handled:
This morning, we received the worst jobs report in history. 20.5 million jobs lost last month, and an unemployment rate now 14.7 percent — the highest it’s been since the Great Depression.
It’s an economic disaster worse than any we have seen in decades — and it’s made all the worse, because it didn’t have to be this way.
Donald Trump utterly failed to prepare for this pandemic and delayed in taking the necessary steps to safeguard our nation against the near-worst-case-economic scenario we are now living.
COVID-19 caused a massive economic challenge. But this crisis hit us harder, and will last longer, because Donald Trump spent the last three years undermining the core pillars of our economic strength.
Many small businesses have closed because of stay-at-home orders. But a lot of them won’t open again because they do not have a cushion due to three years of Trump’s policies that reward the biggest companies.
Yes, many have lost their jobs because of this crisis — but we are seeing so many proud families forced to endure epic lines for food boxes in football stadium parking lots because Donald Trump has spent three years tilting the playing field to the wealthy, and not the middle class.
Trump has loved to crow about the great economy he built. But when the crisis hit, it became clear who that economy has been built to serve. Not workers. Not the middle class. Not families.
Trump’s economic agenda has three unmistakable failings; failings that have been present since day one, but are coming into sharp relief in the current crisis:
First, Donald Trump’s main measure of economic progress is the state of the stock market.
It’s the only metric he values, so it’s the only lens through which he sees our economy.
For the past three years, even as Americans have had to work harder than ever to pay their bills, he’s said the economy was “great” because the stock market was up.
He irresponsibly downplayed and delayed action on the virus to protect the Dow Jones Average, a choice that has so far cost tens of thousands of American lives and millions of American jobs.
Make no mistake: it doesn’t matter how much the market rebounds. As long as there are millions of unemployed people struggling to get by — we won’t be anywhere near bouncing back.
Second, his entire economic strategy is focused on helping the wealthy and big corporations.
Just imagine what we could be doing now with the $2 trillion in tax cuts that Trump delivered for his rich friends as his first priority.
Imagine how much better a position we’d be in right now if — instead of Donald Trump cheering on corporations that spent hundreds of billions buying back their stock — those corporations were using that money to keep workers on their payrolls.
Imagine if, instead of providing incentives to shift jobs overseas – he had ensured we were investing in manufacturing at home.
Imagine how much more resilient our small businesses might be right now if – rather than repeatedly trying to slash the Small Business Administration’s budget – Trump had invested in making them stronger.
Imagine if instead of fighting tooth and nail to take away people’s health insurance, he’d invested in expanding access, so that families didn’t worry that a visit to the hospital would put their finances at risk.
Third, Donald Trump claimed he would fight for the forgotten middle class – and as soon as he got into office, he forgot them.
He’s been President for more than three years, but hasn’t yet followed through on his core economic campaign promises to middle class voters.
He promised to work with Congress to pass a bill to limit offshoring of jobs. He promised to create $1 trillion worth of new infrastructure jobs. He promised to expand child care support.
He said it would all happen before May 2017. It’s now May 2020 and not one of these promises has materialized.
Instead, he’s run the same playbook that has hollowed out our economy time and again over the past four decades.
It always ends up the same way. The rich get richer, the powerful get more power, and everyone else gets told they just need to work harder.
We’ve heard it before — and we’re not buying it.
And if you need proof that Trump’s policies were a failure even before this virus hit, just compare the first 35 months of Trump’s presidency to the last 35 months of the Obama-Biden Administration, hiring was slower and real wages grew more slowly too.
Trump was already well into the process of hollowing out the good economy we left him long before the first case of coronavirus.
The numbers looked good, but underneath the numbers, things were eroding.
But this pandemic has laid bare exactly how much damage Trump has done in just over three years.
Because Donald Trump has gotten the virus response wrong, the jobs and unemployment numbers are just the beginning. His mistakes will also mean it takes more time to recover from this.
We’re already seeing the tell-tale hallmarks of Trump-o-nomics in the way he is implementing the crisis response efforts: no strings, no oversight, no accountability.
I’ve started to think of it as the Corrupt Recovery.
First, Trump made sure we didn’t have an empowered Inspector General to oversee all of this.
And now, we seeing reports that loan money went to Trump’s donors, political allies, and companies with Trump-connected lobbyists.
Here’s how it worked: Trump’s Treasury Department allowed corporations with connections to go right to the front of the line — they got concierge service.
Meanwhile the mom and pop shops that needed help most got shut out.
More than 40 percent of the initial funding designed to support small businesses—didn’t go to real small businesses at all.
The single largest recipient of small-business money was a hotel executive and a major Trump donor.
The Trump Administration let him exploit the loophole to get $59 million in help, and he’s only giving it back now because the press found out.
And, who knows what else we’d find if the Trump Administration would stop hiding the full list of businesses who received help.
This is your money they’re getting.
We’re reading press stories that the Trump Administration is allowing big corporations that take money to lay off their workers, while other big companies are laying off workers then pay-out millions to shareholders.
How hard is it for Trump to say that if you are a major corporation and you are going to receive taxpayer money, you must first use it to take care of your workers?
But it turns out corruption is a feature of the Trump economic agenda, not a bug.
He will pick his wealthy friends, his corporate cronies, over working families every time.
I say it’s time we pick a different way.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be laying out a detailed plan for the right kind of economic recovery. Today, let me outline just a few key principles.
It starts with rebuilding the backbone of this country: a stronger, more inclusive, more resilient middle class – a middle class that can withstand the next public health crisis or whatever else comes our way.
It’s time we make sure everyone gets a fair shot at success, not just the Mar-a-Lago crowd.
Since the very first days of my campaign, I’ve had a simple message:
Wall Street and CEOs didn’t build this country. The middle class built this country. Ordinary women and men who are capable of doing extraordinary things when given half a chance. They built the country.
That’s who I believe in. That’s who I’m in this race to fight for.
Who is out there on the front lines of this crisis? Who are the workers that are literally carrying this nation on their backs?
The doctors and nurses and other health care workers. The EMTs and firefighters and police. The grocery store clerks and the meat packers and the farmers. The delivery drivers and the mass transit workers.
And these heroes are all too often the lowest-paid and the least appreciated members of our society.
But this crisis is showing us what is essential. And, I think it’s time we reward the people who actually make this country work.
I do believe that from this moment, from this crisis, we have the opportunity to not just rebuild our economy—but transform it.
To make our economy more resilient for whatever comes our way in the future.
Making sure everyone has paid sick leave and child care support.
Remaking our system of unemployment insurance into employment insurance, to help keep people in their jobs.
Putting millions and millions of people to work building the new, green economy that will position us to own the 21st century.
Making sure we’re producing here at home the machines and equipment we need to fight the pandemic and ensure public health.
Guaranteeing an education that equips you to succeed,and access to high-quality, affordable health care.
We can restore the basic bargain that used to exist in this country. The bargain was that if you contributed to the success of an enterprise, you shared in the rewards.
And the way we will do that is by empowering our workers. It means encouraging unionization and collective bargaining. It means more protections to ensure fair pay, over-time compensation, worker-safety, and a secure retirement.
We can insist that big corporations – which we’ve bailed out twice in 12 years – set up and take responsibility for their workers and communities. They have to step up to do that.
We can rip out the race-based inequities that infect every part of our society— from the pollution being pumped into the air and water in communities of color to the health care treatment they receive.
I’ll have more to say on all this in the weeks ahead, but here’s what it comes down to: we can choose who our economy, our government, and our country works for.
Just the wealthy — or everyone else as well. All of us together. All of us together.
That’s the choice we must make – all of us together – this November. It could not be more stark what the choice is.
I’d like to end today by saying thank you to all of our front line workers who are working day in and day out to keep our nation afloat during this crisis. And who are risking their personal health and safety in the process.
And to everyone, to everyone who is struggling with this virus who I talk to or grieving a lost loved one or losing sleep worrying about how you are going to make ends meet for another week — I want to offer my heartfelt condolences.
But I know that we will get through this. We’ll get through it together. I know because I know the American spirit, and the American character. We’re seeing it on display every day.
The proof that there’s nothing, nothing we cannot accomplish when we stand together—one nation, united in purpose, taking care of our neighbors, committing to get the job done.
That’s what has seen us through every moment of crisis in our past — it will see us through again today. It will empower us to write the future we want for our country and our children.
There’s no quit in America. None at all. We’re going to get through this.
Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for President, has offered a four-point plan for essential workers – critical to begin reopening the economy still wracked by the coronavirus pandemic with no clear end in sight – including making sure workers have adequate protection and safe workplaces and awarding hazard pay. This is from the Biden campaign:
Essential workers are providing life-saving medical care, cleaning our hospital rooms, delivering our food and other essential goods, stocking our grocery store shelves, getting us from place to place, keeping our cities’ lights on, and so much more. They have been on the frontlines of this pandemic.
Joe Biden has said since the beginning of this campaign that American workers are the heart and soul of this country— too often, though, we’ve taken these workers and the work they do for granted.
But the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted this critical truth: all across this nation, it’s often our lowest-paid workers who have stepped up during this crisis.
Donald Trump’s foot-dragging and delays have only made it more challenging for workers.
These workers are putting themselves on the line every day. They are essential to our society – in times of crisis and beyond, and deserve not just our thanks and respect, but our support.
Joe Biden has a bold agenda to give these workers the long-term support they deserve — raising wages, guaranteeing quality, affordable health care, providing free tuition for public higher education, and encouraging unionization and collective bargaining.
But these workers can’t wait. They need emergency help now. Today, Joe Biden is calling on President Trump’s Administration to take four immediate actions to protect and support our essential workers:
(1) Ensure all frontline workers, like grocery store employees, qualify for priority access to personnel protective equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 testing based upon their risk of exposure to the virus, as well as child care assistance, and other forms of emergency COVID-19 support.
(2) Expand access to effective personal protective equipment, including through use of the Defense Production Act.
The Trump Administration should ramp up capacity to produce masks for all frontline workers – from health care workers to grocery store workers – by fully using the Defense Production Act. And, the Trump Administration should fully empower a Supply Commander to coordinate the production and delivery of essential supplies and equipment, including masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment. The Supply Commander would be tasked with ensuring equitable distribution so that at-risk communities and particularly vulnerable populations are fully taken care of.
(3) Establish and enforce health and safety standards for workplaces.
During the H1N1 epidemic, the Obama-Biden Administration tasked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) with issuing detailed guidance for how employers should protect their workers. Then, OSHA enforced the law based on those guidelines. The Trump Administration has only started enforcement efforts this week and is still refusing to do everything it can and should to protect workers’ health and safety.
The Trump Administration should:
Immediately release and enforce an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) to give employers and frontline employees specific, enforceable guidance on what to do to reduce the spread of COVID.
Finalize a permanent infectious disease standard. After H1N1, the Obama-Biden Administration spent years preparing a new, permanent infectious disease standard, which would have required health facilities and certain other high exposure workplaces to permanently implement infection control programs to protect their workers. It handed it to the Trump Administration, but instead of moving it to rulemaking, it readily shelved it. They should immediately get to work bringing it to conclusion and expanding it to include all relevant workplaces.
Double the number of OSHA investigators to enforce the law and existing standards and guidelines. Under President Trump, OSHA currently has record low inspectors. Given the exigencies of this crisis, and the need for rigorous enforcement of workplace standards across the country, at least twice the number of inspectors are needed.
Work closely with state occupational safety and health agencies and state and local governments, and the unions that represent their employees, to ensure comprehensive protections for frontline workers.
(4) Enact premium pay for frontline workers putting themselves at risk.
There is no substitute for ensuring worker safety, but all frontline workers putting their lives on the line should receive premium pay for their work. The Trump Administration should immediately work with Congress to pass a bold premium pay initiative. Under the Senate Democrats’ “Heroes Fund” proposal, the federal government would step in and give essential workers a raise, with additional funding to attract workers to serve as health and home care workers and first responders. This premium pay should be in addition to paid sick leave and care-giving leave for every worker, which Joe Biden called for in his March 12 plan, and $15 minimum wage for all workers.
