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Fed job retraining program threatened

Fed job retraining program threatened

33,000 Michigan workers who lost jobs to foreign trade affected

Marisa Schultz / Detroit News Washington Bureau

Source:Click Here

Washington— A deadlock in Congress over renewal of a program for workers laid off due to globalization is threatening to limit retraining opportunities for thousands in Michigan and raise their health care costs.

Expiration of the expanded Trade Adjustment Assistance program hits hard in Michigan, which has more than 33,000 program participants — the most in the nation — mainly as a result of layoffs related to the auto industry's decline, outsourcing and business closures. The expanded program was launched in 2009, but Congress failed to approve an extension before its expiration Feb. 12. Democrats are pushing to restore funding, while Republicans want the White House to move on three trade deals before signing on.

Cynthia Mack, a high school-educated grandmother from Sterling Heights who was a manager at a JPMorgan Chase call center, qualified for the program.

She hadn't been to college in almost 40 years, but the Troy call center closed in September and moved to the Philippines, so Mack found herself at Oakland Community College in January, trying to start over as a paralegal.

"It's a second chance," said Mack, 57, who had hoped to retire from the company in five years. "It was painful, but I truly look at it as a blessing. I would have never gone back to school."

The program, established by President John F. Kennedy and Congress in 1962 to help workers who lost jobs due to import competition, gives qualified unemployed workers up to $15,000 a year for tuition, cash assistance and other benefits.

The latest expansion in 2009 raised the cap on training funds from $220 million to $575 million and broadened eligibility to cover service workers, such as Mack, and part-time workers. It also increased the health coverage tax credit from 65 percent to 80 percent for all workers. The expansion tripled the scope of the program and extended benefits to 170,000 workers who would not have been eligible previously.

For Mack, the benefits cover tuition, unemployment-level cash benefits and 80 percent of her COBRA health care costs, which will drop without the program's renewal. The expected increase for health care "would be a big problem," said Mack, who has a mortgage payment.

Howard Rosen, executive director of the Washington-based Trade Adjustment Assistance Coalition, said: "This is probably the most tragic situation we've seen since TAA was established 50 years ago." The nonprofit group is an advocate for the program and affected workers.
Camp backs extension

Rep. Dave Camp, R-Midland, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, supports the benefits extension but said he has concerns over the White House's commitment on three pending free trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama. The legislation was to come up for a vote in February, but it was pulled amid concerns the GOP wouldn't have enough votes.

Under GOP House rules, spending bills must be offset by cuts, and Camp didn't have enough support from Democrats to pay for the measure by reducing community college funding from $500 million to $250 million in 2014, according a committee official.

The measure is not scheduled for another vote because Camp and other members say they want discuss it more in committee, according to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's office.

U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak, and Rep. Gary Peters, D- Bloomfield Township, are pushing to get the measure up to a vote.

With the expiration of the expanded program, the cap on the training funding reverts to previous levels. In Michigan, the difference amounts to a $57.1 million annual allocation vs. $21.4 million, according to Labor Department figures for 2011. The decrease would "dramatically" hamper the state's efforts to continue to offer long-term training, Levin said.

"Do Republicans care about retraining displaced workers — displaced through no fault of their own, displaced because of trade?" asked Levin, the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, which handles trade agreements.

Among the dozens of Michigan companies whose workers have been certified for TAA benefits are auto supplier Noble Metal Processing in Warren, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLPin Detroit and some newspaper jobs for the Oakland Press that were outsourced to the Philippines, according to federal files.

With the loss of federal money, continuing the program that partially funds retraining under Michigan's No Worker Left Behind effort "becomes a big challenge because of the budget situation we're in," Gov. Rick Snyder told The News.

He was the only Republican out of 11 governors who signed a Feb. 8 letter to the Senate leadership urging passage of the legislation, calling the 2009 improvements "crucial."

Tuition aid for TAA-qualified workers shouldn't be affected immediately, but their share of health care premiums will increase this month to previous levels, affecting 35,000 to 40,000 people, according to the IRS. Another 2,000 to 3,000 dependents and spouses are expected to lose the tax credit completely.
Money for states will shrink

Those enrolled in longer-term degree programs may also have trouble finishing their studies since the TAA money allocated to states will shrink. Eligibility for future participants will revert back to pre-2009 standards, and tens of thousands of workers, such as those in the service industry, will be denied assistance, one expert said.

