President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness Archives - Shopfloor

Increasing STEM Internships Important to Competitiveness

By | Education and Training | 2 Comments

Last week the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness announced that nearly 50 businesses have pledged to double or increase the number of STEM internships available to students. Many of these businesses which have agreed to increase internships are manufacturers.

In case you missed it here is an excerpt from the National Association of Manufacturers press release on the announcement:

“Advanced education and training is becoming increasingly more important to manufacturers. If employees do not have the right training and skills, manufacturers in the United States will fall behind our competitors, harming our economic growth,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “These manufacturers are to be commended for taking an important step to increase the number of STEM internship opportunities, which is critical to economic growth and job creation.”

From Pittsburgh Business Times on the announcement:

The council’s goal is to address the country’s shortage of STEM workers. According to information released by the annual amount of engineers graduating from U.S. universities has remained steady at about 120,000 from 1990 and 2010. However, about 1 million engineers a year graduate from universities in India and China.

We would like to highlight a few manufacturers that have also agreed to increase internships, which include FMC Corporation, Corning Incorporated, Longview Fibre and Eastman Chemical. We thank these companies for taking this step to help improve education and training for students which is extremely important to our manufacturing competitiveness.

At President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, Where’s ‘Profit?’

By | Economy, Regulations | No Comments

President Obama gave opening remarks Thursday at the first meeting of his newly appointed President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The White House Blog posts excerpts and photos, and here’s the transcript. Excerpt:

The economy is now growing.  In many sectors we’re seeing recovery.  But the biggest challenge that we’re seeing right now is the fact that unemployment is still way too high all across the country.  And so what we wanted to do was retool.

It’s critical for us to have input from folks who are actually hiring, putting people to work, making payroll, making the products and services that make our economy so powerful.  But we want to make sure that we narrowed the focus to think about how do we ensure, A, that we’re putting people to work right now, but also how do we lay the foundation for us to win the future over the long term.

This is obviously a theme that I talked about during the State of the Union.  It is my belief that we have all the pieces in place for us to make sure that the 21st century is the American Century just like the 20th was.  But we’re going to have to up our game in this newly competitive world.  And that means that we’ve got to out-educate every other country in the world.  We’re going to have to out-innovate every country in the world.  We’ve got to make sure that we’ve got the best infrastructure to move people and goods and services throughout the economy.

I want us to be an economy that is not simply buying from other people and borrowing to do it.  I want us to be selling to other people and having some other folks owe us some money.  And so it is going to be absolutely critical for us during a period of significant fiscal constraint that we create the kind of public/private partnership that makes that happen.  And it’s going to be very important for us to get ideas from people who’ve actually — are actually on the ground right now, trying to build your businesses and operate in a extraordinarily competitive world.

Good remarks. But you know what word is missing?


It’s profit that makes hiring possible, drives success in an extraordinarily competitive world.

Do a word search at the White House website for “profit.” The word does turn up, but mostly in bios and references to “non-profit” — or even an implicit knock on the oil companies for “making huge profits.

President Obama has reached out to and even embraced business in recent months. But an embrace of business without an explicit endorsement of their ability to make a profit seems awfully hollow.

Manufacturers Named to Council on Jobs and Competitiveness

By | Economy | No Comments

The White House has announced the names of the members of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which meets for the first time this afternoon.

The 23 members include nine current manufacturing executives or people who have led manufacturing operations so that’s good. President Obama earlier appointed Jeff Immelt, head of General Election, to chair the advisory group.

The full list of members is here.

The manufacturers:

  • Lewis “Lew” Hay, III is chairman and chief executive officer of NextEra Energy, Inc., one of the nation’s leading electricity-related services companies and the largest renewable energy generator in North America
  • Ellen Kullman is chair of the board and chief executive officer of DuPont. Prior to becoming chief executive officer in 2009, she served as executive vice president and a member of the company’s office of the chief executive.
  • A.G. Lafley is the former Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Procter & Gamble. He currently serves as Special Partner at Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and as a Director of the General Electric Company
  • Darlene Miller is the owner and CEO of Permac Industries, a Minnesota machining company custom manufacturing precision parts for customers worldwide.
  • Paul S. Otellini is President and Chief Executive Officer of Intel Corporation. Mr. Otellini previously had served as Intel’s president and chief operating officer, positions he held since 2002, the same year he was elected to Intel’s board of directors.
  • Antonio Perez is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kodak. Since joining the company in 2003, Mr. Perez has led the worldwide transformation of Kodak from a business based on film to one based primarily on digital technologies.
  • Brian L. Roberts is Chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation and Chairman of the Board of Directors of NBCUniversal.
  • Matt Rose is Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Corporation.

The one small-business representative on the panel is Darlene Miller of Permac Industries.

UPDATE (11:05 a.m.): The Washington Post reports, “The president will assemble a motley crew of business executives and others Thursday to solicit ideas on the economy at the White House.” Post must have meant “motley” as in the sense of diverse, not harlequin-like.