As the unprecedented number of Americans filing unemployment claims rose once again, Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, announced a new plan to transform unemployment insurance into Employment Insurance for millions of workers by getting all 50 states to adopt and dramatically scale up short-time compensation programs.
Vice President Biden released the following statement on today’s unemployment claims and his new plan on scaling up employment insurance:
Today, we learned that another 5.2 million people have filed unemployment claims, bringing the total to more than 22 million in the last month.
This dire economic dislocation stems from the need to protect public health through strong social distancing measures. But let’s not forget: these measures are required to the extent they are because we didn’t prepare early enough, and when the virus surfaced in our communities, we didn’t test sufficiently to contain it. This pain is a product of poor decision making by Donald Trump.
With true American spirit, workers did not hesitate to sacrifice to save the lives of fellow citizens. But even as we temporarily shrink economic activity, there’s no reason why the incomes of working people must shrink, too.
As we navigate this crisis, our paramount economic priority must be to make American workers whole, so they retain their income and benefits during this period of social distancing. For the workers that are laid off, we should swiftly compensate for lost wages and health benefits for all of them, not just those who can make it through the bureaucracy.
But we should also be doing more — much more — to reduce the number of people who are laid off in the first place. We should be committed to keeping as many people as possible attached to their employment, so they can easily return to work when appropriate, and maintain their income and benefits.
This is more than just the right thing to do — it is the surest road to a rapid recovery, because the faster everyone returns to their jobs, the faster we can improve demand and get our economy running again.
The Trump Administration has been given a number of extraordinary tools to make this happen — to keep people employed. Yet, they are failing to use them effectively. For more people to stay in their jobs, Donald Trump has to do his job.
As this crisis continues to unfold, I will be putting forward ideas to not only better address the immediate needs of working Americans, but also what is needed for long-term, structural reform to make our economy work for all its people.
So today, as we see these chilling numbers of job losses — each one a mother or father, a neighbor or friend, a proud, hardworking American — I am calling for a bigger and bolder approach to keeping people on the job in times of crisis. That idea is called “short-time compensation” or “work-sharing.” I call it Employment Insurance.
The Biden Plan to Scale Up Employment Insurance by Reforming Short-Time Compensation Programs
Transform unemployment insurance into Employment Insurance for millions of workers by getting all 50 states to adopt and dramatically scale up short-time compensation programs. Under short-time compensation — also known as work sharing — firms in distress keep workers employed but at reduced hours and the federal government helps make up the difference in wages. The Obama-Biden administration championed this approach in the U.S., and so far 27 states have established short-time compensation programs.
These programs must become more flexible and attractive to both employers and employees, so that as many workers as possible can remain attached to their jobs and receive full wages and health benefits during crisis times, even if employers must significantly cut their hours.
Germany has long used short-time work programs to protect jobs in recessions, so that workers are ready to hit the ground running as the economy improves. And this approach is especially well suited to the current moment, when we can expect a more gradual recovery in certain sectors, with some businesses operating a partial capacity for an extended period.
In short, we should start thinking of this as Employment Insurance more than Unemployment Insurance.
For the current crisis, the administration should move rapidly to scale up short-time compensation to save or restore millions of jobs. Specifically:
Small businesses who use this program must be able to get help to cover their worker’s benefits as well as their other costs, like rent and non-payroll overhead, as they are partially shut down through the crisis. Companies that fulfill the goal of payroll protection by using work sharing should not be punished by being excluded from any small business program for loans or forgiveness that is tied to essential overhead in proportion to their fall in revenues.
The federal government should temporarily waive the need for states to “experience rate” companies, that is, force employers to pay higher taxes in the future if they use short-time compensation now.
These are crisis measures, but we can and should do more to strengthen short-time compensation to prevent layoffs in future downturns, learning lessons from other nations and from those states in America that have been leading the way.
As President, Joe Biden would pursue permanent reform of short-time compensation, through the following steps:
Establish 100% federal financing: Currently, states bear the burden of paying for short-time compensation, except in emergencies. Yet, state unemployment funds are already straining under the burden of unprecedented numbers of unemployment claims. Joe Biden would call for short-time compensation to be 100% permanently funded by the federal government to catalyze far greater use of short-time compensation that can keep workers working and connected to their benefits and work relationships.
Secure participation from all 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands: 23 states still have not established short-time compensation programs. This initiative is too important to leave out millions of Americans. Joe Biden would make it a top priority, using a mix of conditioned assistance and additional incentives, to ensure universal participation, consistent with Supreme Court precedent in Dole and Sebelius.
Create a tax credit for employers’ extra health care costs: Employers must currently provide full health benefits for employees even if they are reducing hours. While it is crucial that employees keep their full benefits, having to fund the full health care costs of workers when they are seeing a significant fall in revenue can discourage companies from choosing short-time compensation over layoffs. Joe Biden would create a refundable tax credit that would reimburse companies as well as non-profits for the extra costs of providing full health benefits of all their workers during a period of work hour reductions.
Raise caps on employer work reductions: States usually cap work hour reductions at 40% to 60%. If your hours go down more than that, you can’t participate. In deep downturns, companies may need to reduce hours even further to prevent layoffs. Raising those caps to 80%, with waivers for extreme circumstances, will help employers keep people in their jobs, even in severe recessions.
Launch a major awareness campaign to improve business participation rates. During the last recession, Rhode Island had much greater participation in its short-time compensation program than the national average. One study from the Brookings Institution found that the chief reason for that was that the state “aggressively marketed work sharing to employers engaged in layoffs during the Great Recession and made use of the media to highlight potential work-sharing benefits.” Joe Biden would take a Rhode Island-style marketing campaign nationwide.
Build automatic triggers based on economic and public health conditions. Enhancements to short-time compensation and unemployment insurance tied to the COVID-19 crisis should be automatically extended based on economic and health conditions, and renewed in future crises. Workers and businesses should not be held hostage by partisans in Congress.
a sea of “Bernie” signs and chants of “We are the 99%” and “We will win”, Jane
Sanders, looked out over the massive crowd of 25,000 that overflowed
Queensbridge Park, beneath the Queensborough Bridge, onto the street, and said,
“Here are people from every background in the melting pot called New York. Most
of our ancestors came to America for a better life- mine from Ireland to escape
famine, poverty; Bernie’s from Poland escaping anti-Semitism, poverty.
“All believed they could have a better life. But in the last 40 years that
promise has eroded. Bernie plans to change that.” And, noting that this is his
first rally since his heart attack, she said to massive cheers, “Bernie is
back. He’s healthy and more than ready to continue his lifelong fight for
working people of America.”
Michael Moore: “This is not just about defeating Trump, but the
rotten system that gave us Trump’
said documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, is where “Everyone gets a seat at the
table, a slice of the pie and not fight for last crumbs. We don’t just need a
democratic politics, we need a democratic economy.”
Moore said, “The powers that be are very unhappy you’re here, that Bernie is
back. The pundits, the media [boo] are throwing everything out there to get
people to think differently:
“That Bernie is too old. Here’s what’s too old: the Electoral College, the
$7 minimum wage, women not being paid the same as men, thousands and thousands
of dollars of student debt, $10,000 deductible for health care, Super
Delegates, the fossil fuel industry – that’s what’s too old.
“It’s a gift we have 78-year-old American running for president. The
experience he has, what he has seen. He knows what a pay raise is, a pension –
look it up. What it looks like to defend against fascism and white supremacy,
to have the library open every day, what regulations are (Boeing). I’m glad
“Health? We should be talking about the health of planet that’s dying [crowd
chants “Green New Deal”]; the health of kids in Flint Michigan, of 40 million
living in poverty, of young black males shot in back by police [chant Black
Lives Matter, Black Lives Count]. The only heart attack we should talk about is
the one Wall Street will have when Bernie wins.
“Next, that Bernie can’t win. He will win he has won 8 times to the House, 2
times to the Senate, 22 states in 2016 – almost half [chant “We will win.]. In
2016 [Democratic primary], Bernie won Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota. Of the 11
states that border Canada, Bernie won 10 (not NY) [boo] – we can fix that. Of
the 5 states that border the Pacific, he won 4; of 6 in New England, won 4;
Bernie won West Virginia – all 55 counties. According to a poll, he is #1 in
Nevada, a dead heat in Iowa, #1 in New Hampshire. He has raised more money from
more donors with the smallest amount.
“Why say Bernie can’t win? Because they are lying to the American people.
Bernie will win. [Chant, “We will win”]
“They say he can’t win because he is a [Democratic] socialist [yay!]. That’s
not going to fly. The American people have loved socialism for the last 70
years. Social Security, free public school, Medicare, Medicaid, fire department
– all are socialist.
“What they don’t want to do is tell the truth, what would happen if they
structured economic policies with democracy instead of capitalism. And this
isn’t capitalism of your great grandpa, this is a form of greed, selfishness so
that just few at the top succeed, the rest struggle paycheck to paycheck.
“Afraid taxes on rich will go up under Sanders? It was depressing during the
debate to watch Democrats go after Medicare for All. What would Franklin
“They say we can’t afford it? How does Canada afford it? Every other
industrialized country has figured it out, why can’t we? They don’t want us to
figure it out.
“They say taxes will go up? That is part of the big lie – your taxes already
are up. We don’t call it a tax – in Canada, France, Finland they get free
health care, free or nearly free day care and college, but pay more in tax for
these things. The average American family pays $12,000 a year for child care,
$4000 in student loans, $6000 for deductibles, co-pays and premiums for health
care – too damn much – the average is $20,000/year but we don’t call it a tax.
“We are here in Queensbridge Park, Manhattan Island just across the river is
headquarters of corporate America [boo], corporate media [boo], Wall Street
. So much misery has been visited on the American people from a half mile
away. It must stop.
“They must hear us at Goldman Sachs, Fox News, Trump Tower – the scene of
“This [election] is not just about defeating Trump, but the rotten system
that gave us Trump…. beating Trump isn’t enough. We must crush Trump at
the polls, then fix the rotten corrupt economic system that gave us Trump.”
San Juan Mayor Cruz: “Move forward on the path of progressive agenda.
We are equal. We will win. We must win.”
Calling herself a “climate change survivor,” San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz
Soto, attacked Trump for “killing us with inefficiency” that contributed to
3,000 Puerto Ricans dying after being smacked by back-to-back hurricanes.
“Why we have to win” she says is for Medicare-for-All, so no one has to
choose between groceries and insulin; to be able to afford college and life
after college, to “stand against those who earn $100 million and pay workers
starving wages; who take away women’s right to choose; the crime of separating
families at southern border; climate change.
“I am a climate change survivor. Climate change is real – 3000 Puerto Ricans
were killed because Trump Is a racist, xenophobic, paper throwing demagogue.” [Chant, “Lock him up.
Vote him out.”]
“The time is now to be fearless, relentless. I stand with Sanders – I respect
every other candidate but there is one name only who can get the job done. Be
united in one progressive voice, cross generations. Move forward on the path of
progressive agenda. We are equal. We will win. We must win.”
Nina Turner: “We must knock out Billionaire class that doesn’t
believe working people deserve a good life.”
co chair Nina Turner quoted Congresswoman Barbara Jordan who said American
people want an America as good as its promise. “That means an America where
people don’t die because have to ration insulin; hospitals are not closing;
where there is clean water, air, food; a justice system that doesn’t gun down
black folks in their houses.
“We need to clean up the criminal injustice system, Truth & Reconciliation
about the ravages of racism, a health care system not commodified. We need to
take care of Mother Earth.”
Alluding to the Democratic candidates, she said, “There are many copies but
only one original. We finally have somebody in our lifetime, his own special
interest is people of nation.
“We must knock out Billionaire class that doesn’t believe working people
deserve a good life.”
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “We need a United States
truly, authentically operated, owned by working people.”