An anti-tax group is taking some credit for halting TAA's passage. The Club for Growth issued a "key vote" alert in advance of the vote, meaning the tally would be counted toward the group's score card that rates how well members of Congress support pro-growth, free market policies.

The group believes the expansion is overly generous and the federal government shouldn't be in the business of providing such a benefit, nor can it afford it.

Andrew Roth, vice president of government affairs at the club, said: "Once we put it out, it was clear the leadership no longer had the votes and pulled it from the calendar."

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said workers across Michigan and the nation need the TAA support, and it's "disheartening" Congress let the improved program lapse.

"A long-term extension of the improved program would allow more Americans who lose jobs through no fault of their own to get on the path to good jobs," Solis said in a statement.

"That's the right thing to do for working families, and it makes good sense for our economy as a whole."


(202) 662-8736

Jobs outlook in public sector grows dimmer

WASHINGTON | Fri Mar 4, 2011 3:01pm EST

Jobs outlook in public sector grows dimmer

Source:Click Here

By Lisa Lambert

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The jobs outlook is growing dimmer and dimmer for the U.S. public sector.

Federal employment data released on Friday shows that state and local governments are shedding thousands of jobs even as Republican political leaders say more layoffs are on the way.

In February, state and local governments wiped 30,000 jobs off their payrolls, mostly in education, the Labor Department said. Since employment levels peaked for public sector workers in August 2008, 450,000 jobs has been shed, almost entirely at the local level, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal-leaning think-tank.

"State budgets are in bad shape and that means you're going to see more cutbacks," said David Wyss, chief economist for Standard & Poor's, who expects state and local governments to lose about 300,000 jobs this year. "The biggest impact will be in the fall, because 'back to school' is going to be 'back to school with fewer teachers.'"

Public schools start their new class years in the fall, but Wyss said schools may have let personnel go in February in time for the spring semester. He expects governments to cut jobs in all areas of public employment, including firefighting.

The public sector layoffs are in deep contrast to the private sector, where employers hired 222,000 workers in February.

The country is pitched in a deep battle over public employees that has inspired thousands of demonstrators to descend on the capitals of Wisconsin and Ohio.

On Friday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a newly elected Republican, was poised to issue layoff notices to 1,500 state workers, blaming a two-week stand-off over his bill to curb union collective bargaining rights. Earlier this week he proposed a budget that would eliminate 21,000 positions and cut funding to education, cities and counties.

Republican governors in Ohio and Indiana are watching Walker's steps closely as they propose rolling back public employee union power in their budget-cutting efforts.

Even though most of February's public sector layoffs were at the local level, they were partly caused by state budget cuts. Because their revenues have been slow to recover from the recession, states have pared funds for local governments. The National Association of Counties recently found reduced state aid is the top cause of counties' income woes.

The federal economic stimulus plan passed in 2009 included money to prevent states from slashing education programs. But those funds run out this summer, which will likely force many school districts to cut more teacher jobs.

"The weak spot in the economy remains budget troubles for state and local governments," said Richard Trumka, president of one of the largest unions in the country, the AFL-CIO, in a statement. "Without some relief from the federal government, state and local layoffs could undermine prospects for sustained economic recovery."

Wyss said he expects weakness in the state and local sector to shave half a percentage point off national economic growth in the second half of 2011. But, he added, he anticipates private sector hiring to pick up enough to balance out any losses in the public sector.

(Additional reporting by Jeff Mayers; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Manpower Employment Outlook Survey Reveals Ongoing Hiring Optimism Among U.S. Employers

Manpower Employment Outlook Survey Reveals
Ongoing Hiring Optimism Among U.S. Employers

Positive Employment Prospects Reported Across All States and Industry Sectors Surveyed

Source:Click Here

MILWAUKEE, March 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Confidence among U.S. employers is spreading geographically, according to the seasonally adjusted results of the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, conducted quarterly by Manpower Inc.

According to the seasonally adjusted* survey results, the Outlook* for Quarter 2 2011 is 8%, up from 6% during the same period last year and consistent with the 8% Outlook during Quarter 1 2011.