“We must bring revolution of working class to the ballot box of America,”
declared Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She prompted chants of “Green
New Deal,” saying, “Queensbridge Park is ground zero in the fight for public
housing and environmental justice.
“Last February I was working as a waitress in Manhattan, shoulder to
shoulder with undocumented workers who were putting in12 hour days with no
healthcare, not a living wage. We didn’t think we deserved it. That is the
script we tell working people: your inherent worth, value as human depends on
income another underpays. Turn around that basic language… We must change the
system that puts corporate profit ahead of all human and planetary costs.”
After her parents put all they had to buy a house, she said she learned from
an early age that “kids’ destiny determined by zipcode. Income inequality is a
fact of life of children.” Her father died of cancer when she was 18 and she
learned, “We all are one accident away from everything falling apart.
Sanders, she said, has fought for Planned Parenthood, for public education,
for CHIP, for single-payer health care, for gender rights, to end
“life-crushing” student debt.
“He didn’t do it because it was popular. He fought when it came at the
highest political cost in America.
“In 2016, he changed politics in America. We now have one of the best
Democratic fields – much because of Sanders.
“I’m in Congress today but one year ago I was a sexually harassed waitress.
This freshman class in overwhelming numbers rejected corporate money – thanks
to Bernie – endorsed Medicare for All, sees the climate crisis as an
“[In Congress] it is no joke to stand up against corporate power and
establishment interests. Arms are twisted, political pressure psychological and
otherwise applied to make you abandon the working class.
“I have come to appreciate the nonstop advocacy of Sanders. It’s not just
what he fights for but how: mass mobilization of the working class at the
ballot box, a movement (against) racism, classism of Hyde Amendment,
imperialist and colonial histories that lead to endless war and immigration
“NYCHA is underfunded by $30 billion –that is not an accident, but an
outcome of system that devalues poor, Logic that got us into this won’t get us
“We need a United States truly, authentically operated, owned by working
“Bernie showed you can run a grass roots campaign and win in America when
others thought it impossible.”
The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Elizabeth Warren details a plan to transform America’s approach to trade: “Trade can be a powerful tool to help working families but our failed pro-corporate agenda has used trade to harm American workers and the environment. My plan represents a new approach to trade — one that uses America’s leverage to boost American workers and raise the standard of living across the globe. The President has a lot of authority to remake trade policy herself. When I’m elected, I intend to use it.” Here are the details, as provided by the Warren campaign:
Charlestown, MA – Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is running to be the 2020 Democratic candidate for president, released her plan to break decades of Washington consensus and transform every aspect of America’s current approach to trade.
America enters trade negotiations with enormous leverage because it is the world’s most attractive market. A Warren Administration won’t hand that leverage to big corporations to use for their own narrow purposes. Elizabeth will use it to create and defend good American jobs, raise wages and farm income, combat climate change, lower drug prices, and raise living standards worldwide. Under Elizabeth’s plan, America will engage in international trade — but on our terms and only when it benefits American families.
Last month, I released my economic patriotism agenda
— my commitment to fundamentally changing the government’s approach to the
economy so that we put the interests of American workers and families ahead of
the interests of multinational corporations. I’ve already released my ideas for
applying economic patriotism to manufacturing and
to Wall Street. This is my
plan for using economic patriotism to overhaul our approach to trade.
For decades, big multinational corporations have bought and
lobbied their way into dictating America’s trade policy. Those big corporations
have gotten rich but everyone else has paid the price. We’ve lost millionsofjobs to
outsourcing, depressedwages for American
workers, accelerated climate
change, and squeezed America’s
family farmers. We’ve let China get away with the suppression of pay and labor rights, poor environmental
protections, and years of currency manipulation.
All to add some zeroes to the bottom lines of big corporations with no loyalty
or allegiance to America.
We need to completely transform our approach to trade.
America enters into trade negotiations with enormous leverage because America
is the world’s most attractive market. As President, I won’t hand
America’s leverage to big corporations to use for their own narrow purposes —
I’ll use it to create and defend good American jobs, raise wages and farm
income, combat climate change, lower drug prices, and raise living standards
worldwide.We will engage in international trade — but on our terms
and only when it benefits American families.
A New Approach to Trade
My plan is a new approach to trade — one that is different
from both the Washington insider consensus that brought us decades of bad trade
deals and from Donald Trump’s haphazard and ultimately corporate-friendly
Unlike the insiders, I don’t think “free trade” deals that
benefit big multinational corporations and international capital at the expense
of American workers are good simply because they open up markets. Trade is good
when it helps American workers and families — when it doesn’t, we need to
change our approach. And unlike Trump, while I think tariffs are an important
tool, they are not by themselves a long-term solution to our failed trade
agenda and must be part of a broader strategy that this Administration clearly
To ensure that American families benefit from international
trade in the decades to come, I want to invest in American workers and
to use our leverage to force other countries to raise the bar on everything
from labor and environmental standards to anti-corruption rules to access to
medicine to tax enforcement. If we raise the world’s standards to our level and
American workers have the chance to compete fairly, they will thrive — and
millions of people around the world will be better off too.
Achieving this vision isn’t about tough talk or tweets. We
must do the hard work of transforming every aspect of our current approach to
trade: from our negotiating process to the negotiating objectives we pursue to
the way we enforce agreements. That’s what I intend to do.
A Trade Negotiation Process that Reflects America’s
Our current approach to negotiating trade agreements works
great for the wealthy and the well-connected. The negotiating text is
kept confidential from
all but a small set of advisory groups comprised mostly of corporate
executives and industry trade group representatives. Once those corporate
interests are finished whispering in the ears of our negotiators, the completed
text is released. Then, under the expedited “Fast Track” procedure
Congress typically uses to approve trade agreements, our elected
representatives must vote up or down on the agreement with no ability to
propose and secure any changes to it. Meanwhile, the negotiators who
constructed it often breeze through the revolving door to
take jobs with the corporations whose interests underlie the deal.
This is undemocratic and obviously corrupt. In a Warren
Administration, we will negotiate and approve trade agreements through a
transparent process that offers the public a genuine chance to shape it:
Trade negotiators will publicly disclose negotiating
drafts and provide the public with an opportunity to comment. When
federal agencies write new rules, they typically must publish a proposed
version of the rule and permit the public to submit comments on it. I will
adopt a similar approach for our trade deals. Prior to negotiations, our
negotiators will publish a draft of their proposals in the Federal Register,
let the public offer comments on the draft, and take those comments into
consideration during negotiations. And then as talks proceed, they will publish
drafts of the negotiating texts so the public can monitor the negotiations.
Trade advisory committees will prioritize the views of workers and consumers. I will ensure that there are more representatives from labor, environmental, and consumer groups than from corporations and trade groups on every existing advisory committee. And I’ll expand the current list of advisory committees to create one for consumers, one for rural areas, and one for each region of the country, so that critical voices are at the table during negotiations.
The US International Trade Commission will provide a regional analysis of the economic effects of a trade agreement. Trade agreements can hollow out communities and transform regional economies. Yet the report the ITC provides before Congress considers a trade agreement only includes a nationwide analysis of a trade deal’s economic impact. I will push for the agency to provide a region-by-region analysis so the public and Members of Congress can understand how an agreement is likely to affect the places they live and represent.
The congressional approval process will offer more
opportunities for the public and elected representatives to shape trade
agreements. I will seek expedited congressional approval of trade
agreements only when every regional advisory committee and the labor, consumer,
and rural advisory committees unanimously certify that the agreement serves
their interests. I will also expand the list of congressional committees that
must review any agreement before it is eligible for expedited consideration.
Together, these changes will ensure that our negotiations
reflect the views of American families, not corporate interests.
Using Our Leverage to Demand More for American Families
and to Raise the Global Standard of Living
While a better process will produce better agreements, we
also must fundamentally shift the goals of our trade agenda so they are aligned
with the interests of America’s families.
With certain important exceptions, we live in a low-tariff
world. Modern trade agreements are less about the
mutual reduction of tariffs and more about establishing regulatory standards
for everything from worker rights to pollution to patent protections.
My approach to trade reflects that reality. For too long, we
have entered into trade deals with countries with abysmal records on labor, environmental, and human rights issues.
In exchange for concrete access to the American market, we get vague
commitments to do better, which we then hardly enforce. The
result is that millions of people in our trading-partner countries don’t gain
the benefits of higher standards — and companies can easily pad their profits
by shifting American jobs to countries where they can pay workers next to
nothing and pollute the air and water freely.
That will end under my Administration. I am establishing a set of standards countries must meet as a precondition for any trade agreement with America. And I will renegotiate any agreements we have to ensure that our existing trade partners meet those standards as well.
My preconditions are that a country must:
Recognize and enforce the core labor rights of the International Labour Organization, like collective bargaining and the elimination of child labor.
Uphold internationally recognized human rights, as reported in the Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights, including the rights of indigenous people, migrant workers, and other vulnerable groups.
Recognize and enforce religious freedom as reported in the State Department’s Country Reports.
Comply with minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
Be a party to the Paris Climate agreement and have a national plan that has been independently verified to put the country on track to reduce its emissions consistent with the long-term emissions goals in that agreement.
Eliminate all domestic fossil fuel subsidies.
Ratify the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.
Not appear on the Department of Treasury monitoring list of
countries that merit attention for their currency practices.
A country should only be considered an acceptable partner if
it meets these basic standards. Shamefully, America itself does not meet many
of these labor and environmental standards today. I am committed to fixing that
as President. And to help bring other countries up to these standards, I’ll
revitalize our commitment to providing technical assistance to help countries
I will also go beyond these minimum standards in key areas
to promote the interests of American workers and families.
Labor. I will ensure trade agreements protect
Buy American and other programs designed to develop local industry, contain
strong rule-of-origin standards to promote domestic manufacturing, protect
worker pensions, promote equal pay for equal work for women, and prohibit
violence against workers. Unlike previous trade deals agreements that
have put labor standards in side agreements that
are difficult to enforce, I will make labor standards central to any agreement.
Climate Change and the Environment. Climate
change is real, it’s man-made, and we’re running out of time to address it.
America should be leading this fight, but we have turned our backs on our
responsibilities — with communities of color in the U.S. and developing countries bearing
a disproportionate amount of the harm.
Beyond requiring implementation of the Paris Climate accord
and the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies as preconditions for any trade
agreement, I have already proposed a Green Marshall Plan to
dedicate $100 billion to helping other countries purchase and deploy
American-made clean energy technology.
But we must do more. I will push to secure a
multilateral agreement to protect domestic green policies like subsidies for
green products and preferential treatment for environmentally sustainable
energy production from WTO challenges. And because big corporations
will move their production to the countries with the weakest greenhouse gas
emissions standards — undermining global efforts to address climate change and
penalizing countries that are doing their part — I will impose a border carbon adjustment so
imported goods that these firms make using carbon-intensive processes are
charged a fee to equalize the costs borne by companies playing by the rules.
Prescription Drugs. Last year, Americans spent more
than $500 billion on
prescription drugs. That’s a 50% increase since 2010. Nearly 3 in 10Americans
report not taking their medicine as directed because of costs. And yet, one of
the core elements of America’s current trade agenda is guaranteeing
pharmaceutical firms monopoly protections so they can avoid competition from
generic drugs — driving up costs and reducing access to
necessary medicine abroad, and undermining our
efforts to reduce drug prices here at home. That’s exactly what
the Trump Administration has done as part of their failed effort to renegotiate
While medical innovation is important, there is no link between
extremely long exclusivity periods and pharmaceutical innovation. These are
giveaways to drug companies, plain and simple, which allow them to maintain
ludicrously high drug prices.
As President, I will fight to bring down the costs of
prescription drugs here and around the world. I will never use
America’s leverage to push another country to extend exclusivity periods for
prescription drugs. I will support efforts to impose price controls on
pharmaceuticals. And I will actively seek out opportunities to reduce
exclusivity periods in our existing trade deals in exchange for securing other
changes that will help America’s working families.
Agriculture. For decades, trade deals have squeezed family
farmers, with Black farmers losing their land particularly quickly.
Between the trade fights incited by Trump’s haphazard tariffs and a series
of natural disasters,
America’s farmers are now facing the worst crisis in almost 40
years. They are also facing unprecedented levels of uncertainty and
instability. Trump’s tariffs have reduced crop prices, threatened farmers
already operating on razor-thin margins, and opened up new non-American markets
against which our farmers are now forced to compete. Like trade deals of the
past, Trump’s NAFTA 2.0 is written to help giant multinational agribusinesses
at the expense of family farms, and it
will do nothing to solve the newly created market insecurity Trump’s tariffs
As President, I will fight for trade agreements that reward
American farmers for their hard work by negotiating for fair prices for goods,
breaking up the monopolies in grain
trading and meat packing, and protecting domestic markets to create stability
for America’s family farms. And I will impose Country-of-Origin Labeling rules
to protect American producers and provide transparency to consumers.
Consumer protection. We must ensure that the food we
eat is high-quality and safe. But our trade agreements have limited safety
standards and the inspection of imported foods,
while simultaneously enabling a new flood of food imports that overwhelm food
safety inspectors. In my Administration, our trade pacts will require
imported food to meet domestic food safety standards, including enhanced border
As with imported food, our current trade deals require us to
allow imports of other products and services that do not meet domestic safety
and environmental standards. My trade agreements will ensure that imported
products and services must meet the same standards as domestic products and
Antitrust. We are in an era of massive
consolidation across many sectors of the economy. One of the reasons why is
that we have a narrow, permissive approach to mergers that looks only at
economic efficiency and consumer welfare instead of assessing the impact that a
merger will have on competition itself.
In recent years, we have added this problematic
standard into trade agreements and
proposed it as the defining objective for competition policy in new and renegotiated agreements.
Under my administration, we will not propose this standard in any new
agreement, and we will work to renegotiate agreements to remove it.
Delivering for American Families with Stronger
Our approach to enforcing trade agreements drives down
standards worldwide and undermines American families. We offer big corporations
fast and powerful methods to enforce the provisions that benefit them but make
it nearly impossible for Americans to enforce labor and environmental
protections. Foreign governments only fear a challenge to strong rules that
might hurt corporate bottom lines, not to weak rules that might not adequately
protect workers, the environment, or public health.
I will entirely reorient our approach to enforcement so we drive standards up, not down. I’ll start by ending “Investor-State Dispute Settlement,” or ISDS, the favorable enforcement approach we offer corporations. Under ISDS, a company that believes that a new law violates some aspect of a trade agreement can skip the courts and challenge the law before an international panel of arbitrators. If the company wins, the panel can order that country’s taxpayers to pay out billions in damages — with no review by an actual court. What’s worse, the arbitration panels handing out these binding rulings are often made up of corporate lawyers whose day jobs are representing the very same companies that seek judgments before them.
Companies have used ISDS to undermine laws intended to benefit the public interest. A French company challenged Egypt when it increased the minimum wage. A Swedish company challenged Germany when it decided to cut back on nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster. These cases have real effects across the globe: an ISDS panel’s decision to hear a challenge that Philip Morris brought against Uruguay’s anti-smoking campaign prompted several other countries to abandon similar public health efforts.
As President, I will not include ISDS in any new
agreement and will renegotiate existing agreements to remove ISDS from them.
And I’ll strengthen our approach to enforcing labor and environmental
standards. Unlike a corporation under ISDS, a labor union seeking to enforce
labor standards can’t bring a claim on its own — it must convince the federal
government to bring a claim on its behalf. Even in the face of overwhelming
evidence, our government can refuse to act for diplomatic or other unrelated
As a result, the federal government has only pursued one such claim in
the last 25 years. In that one case, the American government, AFL-CIO, and
Guatemalan unions spent nine years trying
to challenge the Guatemalan government for violating the labor chapter of one
of our trade deals because Guatemalan workers were being murdered for trying to
join a union. In the end, we lost because the
trade agreement required a showing that the violations had affected trade.
I will replace this broken process by creating independent
commissions — made up of experts in the area — to monitor potential violations,
respond to complaints, and investigate claims. The commissions must review and
investigate claims promptly so that claims don’t languish for years. If
one of these commissions recommends that the United States bring a claim
against another country, the United States will be required to do so, without
I will also fix the problem that arose in the Guatemala case
by pushing to remove language from our deals that require us to show that a
violation of rights was “sustained or recurring” and “affecting trade or
investment.” A violation is a violation, and I won’t let another case like
Guatemala happen ever again.
I will strengthen our enforcement approach in other ways as
Under WTO rules, a country designated as a “non-market economy” can face more serious trade penalties. I will push for a new “non-sustainable economy” designation that would allow us to impose tougher penalties on countries with systematically poor labor and environmental practices. We cannot allow countries that treat their workers and the environment poorly to undercut American producers that do things the right way.
I already have a plan to move the lead American trade negotiator — the Office of the United States Trade Representative — within my new Department of Economic Development. That will ensure that America’s trade policy supports our broader economic agenda of defending and creating good American jobs. I will also create a new labor and environment enforcement division at the USTR to more effectively enforce obligations, and embed a labor attache at U.S. embassies to monitor compliance with our labor standards.
Unlike the current approach that lets our government ignore unfair trade practices, my administration will create automatic triggers to initiate investigations into unfair trade practices. If those investigations produce compelling evidence of a violation, the Department will impose trade remedies immediately until the offenders show they are no longer engaging in an unfair trade practice. These automatic triggers will also apply to violations of labor and environmental standards.
Finally, when we impose duties to support particular
domestic industries, I want to ensure that the money we collect actually goes
to American workers, instead of being sucked up by
executives and shareholders. I will fight to change our trade laws so
that we review duties every six months and lift the duties if companies can’t
demonstrate the benefits of the duties are going to their workers.
It is an amazing experience to sit in a movie theater watching the world premiere of a documentary in the small village on Long Island where it was filmed with the people it was filmed about. “This Business of Autism” is more than a profile of a social enterprise built around providing jobs for adults on the autism spectrum, it provides a manual, a template to how such businesses could be replicated and even more significantly, why they should be replicated.
The documentary leaps from Port Washington where Spectrum Designs, a social enterprise company founded in 2011 to employ adults on the autism spectrum, has just opened new, expanded offices, tripling the scale of its production (the documentary spends a considerable amount of time showing the building process and the fundraising to convert an office building into its plant). It travels to San Francisco to peek in on a Jobs Club that has focused on the need to train managers and mentors in companies that want to increase job opportunities for people with special needs, to Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania, which has created an entire program that goes beyond the work skills to the life skills that are needed for the real world, and devotes a considerable amount of time to the wisdom of Dr. Temple Grandhin, who is herself on the autism spectrum, and lays out in no uncertain terms the need to instill self-sufficiency to the extent possible as early as possible.
The opening sets out the issue with jarring statistics: 1 in 59 children in the US is born with autism. Each year, 50,000 teens with autism age out of school-based services; an estimated 70- 90% of autistic adults are unemployed, under-engaged and leaving lives of isolation; 84% of these adults live with their parents, who have the constant fear of what will happen to their children after they pass away.
Autism is a lifelong neurological disorder affecting the way a person communicates, socializes and engages with the world. Though there is no cure, behavioral therapy can transform lives, and the earlier services are provided, the better. The highest functioning individuals on the autism spectrum are employed by the likes of NASA and Silicon Valley, but the vast majority – the 60 percent in the middle – have few employment opportunities.
It is fascinating to be brought into the homes of the parents of SpectrumDesign’s employees – starting with the founders of Spectrum Designs Foundation and Nicholas Center, Stella Spanakos and Nicole Sugrue, whose sons are autistic, lived with the daily panic of how their children will be able to fare in the world. Stella, after suddenly losing her husband, resolved to take the bull by the horns. She teamed up with Nicole, whose son was at the same summer camp as Stella’s. They decided to start a business that could employ special needs adults. Nicole googled “recession-proof businesses” and came up with t-shirt printing. They brought in Patrick Bardsley, who as an 18-year old had come from England to be a counselor at the summer camp and as fate would have it, became the one-on-one for Stella’s son; as Stella tells it, he was able to bring out the joy and happiness in her son, who was non-verbal and would act out, such as she had never seen from her son.
It turns out that t-shirt printing was a fortuitous choice because the tasks can be are defined, with a beginning, middle and end, can be easily taught, and are well suited to individuals who are in that 60% range on the spectrum.
They had the advantage of building a business around this social purpose, rather than insert employees with special needs into an existing business. And we get some insights into that: the visual cues are key, like the giant chart that tells everybody their tasks for the day with words and pictures; the lists of steps at each work station; naming the various machines and areas (one is named Octopus). Also, there is a one-to-three ratio of “educators” to workers.
What else is necessary? All the back-ups and supports, starting with the Nicolas Center, which helps counsel the young people and screen them for jobs and training.
I ask about the noise and stimuli of production that might trigger bad reactions, and am told that there are quiet spaces, a break room, and the enterprise, which actually has three components (custom printing, Spectrum Bakes which makes snacks custom packaged for gifts, and Spectrum Suds, a boutique laundry service), has quiet areas and activities. People are not employed in the print production area if they cannot deal with the noise and activity.
Training is a huge component. Workers are not slotted into a single repetitive task as on an assembly line (the image of Charlie Chaplin’s “City Lights” comes to mind), but rather undertake various parts of the process, indeed, every day there are different projects and jobs to undertake necessitating training for different tasks.
And that is a key issue: as Nicole noted, this is a business, albeit one that is based on social enterprise. Clients (who have included Northwell Health, KPMG, Google, Facebook, Accenture, NYU Langone Health and Mount Sinai) do not hire Spectrum Designs for their customized printing solely out of altruism but to get a quality product back. This isn’t an enterprise for a shop class in a high school, though certainly, high schools should undertake more of the skills training that people will likely need as adults. Indeed, the business has been growing at a rate of 80% a year, and from $100,000.in sales in 2012, to a projected $1.1 million in 2016, and targeting $3 million by 2020, in their expanded (tripled) space.
On the other hand, as the film demonstrates, the Spectrum Designs experience is replicable – I can even see them franchising in the way Sir Speedy does, since they have all the elements down: the machinery needed, equipment and product costs, construction costs and issues of building architecture that are pertinent, the revenue projections, and most significantly, the hiring, training, counseling aspects.
But while this not-for-profit has developed a sustainable business model, it also requires the support of community – that is the village of Port Washington, the Town of North Hempstead, and the state. The funding to build the business – purchase the machinery and the building- had to come from somewhere; the funding to counsel and train comes from somewhere.
Indeed, as the film also points out, the return on investment in developing self-sufficient individuals for society, the community and government is enormous, compared to government spending that goes merely to warehouse individuals.
The cost of autism across a lifetime averages $1.4 million to $2.4 million. These costs, which increase with intellectual disability, place a tremendous burden on families and society, but can be dramatically reduced with high-quality interventions and adult transition support.
Jack Martins, the former State Senator (a Republican) remarks in the film, “This is an appropriate role for government.”
And the genuine feeling of self-worth, of accomplishment in bringing home a paycheck is, well, priceless. There is a lot to be said for quality of life and not merely existing.
The interviews with the parents make clear how they struggled: they consider their children “the first generation”, when autism was just beginning to be diagnosed,and too many were diagnosed late or had to fight to get appropriate services (40 states now mandate now require health coverage for behavioral health treatment). As one parent notes, it is vital to receive appropriate services as young as possible because it makes a huge difference in the child’s development.
Now we are in the second generation, when the autism spectrum is better understood and the diagnosis more readily made – in fact, the prevalence of the diagnosis has doubled in a decade – it is a huge percentage of the population, touching so many families, so much so that people on the spectrum should be appreciated as having different abilities, rather than disabilities.