Survey highlights include:
  • Positive Outlook in Every State: Employers in all 50 states report positive hiring intentions and 33 out of 50 states anticipate considerable increases.  Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. employers also report positive hiring intentions.

  • All Industries Looking to Hire: Employers in the 13 industry sectors surveyed each report a positive Outlook, with Mining and Leisure & Hospitality employers the most optimistic.  Employers in 10 of the 13 industry sectors expect hiring to increase from three months ago. 

  • Six Straight Quarters of Employment Growth: Employers have reported a positive overall hiring Outlook since Quarter 1 2010, according to seasonally adjusted data.

  • Fewer Employers Plan to Decrease Headcounts: Six percent of employers plan to reduce employee levels in Quarter 2 2011, down from recessionary highs of 14 percent in 2009.

"We should see the same measured hiring pace in the U.S. as we did in the first quarter; however, unadjusted industry sector data reveals some positive signs," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, Manpower Inc. Chairman and CEO.  "First, employers in 10 of the 13 industry sectors surveyed expect hiring to improve from three months ago.  Second, there is a notable uptick in the Manufacturing-Durables sector where nearly one in five employers expect to increase payrolls."

Of the more than 18,000 employers surveyed, 16 percent anticipate an increase in staff levels in their Quarter 2 2011 hiring plans, while 6 percent expect a decrease in payrolls, resulting in a Net Employment Outlook of 10%.  When seasonally adjusted, the Net Employment Outlook becomes 8%.  Seventy-four percent of employers expect no change in their hiring plans.  The final 4 percent of employers indicate they are undecided about their hiring intentions.

"Nearly all of the of the key data points in our survey show that employers are positive, but hiring plans are still reserved due to their continued ability to manage the slowly increasing demand with the existing workforce," said Jonas Prising, Manpower president of the Americas.  "In the U.S., we are holding on to hard-won job gains and waiting for the time when the growth in demand for goods and services will require more substantial workforce additions."

Employers in each of the 13 industry sectors surveyed have a positive Outlook for Quarter 2 2011: Leisure & Hospitality ( 21%), Mining ( 21%), Professional & Business Services ( 15%), Durable Goods Manufacturing ( 14%), Wholesale & Retail Trade ( 12%), Nondurable Goods Manufacturing ( 11%), Financial Activities ( 9%), Information ( 9), Transportation & Utilities ( 8%), Other Services ( 7%), Construction ( 6%), Education & Health Services ( 6%) and Government ( 1%).  Employers in 10 industry sectors expect employment prospects to increase quarter-over-quarter, three expect staff levels to remain stable and none of the surveyed industries look for the hiring pace to decline.  Among the 10 industries expecting an uptick in hiring confidence, employers in both the Mining sector and Construction sector anticipate the largest quarter-over-quarter Net Employment Outlook increase, with both gaining 15 percentage points.

Employers in all four U.S. geographic regions surveyed report a seasonally adjusted Outlook of 8%.  The hiring Outlook in the West is the strongest for the region since Quarter 4 2008.  Compared to one year ago, a slight increase in employment prospects is expected in the Midwest, South and West, while the Northeast is steady.  Quarter over quarter, employers in the Northeast, South and West report relatively stable hiring conditions, while employers in the Midwest expect a slight dip in employment plans.

The next Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released on June 14, 2011, to report hiring expectations for Quarter 3 2011.  To receive e-mail notification when the survey is available each quarter, visit http://press.manpower.com/signup.


*Note to Editors
Seasonal Adjustment: The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is presented in a deseasonalized format.  Also known as seasonal adjustment, the calibration removes effects of normally recurring influences (e.g. weather, holidays, school calendars) to obtain a more accurate view of movements in the data not attributable to these factors.  Each new quarter of results are immediately integrated into the survey's historical database.  As new data is added, slight changes are possible to previous quarters' seasonal adjustments and the historical data is therefore reported in its updated form.  Data that has been seasonally adjusted is identified, and both adjusted and unadjusted data is published in our quarterly research report.

Net Employment Outlook: The Net Employment Outlook, often shortened to simply Outlook or NEO, is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity and subtracting from this the percentage of employers expecting a decrease in hiring activity.