And that’s the goal for the “third generation”: that people can be appreciated for their differences and abilities, with appropriate academic and life skills preparation in schools, job training and opportunities, and adult home living arrangements that give some independence.
The documentary, “This Business Of Autism” addresses the positive impacts of developing profitable businesses while leveraging the unique capabilities of adults with autism. By confronting head-on the reality that an estimated 70% to 90% of these adults are unemployed or underemployed, these businesses can also provide avenues for corporate social outreach, mitigate the economic impacts on communities, and provide hope for families that their children might have sustainable, relevant and stimulating employment opportunities.
The film serves as a tutorial, a business manual, and even more importantly, raises awareness and overturns misconceptions. It sensitizes corporations, employers, communities about what they can do, what they need to do, to help.
“We wanted to show the capabilities of the middle 60% – not the top or the bottom 20% – but the middle 60% who are hard working, dedicated, loyal,” said Stephen Mackey, the film’s director, at the world premiere of the film, presented as part of the Gold Coast Arts Center’s Cinema Series, at the Soundview Cinemas, mere blocks away from Spectrum Designs new building on Main Street in Port Washington.
The documentary is available on Vimeo on Demand and on Amazon, and will be available on itunes and Googleplay.The producer is also taking orders for blueray, dvd and educational packages. “We believe that there are universities and vocational schools that will see what Spectrum Designs is doing. Half of the proceeds are being returned to the Spectrum Foundation.
Spectrum Designs Foundation has a sophisticated website, where customers can send in their order for custom apparent, promotional items, screen printing, digital printing and embroidery. Design your own or utilize their in-house graphic design team. (Spectrum Designs, 366 Main Street, Port Washington NY 11050, email@example.com, www.spectrumdesigns.org)
Obama Administration initiatives like TechHire have contributed to the record job creation and are in strong contrast to the feeble “score” Donald Trump is touting in retaining 800 jobs at Carrier Air Conditioners by throwing $7 million in tax incentives, paid for by Indiana citizens. It should have been a model to be continued and expanded. In contrast to Trump’s corporate welfare approach – which will be manifest in massive corporate tax cuts which will have to be paid for by working people – job-training programs like Obama’s would have helped those who are being displaced by advanced manufacturing technologies and the transition to clean, renewable energy enterprises, capturing more of the 5.5 million jobs that employers are having difficulty filling. Here’s yet another Fact Sheet of what America will lose with the incoming Administration. – Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features
FACT SHEET: Progress and Momentum in Support of TechHire Initiative
In March 2015, the President launched the TechHire initiative based on a simple idea: Building a pipeline of tech talent can bring new jobs to local economies, facilitate business growth, and give local residents a pathway into the middle class. To build such a pipeline, TechHire addresses employers’ great need for technology talent with emerging models for quickly training people with limited ingoing technology skills to be job-ready in months, not years.
Today, there are nearly 600,000 open IT jobs across all sectors—more than two-thirds of which are in fields outside the tech sector, such as manufacturing, financial services and healthcare. These jobs pay one and a half times more than the average private-sector job, and training takes less than a year with emerging programs like “coding bootcamps,” free open data trainings, and online courses like the Department of Commerce’s Data Usability Project and massive open online courses (MOOCs) by the Federal government, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and the private sector.
Since its launch, TechHire communities across the country have piloted fast-track training programs designed to give people skills that are in high demand by employers. So far over 4,000 people have been trained and connected to work opportunities with local employers, earning average salaries of well over median income. Today, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith announced how private organizations will seize on this progress with new steps to meet the scale of the opportunity.
Expansion of TechHire to over 70 Cities, States, and Rural Areas. Earlier this spring, we announced that communities had exceeded the President’s goal of doubling the size of the TechHire initiative, reaching a total of 50 communities. Yet even after we made the announcement, new communities continued expressing interest to participate—so today, we are announcing 20 new communities joining the TechHire initiative, working with about 500 employers (and counting). As of today, communities in 39 states, plus DC and Puerto Rico, have joined TechHire.
Growth of the TechHire Action Network. Today, we are announcing a partnership between Opportunity@Work, an independent social enterprise, and the U.S. Department of Education to take the lead in continuing to support, organize and grow the more than 70 cities, states, and rural areas participating in the TechHire initiative.
TechUP’s Include.io 27-City Roadshow 2017. TechUP | WeTechUP.com is launching the Include.io 2017 Roadshow across 27 cities in the United States to ignite 100,000 diverse and non-traditional tech talent and help 1,000 companies build their best teams.
The Challenge and Opportunity
People Need Opportunities to Retool and Retrain for Good Jobs More than Ever
Over the past decade, towns across America have experienced shifts in prevalent industries and jobs due to rapidly evolving technologies and other factors. These changes have too often made workers’ skills less relevant, impacting their employment options and, in some cases, leading to spells of unemployment that make it difficult for families to meet even their most basic of needs.
When workers lose their jobs or get stuck in lower-wage jobs because of local economic shifts due to no fault of their own, they should have clear pathways to the middle class. Technology jobs can offer this pathway. Nearly 40 percent of these jobs do not require a four-year degree. In recent years, there has been a proliferation of fast-track tech training programs like “coding bootcamps” that prepare people with little technical know-how for tech jobs, often in just a few months. A recent survey from Course Report found that bootcamp graduates saw salary gains of 38 percent (or about $18,000 annually) after completing their programs.
The U.S. is Massively Underinvesting in Training for Jobs in Technology and Other In-Demand Fields to Meet Employers’ Needs
In the face of a large and growing need of companies and workers to retool and retrain, the U.S. is massively underinvesting in job training programs. The federal government’s largest job training investment program only trains about 180,000 U.S. workers per year. America spends 0.03 percent of GDP on training while other countries are investing nearly 20 times more. And in spite of the evidence that apprenticeships are one of the most effective training tools, fewer than five percent of workers in the U.S. train as apprentices, relative to 60 percent in Germany.
In early 2010, there were 14.4 million unemployed Americans. Current funding levels would only allocate $212 per person for training and reemployment services, an insufficient amount compared to a $1,700 average semester cost for a community college. During times of high unemployment in 2009, many states reported training waiting lists of thousands of people long due to funding gaps.
Training workers in the US for 21st-century jobs will require a significant increase in investment from current levels, which are far below Germany and other European countries. This investment would benefit our businesses, our workers, and our economy by focusing on technology and other in-demand skills that are critical to fill existing jobs and attract and create new jobs in communities.
Expansion of TechHire to over 70 Cities, States, and Rural Areaswith 20 New Communities Signing on Today
The TechHire initiative began in March 2015 with 21 communities, and today it has grown to over 70 communities working with 1,500 employers on three key actions:
Opening up recruiting and hiring pathways for people without traditional credentials who can demonstrate that they have the skills to succeed in a tech job regardless of where those skills were attained.
Recruiting, incubating, and expanding accelerated tech learning programs – such as high quality coding bootcamps and innovative online training – which enable interested, unexperienced students to rapidly gain tech skills.
Connecting people to jobs by investing in and working with organizations that can vouch for those who have the skills to do the job, but who may lack the typical profile of education and experience.
20 New TechHire Communities Announced Today
Today, the following 20 communities are joining the TechHire initiative:
Alachua and Bradford
Arizona (State of)
Carroll County, MD
El Paso County, TX
Howard County, MD
Oklahoma City, OK
Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico
Tampa Bay, FL
Trenton City, NJ
A detailed summary of each community can be found at the end of this document.
Growth of TechHire Action Network
Opportunity@Work, an independent social enterprise, will partner with the U.S. Department of Education and others to continue to support TechHire communities to implement, grow, amplify, and sustain their TechHire initiatives locally and across the country and organize the Action Network. Key goals of TechHire and the Action Network include:
(1) Connecting employers to nontraditional, often overlooked, and more diverse tech talent and lifting up best practices from model companies.
(2) Aggregating resources and partnerships to help underrepresented groups access and progress on tech career pathways.
(3) Recruiting new TechHire communities and partners across sectors to support TechHire and advance the goal to expand access to fast-track tech training for underrepresented groups.
(4) Developing and collecting tools and resources on TechHire.org to support job seekers, employers, educators, and community partners.
(5) Working with communities to identify and leverage federal, state, local, and philanthropic funding more effectively to support TechHire activities and accelerated tech training.
(6) Expanding the learning network of TechHire leaders across the country, convenenational and regional events to promote collaboration among TechHire hubs, share best practices, and troubleshoot common challenges.
(7) For more details, visit the TechHire.org page.
TechUP’s Include.io 27-City Roadshow 2017
The TechUP + Include.io roadshow will bring together TechHire partners, technologists, recruiting leaders, and local community innovators to showcase the depth and breadth of incredible, diverse tech talent across the Unites States. Each city event features tech demos, workshops, and a career fair to highlight the next generation of technologists, thought leaders, and scale human connections. Their goal will be to spark local tech ecosystems, build momentum around inclusion, fill open tech jobs and change the face of technology.
Summary Descriptions of the 20 Communities Joining TechHire Today
We are pleased that communities continue to spread the TechHire initiative across the country, and today we announce an additional 20 communities who have developed cross-sector coalitions to train workers with the tech skills they need for the open tech jobs that local employers are seeking to fill. A summary of each of the communities is below:
Alachua and Bradford Counties, FL
In Alachua and Bradford counties, Santa Fe College in Gainesville, FL, CareerSource of North Central Florida (CSNCFL), the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, and the North Florida Regional Chamber of Commerce will collaborate with Gainesville Dev Academy and others to train and place at least 300 individuals into programming and app development jobs by 2020. This program will help serve local tech jobs across all sectors, including local tech companies like Immersed Games, MindTree, Onward Development, NextGen, and Verigo.
Led by the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, the Anchorage Mayor’s Office will work with Anchorage Community Land Trust, Code for Anchorage, Future Coders of Alaska, Lynda.com, Coursera, and other programs to train and place over 500 workers into tech jobs by 2020. Once trained, program graduates will fill the needs of local employers including GCI, Municipality of Anchorage, Resource Data. Inc, and PangoMedia, as well as help retain Anchorage’s top talent. To help connect graduates to jobs, the Alaska Department of Labor aims to revamp the interface for the state job-seeker platform.
Arizona (State of)
The State of Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity will leverage a “No Wrong Door” approach to recruit disconnected youth and nontraditional candidates into tech training and jobs across industries from aerospace & defense to financial services. The Arizona Tech Council, Arizona’s premier trade association for science and tech companies, will help leverage the resources of the tech community to focus on expanding tech talent, along with the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and other local organizations. In partnership with the University of Arizona and other local training providers, TechHire Arizona aims to train and place over 100 individuals across southern Arizona and Maricopa County over the next year, which is slated to increase to well over 500 individuals across Arizona by 2020.
TechHire Bellevue will bring together local employers, government and workforce development resources, with educational support from Coding Dojo and Bellevue College to facilitate training and hiring of local talent into tech jobs. The TechHire effort aligns with local employers’ missions to increase workforce diversity. Examples include Microsoft’s LEAP and Civic Tech programs, as well as Expedia, which has hired nearly a dozen Coding Dojo graduates to date. TechHire Bellevue will specifically target under-served populations locally, including minorities, veterans and the homeless, to help them learn and connect with local tech jobs.
A regional consortium of Boston employers and training providers are blazing the path to IT jobs, led by the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC), the City’s workforce development board, and SkillWorks, a regional funders’ collaborative. Companies from a range of sectors—including healthcare, education, government, technology, and finance—will support the initiative. TechHire Boston plans to more than double the number of high school Tech Apprentices from 100 to 250 and increase the number of individuals connected to IT-related jobs to 500 by 2020.
Carroll County, MD
Carroll County employers, training providers, and community organizations are uniting to train and employ more than 200 local tech workers by 2020. Led by Carroll Community College, the Carroll Technology Council and the Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory, Inc. (MAGIC), a broad group of partnering organizations will connect local participants in leading-edge tech training programs to a network of over 520 county employers.
CareerSource Central Florida is developing a coalition across sectors to train and place 100 people within the year and 400 people by 2020 into tech jobs, with an emphasis on serving underemployed, minority, and female candidates. The University of Central Florida, Valencia College, and Florida Institute of Technology will each play a role in developing trainings for students to quickly learn tech skills. Businesses from across Florida that participate in the Florida High Tech Corridor Council will support the initiative with an array of commitments, including commitments to consult on course design, interview candidates, and provide on-the-job learning opportunities.
El Paso County, TX
Emerging companies in El Paso County will soon have an influx of talent, thanks to collaboration among the Workforce Solutions Borderplex Development Board Area and local partners to lead Reboot El Paso, a collective effort to create and expand IT career pathways. The initiative aims to train and place 400 individuals into tech jobs by 2020. First, the coalition will build awareness among non-traditional candidates, with an emphasis on veterans, the long-term unemployed, and youth. Then, the coalition commits to develop a pipeline to jobs with employer partners and assess applicants for fit to the jobs with competencies rather than credentials. Finally, the coalition will connect graduates to jobs.
Howard County, MD
Howard Community College and the Howard Tech Council (HTC) will come together to train individuals for jobs in tech fields including computer science, information technology, cybersecurity, and computer forensics. Howard County’s TechHire initiative will leverage an apprenticeship model, whereby trainees can participate in on-the-job learning with the over 200 regional employers that participate in Howard Tech Council. By 2020, the Howard County TechHire initiative aims to train and place 800 individuals, with an emphasis on the long-term unemployed, minorities, and the military.
The City of Mobile, Alabama will partner with the Gulf Coast Technology Council and 17 employers to develop industry-driven training, including customized capacity building for incumbent workers, a coding bootcamp pilot, and advanced manufacturing technical trainings for entry-level job seekers. The trainings will be facilitated by Depot/U, Iron Yard, and General Assembly. This program will include opportunities for trainees to network with local employers seeking talent, including Accureg Software, AM/NS Calvert, Rural Sourcing Inc., and The Red Square Agency. By 2020, the collaborative aims to train and hire 500 technical workers, including those who are underemployed and dislocated, boosting Mobile’s burgeoning tech community.
Oklahoma City, OK
StarSpace46, Inc., Creative Oklahoma, and Techlahoma Foundation will work with fast-track and agile training programs to train and place 500 IT workers by 2020. With commitments from employers spanning from the aerospace sector to the not-for-profit sector, trainees will gain and utilize skills in native mobile development, user interface design, and front-end and application development. Students will also gain access to mentorship in entrepreneurship and business.
Omaha is bringing together AIM and the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, including traditional and start-up employers alike, in their effort to develop a local tech training and employment ecosystem. Local training bootcamps have committed to help train over 1,000 people by 2020, to help fill local tech jobs in industries from financial services to tech.
Pensacola State College will collaborate with employer convener Innovation Coast, Inc., including community workforce partners Global Business Solutions, Inc. (GBSI), Technical Software Services, Inc. (TECHSOFT), Gulf Power Company, AppRiver, and the Institute of Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC), to train and place 200 technology workers by 2020. With a focus on veterans, minorities, and economically disadvantaged individuals in the Pensacola area, students can gain skills across IT fields, including cybersecurity, coding, and networking. In addition to training, this initiative includes opportunities to make connections with potential employers and reduce unemployment.
Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico
NMTechWorks is a community coalition in Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico with support from the Mayor’s Office, local employers, and non-profits. This multi-sector effort is designed to map, expand, and link pathways to tech careers, especially for rural, Native American, and Spanish-speaking community members. The Community Learning Network and StartUp Santa Fe are teaming with Cultivating Coders, a locally-based accelerated training provider, and others to grow the IT pipeline and train more than 500 students by 2020 for high-demand tech jobs with employers such as the Los Alamos National Laboratory, OpenEye Scientific Software, and Descartes Labs.
Tampa Bay, FL
CareerSource Tampa Bay, Hillsborough County’s workforce development board, will fast-track critical IT training and employment opportunities for well over 1,000 local out-of-school youth and young adults through 2020. Employers across industries, such as BayCare Health Systems and Cognizant Technology Solutions, are partnering with the initiative in order to advance the economic health and technology industry of the community.
Trenton City, NJ
The Trenton TechHire initiative is a cross-sector partnership between employers, City of Trenton’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, and Agile Strategies group, local education institutions, and local nonprofit organizations. This collaboration will prepare over 150 residents for tech jobs across sectors by 2020. Partners such as FCC Consulting Services, Tektite Industries, Inc., New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, and Power Magnetics, Inc. will meet regularly with Shiloh Community Development Corporation and the City of Trenton to strengthen and sustain the initiative.
In Tulsa, 36 Degrees North, Techlahoma and a network of workforce and education partners will collaborate to quickly train candidates for tech jobs with local employers including ConsumerAffairs and Mozilla. With strong support from the Mayor’s Office, Tulsa TechHire plans to train and place 600 candidates, including women and youth, into tech jobs across sectors by 2020.
In Puerto Rico, co-working space Piloto 151 and Codetrotters Academy have launched a strong public-private partnership with support from the Puerto Rico IT Cluster, the Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development (DDEC) and the Puerto Rico Science & Technology Research Trust. The Puerto Rico TechHire initiative will bring together a wide range of local technology companies and startups, including Rock Solid Technologies, Spotery, Migo IQ, and Wovenware, among others, in order to train and place 100 workers into tech jobs over the next year, ramping up to 300 workers by 2020.
Tech Toledo, the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, and OhioMeansJobs Lucas County are initiating an information technology workforce alliance to address short-term needs and develop longer-term programs for IT internships and apprenticeship programs. Tech Toledo will work with employers such as Meyer Hill Lynch, Toledo Lucas County Public Library, and The Andersons, Inc., to find and develop training to help fill their in-demand IT job needs. Tech Toledo will place at least 100 workers into tech jobs by 2020.
The City of Stamford and the Connecticut Department of Labor are working with Crashcode and The Business Council of Fairfield County to train and place 1,000 new workers into tech jobs by 2020 via an accelerated training program. Regional tech companies including Datto, CometaWorks, Comradity, GoNation, CTFN, and others will support with training design and hiring opportunities for graduates.
With Donald Trump continuing to rewrite history, advance falsehoods about Obama’s Presidency, it is important to examine the Employment report for November. Trumpsters depend upon disaffection and dissatisfaction. A strong economy is the antithesis. Also, Trump wants to take credit as the forward momentum of Obama’s policies continue on into the new administration, before the administration’s policies, undoing everything Obama accomplished, have their impact.
Trump was able to exploit years of propaganda from the Republicans aimed at destroying his presidency. Obama found a way to thread the needle in coming up with solutions, despite unprecedented obstruction of infrastructure spending, the America Jobs Act, spending for transportation and highways, defeating his plans to build high-speed rail and invest in clean, renewable energy.
Obama was almost a victim of his own success – like President Bill Clinton before him, who presided over a golden era of peace and prosperity, when everyone’s income and standard of living rose, only to see Al Gore denied the presidency – people take for granted how much better they are off from when Obama took office, when 850,000 jobs a month were being lost, 20,000 people a month were losing their health care, millions were losing their homes to foreclosure.
Obama also had in place programs to help the people who found themselves unable to pursue the 5.5 million unfilled jobs because of lack of training. He had programs to boost advanced manufacture, and open up markets to the 95% of the world that is outside the US.
Trump is profiting from being handed a growing economy, and he has signaled he will install the very same people who profited from millions of Americans misery, he will undo the financial and consumer protections, he will throw people back into the insecurity of losing health insurance and jobs and homes. He has shown in his appointments and in his business record that he will exploit workers and further weaken unions.
Statement on the Employment Situation in November
WASHINGTON, DC – Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the employment situation in November.
Summary: The economy added 178,000 jobs in November, extending the longest streak of total job growth on record, as the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent.
The economy added a solid 178,000 jobs in November as the longest streak of total job growth on record continued. U.S. businesses have now added 15.6 million jobs since early 2010. The unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent in November, its lowest level since August 2007, and the broadest measure of underemployment fell for the second month in a row. Average hourly earnings for private employees have increased at an annual rate of 2.7 percent so far in 2016, faster than the pace of inflation. Nevertheless, more work remains to ensure that the benefits of the recovery are broadly shared, including opening new markets to U.S. exports; taking steps to spur competition to benefit consumers, workers, and entrepreneurs; and raising the minimum wage.
FIVE KEY POINTS ON THE LABOR MARKET IN NOVEMBER 2016
1. U.S. businesses have now added 15.6 million jobs since private-sector job growth turned positive in early 2010. Today, we learned that private employment rose by 156,000 jobs in November. Total nonfarm employment rose by 178,000 jobs, in line with the monthly average for 2016 so far and substantially higher than the pace of about 80,000 jobs per month that CEA estimates is necessary to maintain a low and stable unemployment rate given the impact of demographic trends on labor force participation.
In November, the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent, its lowest level since August 2007. The labor force participation rate ticked down, though it is largely unchanged over the last three years (see point 3 below). The U-6 rate, the broadest official measure of labor underutilization fell 0.2 percentage point for the second month in a row in part due to a reduction in the number of employees working part-time for economic reasons. (The U-6 rate is the only official measure of underutilization that has not already fallen below its pre-recession average.) So far in 2016, nominal hourly earnings for private-sector workers have increased at an annual rate of 2.7 percent, faster than the pace of inflation (1.6 percent as of October, the most recent data available).
2. New CEA analysis finds that State minimum wage increases since 2013 contributed to substantial wage increases for workers in low-wage jobs, with no discernible impact on employment. In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to raise the Federal minimum wage, which has remained at $7.25 an hour since 2009. Even as Congress has failed to act, 18 States and the District of Columbia—along with dozens of local government jurisdictions—have answered the President’s call to action and have raised their minimum wages. (In addition to the States that have already raised their minimum wages, voters in four States approved measures to raise the minimum wage in November.) To assess the impact of minimum wage increases implemented by States in recent years, CEA analyzed data from the payroll survey for workers in the leisure and hospitality industry—a group who tend to earn lower wages than those in other major industry groups and thus are most likely to be affected by changes in the minimum wage. As the chart below shows, hourly earnings grew substantially faster for leisure and hospitality workers in States that raised their minimum wages than in States that did not. By comparing trends in wage growth for the two groups, CEA estimates that increases in the minimum wage led to an increase of roughly 6.6 percent in average wages for these workers. At the same time—consistent with a large body of economic research that has tended to find little or no impact of past minimum wage increases on employment—leisure and hospitality employment followed virtually identical trends in States that did and did not raise their minimum wage since 2013. (See here for more details on CEA’s analysis.)
3. The strengthening labor market is drawing individuals into the labor force, offsetting downward pressure on employment growth from the aging of the population. Employment growth depends on three factors: population growth, the rate at which the population participates in the labor force, and the share of the labor force that is employed. The chart below decomposes employment growth (from the household survey) into contributions from each of these factors for each year of the current recovery. It further decomposes labor force participation into shifts attributable to demographics (such as the aging of the U.S. population) and shifts attributable to other factors (such as the business cycle). Throughout the recovery, demographic changes in labor force participation—primarily driven by a large increase in retirement by baby boomers that began in 2008—have consistently weighed on employment growth. In recent years, however, non-demographic changes in labor force participation have supported employment growth, as the strengthening of the labor market and increasing real wages have drawn more individuals into the labor force. The entry (or reentry) of workers into the labor force has helped employment growth maintain its recent solid pace even as the unemployment rate has fallen more slowly. These two shifts in labor force participation—demographic and non-demographic—have largely offset one another in recent months, and as a result the overall labor force participation rate has remained broadly stable since the end of 2013.