About the Survey
The global leader in innovative workforce solutions, Manpower Inc. releases the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey quarterly to measure employers' intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforce during the next quarter.  It is the longest running, most extensive, forward-looking employment survey in the world, polling nearly 64,000 employers in 39 countries and territories.  The Manpower survey serves as a bellwether of labor market trends and activities.  The survey is regularly used to inform the Bank of England's Inflation Reports, as well as a regular data source for the European Commission, informing its EU Employment Situation and Social Outlook report the 'Monthly Monitor.'  Manpower's independent survey data is also sourced by financial analysts and economists around the world to help determine where labor markets are headed.

The survey is conducted using a validated methodology in accordance with the highest standards in market research.  In the U.S., the survey is conducted by an independent, third-party research firm and includes a select sample of more than 18,000 U.S. employers.  This sample represents the top 100 Metropolitan Statistical Areas based on business establishment count and all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  The mix of industries within the survey follows the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Supersectors and is structured to be representative of the U.S. economy.  With this number of interviews, the overall U.S. survey carries a margin of error of /-0.61%, with a 90% confidence index.

The complete results and visuals from the U.S. national Manpower Employment Outlook Survey are available for download at press.manpower.com, where you will also find the survey results for the 100 MSAs, 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

? Manpower Inc. 2011 All rights reserved.

SOURCE Manpower

The time for entrepreneurship is now

The time for entrepreneurship is now

Rebecca U. Cho, Staff Writer

Source: Click Here

Women-owned businesses are growing in number in the United States, accounting for about a third of all nonfarm businesses in 2007. That is a 20.1 percent jump from just five years before, according to the Small Business Administration. But in an economy that is struggling still to recover from the recession, female entrepreneurs, like other business owners, are facing trouble gaining training and access to capital to launch their ideas.

Enter the Inland Empire Women's Business Center. The program out of Cal State San Bernardino has partnered with Citibank to offer training to women who want to start their own businesses. At the end of a six-month process, three graduates receive seed money to start their new ventures.

Nicole Kinney, the center's director, spoke about how the program, "It's Your Time: An Entrepreneurial Training Series for Women," has helped encourage women entrepreneurs to grow in the difficult economy.

Q: What is the Inland Empire Women's Business Center?

A: We started in 2003. We provide free, confidential, one-on-one business counseling, free or low-cost training programs, and mentoring to existing or startup businesses. Even though we're a women's business center, we help anybody and everybody who asks for it.

Q: How has Citibank partnered with your center for the program?

A: Citibank provides us with the funding for the program. They're extremely supportive of our program.
They contribute $20,000, (evenly) split between the Inland Empire Women's Business Center and our sister center, the Coachella Valley Women's Business Center.

Q: What is the purpose of "It's Your Time"?

A: The purpose of the program is to provide resources to women entrepreneurs, such as training. They receive 10 training workshops they may not be able to afford without participating in the program. In order to graduate, they have to complete 10 workshops and write a business plan. A five-part business module helps them do that. IYT launched in 2006, and we've done it annually since.

Q: Have success stories emerged from the training program?

A: Just out of our last program, three of the nine who graduated started their businesses during the program. One person started a catering business, a taco-catering service. A lot of them are single moms. They're really achieving their dreams, setting their goals, leveraging from the center the education they've received. They're at the same time improving the economic situation of their individual families. The long-term effect of that is huge. Over time they can create jobs for other people. There's another person who started a nonprofit agency for epilepsy awareness.

Q: How does a person get into the program?

A: There is a selection process. We ask them to go to the website and get the application there. It's a very simple application, one page. We ask them also to write a one-page essay about the business they want to start or grow, and (provide) one letter of reference from a family member, friend or colleague.

Q: How are the three winners chosen in the end?

A: Selecting the three boils down to whether they've completed all the workshops and the top three with the highest scores on their business plan. It's a competition. The outside panel reviews (the business plan) and scores the score sheet.

The score card breaks down nine different components of the business plan. Each section is broken down, and the judges score each section, such as the executive summary. Is it clear, exciting and effective as a stand-alone summary of the plan? Also, we have an area where the judges can leave comments, which is extremely valuable for these people who are looking to start or grow a business. What are the areas I can improve upon or excel in?