4. The number of unemployed workers per job opening, an indicator of labor market slack, is near its lowest level prior to the recession. Using data from the household survey and the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, the chart below plots the ratio of unemployed workers to total job openings. In the recession, unemployment rose rapidly while job openings plummeted, sending the ratio of unemployed workers to job openings to a record peak of 6.6 in July 2009. As the unemployment rate has decreased over the course of the recovery, and as job openings have climbed to record highs this year, the ratio of unemployed workers to openings has fallen steeply, standing at 1.4 as of September (the most recent data available for openings). This is close to the ratio’s lowest level in the 2000s expansion, another indicator—in addition to recent increases in real wages—of a strengthening labor market.
5. The distribution of job growth across industries in November diverged from the pattern over the past year. Above-average gains relative to the past year were seen in professional and business services (+49,000, excluding temporary help services), while mining and logging (which includes oil extraction) posted a gain (+2,000) for the second time in recent months amid moderation in oil prices. On the other hand, retail trade (-8,000), information services (-10,000), and financial activities (+6,000) all saw weaker-than-average growth. Slow global growth has continued to weigh on the manufacturing sector, which is more export-oriented than other industries and which posted a loss of 4,000 jobs in November. Across the 17 industries shown below, the correlation between the most recent one-month percent change and the average percent change over the last twelve months was -0.06, the lowest level since September 2012.
As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and payroll employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data as they become available.
“[I]t has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things—some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor—who have carried us up the long rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.” – President Obama, Inaugural Address, January 21, 2009
In these waning days of Obama’s historic presidency, before the incoming Trump Administration can undo and erase his legacy, it is important to be reminded of his accomplishments:
America’s entrepreneurial economy is the envy of the world. Young companies account for almost 30 percent of new jobs, and as we have fought back from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, startups have helped the U.S. private sector create 15.5 million jobs since early 2010—the longest streak of private-sector job creation on record.
Today, in celebration of National Entrepreneurship Month, the Administration is releasing a Top 10 list of President Obama’s most significant specific actions to promote American entrepreneurship, as well as announcing new efforts to build on these successes. The President’s unprecedented focus on the role of startups in the United States’ innovation economy is exemplified by his launch of Startup America in 2011, a White House initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the Nation.
Thanks to the grit, determination, and creativity of entrepreneurs all across the country, American startup activity is rebounding and growing more inclusive of historically underrepresented groups and regions. Studies indicate that:
Reversing a downward cycle that began during the Great Recession, U.S. startup activity ascended last year, representing the largest year-over-year increase in the last two decades, while measures of startup revenue and employment growth have rebounded across industries as well.
New companies created 889,000 jobs in the final quarter of 2015—the highest job creation number since 2008.
Rates of entrepreneurship have increased for Latinos, African Americans, and immigrants between 1996 and 2015.
Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms is estimated to have grown at a rate five times the national average, including a more than doubling of the number of firms owned by African American women and Latinas.
American startups are not only rebounding, they are taking root in more communities all across the country—for example, the share of U.S. metro areas that attracted early stage venture capital has increased by around 50 percent since 2009.
The number of U.S. startup accelerator programs increased from fewer than 30 in 2009 to over 170 in 2015, providing mentorship and early funding to thousands of startups across 35 states plus D.C. and 54 metro areas.
Access to capital for high-growth entrepreneurs has improved significantly since 2009, with venture capital investment up an estimated 200 percent, far exceeding its pre-recession peak, and angel investment up 40 percent, approaching its pre-recession peak.
Compared with 137 countries, the United States continues to top the rankings in the Global Entrepreneurship Index, with the world’s most favorable conditions for entrepreneurs to start and scale new companies.
Breaking down barriers for all entrepreneurs is not the task of just one Administration. For example, studies suggest that the share of venture-funded startups with women founders has nearly doubled in 5 years—but it is still only 18 percent. Continuing to reverse America’s 40-year decline in startup activity will require building on the President’s record of addressing income inequality, promoting competitive markets, reducing unduly restrictive occupational licensing, and scaling up rapid training for 21st century technology skills.
In addition to releasing today’s Top 10 list of President Obama’s specific actions to promote entrepreneurship, the Administration is also announcing new private-sector actions to promote inclusive entrepreneurship.
New Actions by Organizations Answering the President’s Call to Action
Engineering deans from over 200 universities are committing to building a more-representative student talent pipeline. At the first-ever White House Demo Day in 2015, 102 engineering deans pledged to develop concrete diversity plans for their programs to tap into diverse talent. Since then, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) has worked with its members to share best practices and to promote the inclusivity in engineering schools of all students regardless of visible or invisible differences. ASEE is creating a platform to disseminate best practices among participating engineering schools that will help them implement the diversity initiative. Today, at 206, the number of engineering deans that have signed the pledge has more than doubled since 2015. ASEE will continue promoting and enhancing diversity and inclusion through all its participating members. Read letter HERE.
79 companies have now joined the Tech Inclusion Pledge. At the Global Entrepreneurship Summit this past summer, President Obama announced a commitment by senior leadership from 33 companies of all sizes to fuel American innovation and economic growth by increasing the diversity of their technology workforce. Today, 46 additional companies, including Xerox, TaskRabbit, and Techstars, are joining this Tech Inclusion Pledge, committing to take concrete action to make the technology workforce at each of their companies representative of the American people as soon as possible. To facilitate additional pledge commitments and help companies meet those commitments, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and CODE2040 commit to maintain a website with free research-based implementation resources. Read letter HERE.
Early-stage investors are making a new commitment to promote inclusive entrepreneurship. Today, more than 30 investment firms, angel investor groups, and startup accelerators with over $800 million under management have committed to achieving greater transparency in their funding criteria and to actively mentoring entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds, in an effort to increase the diversity of startup founders in their portfolios. For example, MassMutual Foundation and Valley Venture Mentors are partnering to create a scalable model for rural startup accelerators, while Pipeline Angels is bringing its training programs for underrepresented investors to 20 additional cities. Read letter HERE.
The President’s Top 10 Actions to Accelerate American Entrepreneurship
Signed permanent tax incentives for startup investment. The President signed into law 18 tax breaks for small businesses in his first term, including tax credits for those who hire unemployed workers and veterans. In addition, in December 2015, Congress responded to the President’s call to make two critical tax incentivespermanent for the first time:
Made the Research and Experimentation (R&E) tax credit available to startups. In addition to making the R&E tax credit permanent for the first time since its enactment in the early 1980s, Congress also expanded the credit to allow pre-revenue startups and small businesses to take advantage of the credit by counting it against up to $250,000 in payroll expenses for up to 5 years.
Permanently eliminated capital gains tax on certain small business stock. First enacted on a temporary basis in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and now permanent, this measure eliminates capital gains realized on the sale of certain small business stock held for more than 5 years, providing a major incentive for private-sector investment in high-growth entrepreneurial firms that fuel economic growth.
Accelerated the transition of research discoveries from lab to market.The Federal government invests over $140 billion each year on Federally-funded research and development (R&D) conducted at universities, Federal laboratories, and companies. The President issued a memorandum to agencies to accelerate the commercialization of Federal R&D, and made these Lab-to-Market efforts a core part of his management agenda.
Scaled up I-Corps, a rigorous entrepreneurship training program for scientists and engineers. The Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, first launched in 2011 by the National Science Foundation (NSF), provides entrepreneurship training for Federally funded scientists and engineers, pairing them with business mentors for an intensive curriculum focused on discovering a truly demand-driven path from their lab work to a marketable product. Over the past 5 years, more than 800 researcher teams have completed this I-Corps training, from 192 universities in 44 states, resulting in the creation of over 320 companies that have collectively raised more than $93 million in follow-on funding. The I-Corps model has been adopted in 11 additional Federal agency partnerships, including an expansion to 17Institutes and Centers at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is implemented through a National Innovation Network across more than 70 universities. Additionally, the Department of Defense’s MD5 National Security Technology Accelerator is helping provide students with the training to apply a similar lean startup methodology to real-world national-security problems, soon expanding to eight institutions of higher education this spring, and including new challenges in diplomacy, urban resilience, and energy.
Facilitated personnel exchanges between Federal labs, academia, and industry. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published a final rule on “Technology Innovation-Personnel Exchanges,” allowing Federal agencies to more easily exchange personnel with universities, non-profits, and the private sector to advance R&D commercialization.
Increased access to Federally-funded research facilities and intellectual property for entrepreneurs and innovators. Funded by NIST, the Federal Laboratory Consortium launched online tools for finding specific information and open data on more than 300 Federal laboratories with 2,500 user facilities and specialized equipment, as well as over 20,000 technologies available for licensing.
Strengthened Federal R&D funding for startups and small businesses. For the first time in a decade, in 2011 the President signed a long-term reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which annually provide over $2.5 billion in Federal R&D funding to technology startups and small businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and 11 participating Federal agencies have expanded access to SBIR/STTR opportunities, including by building theSBIR.gov platform and initiating a road tour that has engaged historically underrepresented communities across the country.
Cut red tape for entrepreneurs.The Administration’s Startup in a Day initiative is cutting red tape to make it easier for more entrepreneurs to get started and grow their businesses. Over 100 cities, home to nearly 38 million Americans, have taken a public pledge to streamline their business startup processes, allowing entrepreneurs to navigate requirements in as little as 24 hours. To support these streamlining efforts, the SBA sponsored a prize competition won by 28 cities and communities; examples include the City of Los Angeles and the City of Long Beach, which both created online business portals that are open-source and can be shared with cities and communities across the country. Additionally, over 52,000 small business borrowers have connected to lenders under a new SBA online matchmaking tool called LINC, while SBA One is taking SBA’s lending process entirely online, which will save hours of time and thousands of dollars per loan for entrepreneurs.
Expanded regional entrepreneurship opportunities. High-growth entrepreneurship is taking root in more and more communities across the country, in part thanks to targeted investments by this Administration.
Seeded startup accelerators in diverse communities. The SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition serves entrepreneurs in a broad set of industries and sectors—from manufacturing and tech start-ups, to farming and biotech—with many focused on creating a diverse and inclusive small business community. From 2014 to now, SBA has funded over 200 startup accelerator programs in every corner of the country, serving well over 5,000 startups that have collectively employed over 20,000 people and raised over 1.5 billion in capital.
Pioneered a regional innovation strategy. SBA’s investments in 62 Regional Innovation Clusters have helped participating small businesses achieve an average employment growth rate of more than five times faster than regional benchmarks, and more than $650 million in Federal contract opportunities.
Incentivized regional partners to work together on tech entrepreneurship. Through its Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program and the i6 Challenge, the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded $59 million in capacity-building grants that help entrepreneurs in diverse regions of the country move ideas to market, supporting the creation and expansion of research-commercialization centers and early-stage seed-capital funds. Earlier this month, EDA announced nearly $15 million in Federal funding plus $18 million in matching funds, reaching urban and rural areas in 19 states, including the first RIS investments that support historically black colleges and universities: a direct investment in Clark Atlanta University’s agriculture and food technology commercialization program; and an investment in a program to increase access to early-stage capital in southeast Louisiana, in which Southern University is a partner. Among the 35 organizations receiving EDA support are a female-focused early-stage capital fund in Texas, a Native American-focused proof-of-concept program in Oklahoma, and urban innovation hubs focused on fashion technology in Brooklyn and on social innovation in New Orleans.
Directly boosted entrepreneurs’ access to capital. With only three states attracting the majority of venture capital, the Administration has focused on incentivizing investment in startup communities across the country.
Catalyzed investments of $8.4 billion through theState Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). The SSBCI was created through the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which provided $1.5 billion to strengthen state programs that support lending to small businesses and small manufacturers. Administered by the Treasury Department, SSBCI has catalyzed over $8.4 billion in more than 16,900 new loans and investments all across the country. To date, business owners report more than 190,000 jobs will be created or retained due to the new loans and investments stimulated by SSBCI funds. More than half of all SSBCI loans or investments went to young businesses less than 5 years old, and over 40 percent of the loans or investments were in low- or moderate-income communities. Over 30 states have allocated nearly half-a-billion SSBCI dollars to venture-capital programs—a dramatic increase in funding for the programs that are critical to expanding high-growth entrepreneurship into diverse regions around the country.