Q: Why is a program like this relevant for women in today's business environment?

A: It provides them with resources for free. Second, it teaches them that there is opportunity out there. I think so much of what we hear is there's nothing going on, no business out there, and we get stuck in that mind-set. The environment we create is extremely positive - realistic and positive. We don't want anybody to leave here under any misconceptions about what's going on in the business environment. I think people need to be encouraged.

Q: So how do you create a positive, but realistic, environment?

A: I like to believe there is opportunity out there. You just have to identify your niche. It's not realistic to spend half a million dollars to start a restaurant right now, but it is realistic to start a catering business. Do your due diligence on the industry and identify the steps involved. Who are you serving? Is there a need for my product or service? How are you going to differentiate yourself to your customers? That's why we place a high value on business plan writing.

Q: How does "It's Your Time" cater specifically to supporting women?

A: We as women tend to need more emotional support and encouragement. A lot of women through the program find that from one another. Women have more unique needs, especially if we're the sole provider for our children. That adds a whole other realm of pressure to the performance. Overall when you tell somebody you're going to start a business, the first thing they want to say is why it's not going to work. You're not going to hear why it's not going to work here. Surrounding these women with like-minded women creates and cultivates the positive environment for them.

Q: What challenges face female entrepreneurs in today's economy?

A: I think the challenges out there are those everybody is faced by. Access to capital continues to be a challenge for people. We work with a lot of people displaced from their jobs, so the ramifications on their credits are huge. The impact of the credit score is going to affect whether or not you'll be able to obtain money to get a business started. We encourage launching it in phases based on the resources they do currently have and then growing the business to something that reflects your big vision. Every person has circumstances unique to them, which are going to affect the starting or growing of their business.

11 for 2011: Riffs on Today’s Entrepreneurship

11 for 2011: Riffs on Today's Entrepreneurship

By J. Jennings Moss

Source:Click Here

What are the big themes in American entrepreneurship this year? A bigger focus in universities and government, a shift away from high-tech, and a call for more women leading startups are just a few.

Spend a few days in the company of entrepreneurs, or devote a solid 12 hours to listening to educators and self-made businesspeople talk about ways to encourage entrepreneurship, and you’ll come away with a few conclusions. That’s what happened to me last week after spending three days in Orlando: the first two spent at a retreat for young entrepreneurs and the third at a summit exploring the future of entrepreneurship education.

Rather than write a lengthy tome on any single topic discussed last week, I’m opting for a different approach (an impending flight back to New York and a looming deadline might have something to do with this). And since this is 2011, I offer not 10 but 11 lessons about the state of entrepreneurship today.

  1. The biggest single takeaway from Friday’s marathon summit—organized by the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour and held at the University of Central Florida—is that educators at big and small institutions across the country say their schools are finally tailoring programs to teach about entrepreneurship. That’s definitely a solid development, since business programs traditionally deal with economic theory, supply and demand, and big finance. But just saying your university is adding entrepreneurship courses to a curriculum isn’t enough. Schools need to ensure they’re not just teaching the theory of entrepreneurship, but that they’re developing programs that actually let students create and develop new companies. Plus, they need to recognize that it’s not just business students who can benefit from these courses: would-be engineers, artists, doctors, journalists, and many more would be eager to create their own companies.

    Read the Other 10 Lessons: Click Here

Job Squad links employers, unemployed

Job Squad links employers, unemployed

By Laura Dignan

Source:Click here

GEORGETOWN -- On Feb. 22, resident Alba Amaya celebrated her one-year anniversary of employment with the First State Community Action Agency, thanks to the state's Job Squad.

Amaya said she visited the Department of Labor's Division of Employment and Training searching for a job and was offered a temporary position there but continued to seek other opportunities.

"I never stopped searching for jobs because I knew there would be something out there," she said.

She now works in the FSCAA's weatherization assistance program that enables low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient.

"I feel really blessed," Amaya said.

Thomas Smith, director of the Division of Employment and Training, said the Job Squad is essentially a nickname for the Business Services Unit that has worked tirelessly during the past year to get Delawareans back to work.

Employers and job-seekers are invited to provide the group with information, either in person or online. Representatives then work to make the best match between both parties.

"Most people out of work don't want a check, they want a chance -- to show employers how much value and opportunity they can bring and a chance to provide for their families," said Gov. Jack Markell.

An estimated 13,000 resumes are active within the Job Squad's database, Smith said, but 66,000 people have registered.

"It's a broad range of jobs and in the current environment, with so many people being laid off and applying for unemployment, we have a broad base of applicants," Smith said.

Brian Selander, chief strategy officer for Markell, said the Job Squad has gained national recognition, being featured on CNBC and MSNBC.

"Part of the issue of unemployment is that so many jobs get filled by people who are referred by people who are currently at that business or someone you meet at work," he said. "But because more people are out of work, they don't see those opportunities."

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, Delaware's unemployment rate was 8.5 percent as of December 2010.

"The more employers turn to the Job Squad for the free help it offers, the more chances we have to match up that talent with opportunity," Markell said.


Learn More

Employers and Delawareans can call the
Department of Labor's Division of Employment
and Training at 302-761-8131 or visit
www.delaware works.com for more information
on finding and providing jobs.

Related Links:

President Barack Obama to tout entrepreneurship next week in Cleveland

Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 12:01 AM

President Barack Obama to tout entrepreneurship next week in Cleveland

Sabrina Eaton, The Plain Dealer By Sabrina Eaton, The Plain Dealer

Source:Click Here

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama will visit Cleveland State University with several of his Cabinet members on Feb. 22, to convene a "Winning the Future" forum on small business in conjunction with local business innovation groups.

"The entrepreneurial spirit in America is one of our greatest assets, and small-business owners who grow these fast-growing companies create the majority of the jobs," Small Business Administrator Karen Mills, one of the Cabinet secretaries who will accompany Obama to Cleveland, said in an interview.

Mills said the trip stems from a drive to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build America's competitors that Obama described in his State of the Union address.

The White House will invite 100 to 120 small-business leaders from Northeast Ohio to the forum, Mills said. After Obama addresses the group, the president and Cabinet members will participate with the local business leaders in five breakout sessions: on exports, clean energy, access to capital, entrepreneurship and work force development.

Republicans routinely criticize Obama's job-creation efforts and say his tax policies discourage small-business owners from creating jobs. U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, a Republican, greeted news of the trip by saying he hopes Obama uses it "to say he will get the spending under control and join Republicans to foster an environment that will lead to private-sector job growth."

Mills said Obama has enacted 17 small-business tax cuts since he was elected, and provided $41 billion in loan guarantees that "put money right into the hands of small businesses at the time of the worst credit crunch in history."

The president often visits small businesses, said Mills, and she and other Cabinet members regularly conduct small-business forums around the country. Later this week, Obama will visit California and Oregon to promote technology innovations, and research and development.

Mills said Cleveland was selected for the forum because of its successful small businesses and entrepreneurs who have the "potential to grow and create the next 100 or 1,000 jobs."

"It's important that the president hears from small-business owners and comes to understand the challenges that small businesses face in this economy," said Cleveland Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who will attend the forum. "I'm glad he's coming to town. It is always good to have the president in our community."

A pair of local nonprofits that foster entrepreneurship -- NorTech and JumpStart Inc. -- will participate in the event and have suggested other participants to the White House.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to be able to have a high-level dialogue with the administration on keeping the momentum going for us as we transition our economy," said NorTech President and CEO Rebecca Bagley.

JumpStart last month became part of the White House's "Startup America" initiative to create high-growth companies and speed up job formation. It recently formed a spinoff called JumpStart America to raise money for investments in start-up companies around the nation.

"We have built a lot of momentum here in Northeast Ohio," said JumpStart Chief Relationship Officer Cathy Belk.

The event at the Wolstein Center will be Obama's third trip to Cleveland State University. He debated Hillary Clinton there during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary and held a rally there before last November's election.

"He recognizes that CSU is an economic development engine for Northeast Ohio," said university spokesman Joe Mosbrook.

Plain Dealer reporter Karen Farkas contributed to this story.