Strengthened investment fund program for small businesses. The Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program, run by the SBA, is a multi-billion dollar investment program to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs’ need for capital and traditional sources of financing. This Administration has created new pathways for impact investment funds that devote growth capital to companies in underserved communities and emerging sectors, as well as for early-stage innovation funds. The recently announced Open Network for Board Diversity (ONBOARD) is a public-private initiative working to expand the presence of underrepresented groups on high-growth company advisory boards, boards of directors, and senior leadership, particularly for those supported by SBICs.
Prioritized inclusive entrepreneurship.As part of the first-ever White House Demo Day in August 2015, 40 leading venture-capital firms with more than $100 billion under management committed to advance opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities, and more than a dozen major technology companies committed to new actions to ensure diverse recruitment and hiring. These actions are complemented by today’s announcements, as well as continued progress by Federal agencies, including:
Reduced barriers faced by women entrepreneurs. SBA created the InnovateHER Business Challenge, where organizations throughout the country hold local competitions for new and innovative products and services to empower women and their families; in 2015, over 1,000 entrepreneurs participated in over 100 competitions, and these numbers doubled in 2016. Women-owned small businesses reached an important milestone in 2015, meeting the Federal contracting goal for such businesses for the first time in history; overall last year, the Federal government awarded an all-time high of 25.75 percent of government contracts to all small businesses, supporting 537,000 American jobs.
Unlocked the potential of Federal inventions with entrepreneurs from all backgrounds. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Minority Business Development Agency, and the Federal Laboratory Consortium partnered together to launch the Inclusive Innovation Initiative (I-3), designed to increase minority business participation in Federal technology transfer.
Trained veteran entrepreneurs for 21st century opportunities. The Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation is helping to expand the 3D Veterans Bootcamp, a program that provides Veterans with technical training in 3D printing and design skills to accelerate designs to market. The training will annually prepare over 400 Veterans and transitioning service members for careers in advanced manufacturing and will provide guidance and resources for those wishing to launch their own business. Additionally, SBA launched Boots to Business, an entrepreneurship education program that provides transitioning service members with introductory business training and technical assistance. Since 2013, over 20,000 transitioning service members, including many spouses, participated in the Boots to Business introductory class on over 165 military installations worldwide.
Launched TechHire to train people for entrepreneurial opportunities and well-paying jobs. In 2015 the President launched TechHire, a multisector effort to empower more people from all backgrounds with the skills they need, through universities and community colleges but also innovative nontraditional approaches like “coding bootcamps,” that can rapidly train workers for technology jobs. Since then, 50 communities in partnership with over 1,000 employers have initiated local efforts that have placed over 2,000 people into tech jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Expanded entrepreneurial opportunities for the unemployed and underserved. The Department of Labor (DOL) has funded the expansion of voluntary state-run Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) programs, designed to encourage and enable unemployed workers to create their own jobs by starting their own businesses while receiving unemployment insurance benefits; helped make entrepreneurial training available to more than 200,000 low-income and out-of-school youth with barriers to employment; and helped make it easier for formerly incarcerated persons to participate in the SBA’s microloan program.
Created opportunities for promising entrepreneurs and innovators from abroad. While there is no substitute for Congress passing commonsense immigration reform, the Administration is taking the steps it can to fix as much of the broken U.S. immigration system as possible. Many of these commonsense steps are designed to attract and retain the most talented workers, graduates, and entrepreneurs from around the world.
Released a rule tailored for international entrepreneurs. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed International Entrepreneur Rule, which describes new ways in which DHS will make it possible for certain promising startup founders to grow their companies within the United States. Once this rule is finalized, it will provide much-needed clarity for entrepreneurs who have been validated by experienced American funders, and who demonstrate substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation—benefiting American workers and the U.S. economy.
Acted to retain more of the scientists and engineers educated in the United States. American universities train some of the world’s most talented students in science, technology engineering, and mathematics (STEM), but the broken U.S. immigration system compels many of them to take their skills back to their home countries. DHS published a final rule on STEM Optional Practical Training allowing international students with qualifying STEM degrees from U.S. universities to extend the time they participate in practical training, while at the same time strengthening oversight and adding new features to the program.
Unlocked the talents of high-skilled Americans-in-waiting. The Administration is making it possible for high-skilled workers on temporary visas to accept promotions, change positions or employers, or start new companies while they and their families wait to receive their green cards, and ultimately become Americans, by the publication of a policy memo on job portability and a final rule improving employment-based visa programs. In addition, DHS published a new rule that has allowed the spouses of certain high-skilled immigrants to put their own education and talents to work and contribute to the American economy.
Updated securities laws for high-growth companies.Thanks to the bipartisanJumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act signed by the President in 2012, entrepreneurs have greater access to capital from the seed stage all the way to an initial public offering (IPO). These new capital-formation pathways include:
The “IPO on-ramp” makes it easier for qualifying smaller firms to responsibly access public markets. Thanks in part to the JOBS Act, which phases in regulatory requirements for smaller companies making an initial public offering (IPO), in the year ending in March 2014 smaller IPOs were at their highest level since 2000; one study estimated that the JOBS Act was responsible for a 25 percent increase in IPO activity, including among biotech startups.
Entrepreneurs can raise up to $50 million through regulated “mini public offerings.” Through the “Regulation A+” provision of the JOBS Act, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has qualified around 50 companies to make streamlined public offerings of over $840 million in aggregate—whereas the previous version of this rule was rarely used.
Entrepreneurs can raise up to $1 million from regular investors through a new class of regulated crowdfunding platforms. A new, national, SEC-regulated marketplace for securities-based crowdfunding first opened for business 6 months ago; by one measure, these new crowdfunding platforms have allowed startups and small businesses to raise $12 million from over 15,000 regular investors.
Made the U.S. patent system more efficient and responsive to innovators.The President signed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act in September 2011, giving the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) new resources to significantly reduce patent application wait times. Total processing times for both patents and trademarks have been reduced by approximately 25 percent and 14 percent, respectively, since 2009. This reduction has come with both a 50-75 percent reduced cost for startups and small businesses, as well as the creation of a fast track program where applicants can get a final disposition in about 12 months. In addition, with a series of executive actions, the Administration has taken steps to increase transparency to the patent system and level the playing field for innovators, and leveraged the knowledge of the American people by crowdsourcing information about prior art. USPTO has also launched an International IP Toolkit to empowerinnovators with tools to facilitate exports and empower global expansions, a Patent Pro Bono Program across all 50 states to provide free legal assistance for inventors who file patent applications without the assistance of a patent attorney, and a fast-track review for patents related to cancer treatment as part of Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot.
Unleashed entrepreneurship in the industries of the future. The President has long recognized that it is entrepreneurs in clean energy, medicine, advanced manufacturing, information technology, and other innovative fields who will build the new industries of the 21st century, and solve some of our toughest global challenges.
Boosted innovation and entrepreneurship in the bioeconomy. In 2012, theAdministration released the first-ever National Bioeconomy Blueprint, to outline a series of steps to grow and manage a sector that is generating annual revenues greater than $300 billion and that is contributing the equivalent of at least 5 percent of annual U.S. GDP growth. In 2015, recognizing that navigating the regulatory process for biotechnology products can be unduly challenging, especially for small companies, the Administration initiated an effort to improve transparency and predictability in the regulatory system for biotechnology products.
Spurred innovation and entrepreneurship in the commercial space industry. Working with NASA, American companies have developed new spacecraft that are cost-effectively delivering cargo to the International Space Station and are working towards ferrying astronauts there by the end of 2017. U.S. companies that got their start supporting government missions have increased their share of the global commercial launch market from zero in 2011 to 36 percent in 2015. Federal agencies are also leveraging innovative procurement methods and creating a supportive regulatory environment to allow space entrepreneurs to pursue ventures in areas such as remote sensing, satellite servicing, asteroid mining, and small satellites. More venture capital was invested in America’s space industry in 2015 than in all the previous 15 years combined.
Enabled a new generation of aviation technology for commercial use. Powering a revolution in unmanned flight, this summer the Administration announcedground rules to govern commercial, scientific, public safety and other non-recreational uses of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—commonly known as “drones.” These rules are enabling the safe expansion of a new generation of aviation technologies and startups that will create jobs, enhance public safety, and advance scientific inquiry. Industry estimates suggest that, over the next 10 years, commercial unmanned aircraft systems could generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and by 2025, the industry could be supporting as many as 100,000 new jobs.
Supported the growth of advanced robotics. In 2011, President Obama announced the National Robotics Initiative (NRI) — a multi-agency collaboration to accelerate the development of next-generation robots that can solve problems in areas of national priority, including manufacturing, sustainable agriculture, space and undersea exploration, health, transportation, personal and homeland security, and disaster resiliency and sustainable infrastructure. The NRI has invested over $135 million in 230 projects in 33 states, fueling the development of new technologies and business opportunities, including robots that can inspect bridges, monitor water quality, and even aid in future space missions.
Supported manufacturing entrepreneurship through a national network of R&D hubs.Manufacturing USA brings together industry, academia, and government to co-invest in the development of world-leading manufacturing technologies and capabilities. In the 4 years since its establishment, Manufacturing USA has grown to a network of nine institutes and over 1,300 members—of which more than one-third are small- and medium-sized enterprises. These public-private partnerships are catalyzing entrepreneurial activity by, for example, working with regional Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers to help small manufacturers across the nation adopt advanced manufacturing techniques; and blending manufacturing technology and entrepreneurship in project-based learning programs for high schoolers.
Stimulated entrepreneurial solutions through increased use of incentive prizes. Since 2010, more than 100 Federal agencies have engaged 250,000 Americans through more than 700 incentive prizes on Challenge.gov to address tough problems ranging from fighting Ebola, to improving speech recognition, to blocking illegal robocalls. Competitions such as the NIH Breast Cancer Startup Challenge and many more have made over $220 million available to entrepreneurs and innovators and have led to the formation of over 300 startup companies with over $70 million in follow-on funding.
Fostered grassroots innovation through the maker movement. Beginning with the White House Maker Faire in June 2014 and continuing with a National Week of Making in both 2015 and 2016, the Administration has supported a growing grassroots community of makers—Americans using new tools, technologies, and spaces to design, build, and manufacture. Federal agencies, companies, non-profits, cities, and schools collectively committed to creating over 2,500 maker-oriented spaces in the United States to expand access for both students and entrepreneurs. Earlier this month, more than 300 organizations from all 50 states, with industry support including Chevron, Cognizant, and Google, came together to launch an independent nonprofit called Nation of Makers, to provide an ongoing community of practice and leadership to the maker movement.
President Obama has also elevated innovation and entrepreneurship as a foreign policy priority beyond America’s borders. Following his historic 2009 Cairo speech, the President hosted the first Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) at the White House in 2010; since then, annual GES events worldwide have provided over 7,000 emerging entrepreneurs with networking and investment opportunities and catalyzed over $1 billion in private-sector commitments. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) initiative catalyzes private-sector investment and identifies innovative models that help global entrepreneurs bridge the “pioneer gap.” Working in partnership with more than 40 incubators, accelerators, and seed-stage impact investors worldwide, USAID’s U.S. Global Development Lab creates public-private partnerships dedicated to testing ways to foster entrepreneurship, which are expected to leverage $100 million in combined public and private investments. The Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative is a collaboration among American entrepreneurs, the White House, the Department of Commerce, and other Federal agencies to harness the creativity of U.S. business leaders to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs both at home and abroad. The Department of State’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) program has engaged with science and technology innovators and entrepreneurs in 135 emerging economies around the world, providing training and resources to help them build successful startups.
For additional information and progress updates on organizations answering the President’s Call to Action to Advance Entrepreneurship, click HERE.