WV GreenWorks Plugs In EDISON.21 To Light Up New Breed of Entrepreneurs

WV GreenWorks Plugs In EDISON.21
to Light Up New Breed of Entrepreneurs

WVGreenWorks Creates Partnerships and 6-Month Pilot Program to Advance Sustainable Entrepreneurship

Charleston, WV (PRWEB) February 16, 2011

Source: Click Here

WVGreenWorks.com, in partnership with the Region 1 Workforce Investment Board and the Southern Workforce WV Green Up Council, has created EDISON.21, a mentoring program designed to ignite a new generation of entrepreneurs.

EDISON.21 takes its name from one of the world’s most prolific innovators who succeeded in spite of little formal education, and for whom there was no expectation of success. The program is dedicated to the next generation of innovation for sustainability. It’s established to identify, cultivate and support the kind of creative action that resulted in the light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture camera, just three of Edison’s thousands of inventions. Edison was a successful businessman as well as an inventor.

The pilot program begins on March 3, with the announcement of participants, mentors, and sponsors, at Tamarack Conference Center in Beckley, WV, and culminates in August.

“It’s appropriate that we announce the program this month, as the technological world celebrates Thomas Edison’s 164th birthday,” said Sarah Halstead Boland, executive director of WVGreenWorks. “Our group of potential young entrepreneurs will work alongside industry professionals as we all move forward in discovering business opportunities in growing green, sustainable communities.”

A group of 15 men and women aged 18 to 21 have been tapped for the six-month mentoring program that will result in internship and employment opportunities. Professional builders, architects, educators, community planners and leaders will work with the group as they explore cutting-edge concepts in sustainable community retrofitting and design.

“We’re specifically exploring opportunities in sustainable agriculture, conservation and recycling, green high performance building, energy efficiency, contracting, finance and marketing,“ Halstead Boland explained. “The plan is to cultivate creative thinkers who are capable of coming up with cutting edge concepts of their own.”

The Region 1 Workforce Investment Board has selected the program’s initial participants, who applied for the program and have met rigorous standards. Students and their professional mentors will work with sustainable community experts in Pittsburgh, PA, Richmond, VA, San Francisco, CA, and Washington, DC.

“We will expose these young people to world-class concepts and thinkers, innovators who have created systems that save money and energy, and designers and community planners who have changed how people live and conserve resources,” Halstead Boland continued. “A cool thing about the program is that our mentors will share these experiences with the young participants. We are building a comprehensive framework for opportunity that will allow rapid growth in many directions.

“By the close of the program, established building and design professionals will have the most up-to-date green building and energy efficiency certifications, and will be ready to meet growing consumer, commercial and municipal demand,” said Halstead Boland.

The Region 1 Workforce Investment Board encompasses 10 southern West Virginia counties. The Southern Workforce WV Green Up Council supports job expansion in energy efficiency, renewable energy, alternative energy and advanced traditional energy fields. Supporters of the program to date include Bridgemont and New River Community and Technical Colleges, Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity, EarthCraft House of Richmond, VA, the West Virginia chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, and Modern Home Concepts of Hurricane, WV.

A complete list of sponsors and supporters of the EDISON.21 Project will be announced at the formal program launch at Tamarack. For more information, contact Halstead Boland at sarah@wvgreenworks.com.

Boomers Are Driving A New Entrepreneurship Boom

Boomers Are Driving A New Entrepreneurship Boom

By Marty Zwilling
Veteran startup mentor, executive

Source: Click Here

Contrary to what most of you might guess, the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity over the last few years is not Gen-Y young upstarts, but Baby Boomers in the 55-64 year age group. In fact, according to a study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, these Boomers are actually driving a new entrepreneurship boom.

Some people are calling entrepreneurship the 'new mid-life crisis' for the 76 million-strong demographic once thought to be over the hill. Partially due to the economy, but also due to longer, healthier lives and changes in job tenure, 62% of working Boomers are now expected to stay in the labor force, with real power and influence, for at least nine more years, to 2020.

Here is a summary of indicative facts from the earlier study referenced, an update published last year, and others. These indicate that the correct icon for an entrepreneur may now have gray hair, rather than the warm glow of youth:

  • In every single year from 1996 to 2010, Boomers between the ages of 55 and 64 had a higher rate of entrepreneurial activity than Gen-Y, aged 20-34. The highest growth rate last year actually was the next echelon, Gen-X, 35 to 44-year-old's.

  • These trends seem likely to persist. In the Kauffman Foundation Survey of nearly 5,000 companies that began in 2004, nearly two-thirds of the founders are now between the ages of 35 and 54.

  • Additionally, Kauffman research has revealed that the average age of the founders of technology companies in the United States is a surprisingly high 39 -- with twice as many over age 50 as under age 25.

  • While people under 30 have historically jumped from job to job, another striking development has been a deep drop in the incidence of 'lifetime' jobs among men over age 50.

  • With longer life expectancies and greater health in later life, older generations are moving to start new firms -- and mentor young entrepreneurs. One new incentive is the falling transaction costs and barriers to entry for entrepreneurs of every age.

  •  Half of the Internet users age 50-64 use social media now, an 88 percent growth from the previous year. The number of Facebook users in the US age 55 and older grew from around 1 million in early 2009 to 10 million in early 2010.

  • The immigrant rate of entrepreneurial activity declined slightly in 2009, but remained substantially higher than the native-born rate. Business start-up rates in America increased the most in the Midwest and South.

In addition, the Boomer demographic is also creating a slew of new market opportunities, including improved healthcare facilities, construction of senior-friendly facilities, and technical support for seniors, by seniors. What all of this means is that boomers will have more impact and power in the marketplace for a lot longer than most people expected.

Since entrepreneurship is a key driver of economic growth, this should bode well for America, and for world economic growth as well. In terms of job creation, innovation, and productivity, entrepreneurs drive growth. Many Boomers have the purchasing power and become enthusiastic early adopters who help lead the way. They are becoming the new early adopters.

Of course no one has any idea what the next big thing will be, but more often than not innovation comes from entrepreneurs. If you are one of the Baby Boomers who wants to redefine retirement, now is your chance for real impact. Find an opportunity you understand, follow your passion, and join the entrepreneurial majority.

Unemployment Rate To Remain Above 9 Percent Through 2011,Will Remain Above ‘Natural Rate’ Until 2016

Unemployment Rate To Remain Above 9 Percent Through 2011,
Will Remain Above 'Natural Rate' Until 2016: CBO


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The jobs crisis isn't going anywhere, according to the latest forecast from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which puts the national unemployment rate above 9 percent through 2011 and 8 percent through 2012.

Unemployment will fall to a more "natural rate" only in 2016, when CBO estimates it will reach 5.3 percent -- a projection roughly in line with private-sector figures.

"The recovery in employment has been slowed not only by the moderate growth in output in the past year and a half but also by structural changes in the labor market, such as a mismatch between the requirements of available jobs and the skills of job seekers, that have hindered the reemployment of workers who have lost their job," CBO's report says.

The degree to which the unemployment crisis is structural, as opposed to cyclical, is hotly debated by economists, with progressives like Paul Krugman arguing that structural unemployment is a fake problem "which mainly serves as an excuse for not pursuing real solutions." Many argue that the even drop in employment across industries shows that lack of overall demand is the problem, with stimulus spending the answer. Others have said pay disparities between workers with different levels of education show the problem is at least partly structural.

James Galbraith, an economist who teaches at the University of Texas, says CBO's structural unemployment claim is an after-the-fact rationalization for previous failed forecasts. (CBO's 2009 forecast predicted 8 percent unemployment in 2011 and 6.8 percent unemployment in 2012. Galbraith's been beating up on CBO since before then.)

"There never was any reason to believe that employment would bounce back, as CBO had previously forecast, in the wake of the financial meltdown, and no reason now to think that the problem lies with deficient skills for any class of workers," Galbraith told HuffPost. "[The CBO forecast] is a purely mechanical exercise idea based on the fact that in the past we've always rebounded to a natural unemployment rate of 5 percent. What that means is you never take into account that the system broke in any serious way."

The most unusual factor of the jobs crisis is how long some people are going without work. Long-term unemployment has surged since the unprecedented mortgage meltdown that clobbered housing prices and launched the Great Recession in December 2007. Some 6.4 million people -- 44.3 percent of the 14.5 million unemployed -- have been out of work for six months or longer, and 1.4 million have been out of work for two years or longer. This is the worst long-term unemployment situation in the United States since the Great Depression.