VP Biden, Labor Secretary Solis to Meet with AFL-CIO’s Trumka

By | Economy, Labor Unions | No Comments

From The Los Angeles Times“:

Public schedule of Vice President Joe Biden for Thursday, Feb. 24:

At 10:45 AM, the Vice President and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis will meet with President of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka and with presidents of AFL-CIO labor organizations.

Here’s a good conversation starter, discussing this statement: “It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”

That’s George Meany, former head of the AFL-CIO.

Meany’s comments were backed up by the advice in 1959 from AFL-CIO’s Executive Council: “In terms of accepted collective bargaining procedures, government workers have no right beyond the authority to petition Congress—a right available to every citizen.”

Odd timing for a meeting. It almost looks like counter-programming from the White House, as the President later today convenes the first meeting of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

Oh, wait, Trumka’s on the council.

Here are a few questions reporters might pose to him in conjunction with this afternoon’s public meeting: “The AFL-CIO’s affiliate in Madison, Wisc., has endorsed calling a general strike if the Gov. Scott Walker’s budget and collective bargaining bill passes. Do you support a general strike? Did you think a general strike would improve America’s global competitiveness and standing in the eyes of employers as a good place to do business?”

More from James Sherk at the Heritage Foundation, who supplied the Meany quotes.

President Names Intel’s CEO to Jobs Council

By | Economy, Innovation, Small Business | No Comments

The Oregonian has the news today, “Intel and Obama embrace in Hillsboro today over shared priorities“:

President Barack Obama and Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini share a stage for the first time today when the president arrives in Hillsboro to tout the chip maker’s education initiatives and investment in domestic manufacturing.

After a difficult courtship, the Democratic president and Republican CEO have found common ground on innovation and education. Obama this morning will appoint Otellini to the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, adding a top-tier name from the tech industry to a new group charged with boosting U.S. economic performance.

The appointment, and today’s meeting in Hillsboro, is the fruit of more assertive lobbying by the high-tech industry and Obama’s need to display closer ties to business.

News reports highlight critical comments Otellini has made about the Administration’s economic policies, views that represent many of those in manufacturing.

From The Hill, “White House reaches out to Intel critic who blasted job policies“:

Asked during an interview in August what advice he would give the president on jobs, Otellini said: 

“The most important thing the current administration can do is remove the number of variables out there. There are so many things where business leaders can’t predict what’s going to happen. Businesses don’t like uncertainty. When you start reducing the variables and putting predictability into the system, you can now make informed decisions.”

 The President’s Council is chaired by Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric, and Otellini becomes the second person named to the panel. We trust that the President’s upcoming appointments will include more manufacturers and representatives from small business.

More …

Was Watson Invited?

By | Economy, Trade | One Comment

From The San Francisco Chronicle, “Obama to dine with Bay Area high-tech titans“:

President Obama, making his eighth official visit to California, is coming to the Bay Area today for an intimate dinner with some of the Bay Area’s star high-tech executives – a session aimed at focusing on innovation, job creation and education….

Those leaders included Google’s Eric Schmidt, Intel’s Paul Otellini and Cisco Systems’ John Chambers. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg – whose company Obama has praised as an innovation leader – will be among the guests, Bloomberg News reported, citing a source with knowledge of the meeting.

Bloomberg also reports the planned attendance of Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric and the chairman of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

When President Obama spoke at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 7, he said the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness would hold its first meeting on Feb. 24, a week from today. We haven’t seen anything else about that meeting in the news, though.

Also, members of the Innovation Coalition, a national network of technology and entrepreneurial associations held a Washington fly-in Wednesday to promote policies that support innovation and R&D.

GE’s Immelt: A Blueprint for Keeping America Competitive

By | Economy, Energy, Innovation, Regulations, Trade | 3 Comments

The White House has announced that President Obama will sign an executive order creating the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The chairman will be Jeff Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric.

Immelt referred to the new council in an op-ed in today’s Washington Post, saying it would comprise representatives of small and large businesses, labor, economists and government and expressing hope it would serve as “a sounding board for ideas and a catalyst for action on jobs and competitiveness.”

And what action does America need? Immelt identified manufacturing, exports and innovation as priorities. From “A blueprint for keeping America competitive“:

Manufacturing and exports: We need a coordinated commitment among business, labor and government to expand our manufacturing base and increase exports. The assumption made by many that the United States could transition from a technology-based, export-oriented economic powerhouse to a services-led, consumption-based economy without any serious loss of jobs, prosperity or prestige was fundamentally wrong. But there is nothing inevitable about America’s declining manufacturing competitiveness if we work together to reverse it. For example, we have returned many GE appliance manufacturing jobs to the States by collaborating with our unions and making our operations more efficient.

Working with Boeing CEO Jim McNerney, who leads the President’s Export Council, the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness will look for ways to harness the power of international markets – home to more than 95 percent of the world’s consumers. Currently, the United States ranks lowest among the world’s largest manufacturing nations in the ratio of domestically produced goods sold overseas, or export intensity. We must set as our highest economic priority not just increasing our exports, as the president has pledged, but also making the United States the world’s leading exporter in the 21st century.

Free trade: America cannot expand its manufacturing base without greatly increasing the volume of goods it sells overseas. That is why I applaud the free-trade agreement recently concluded between the United States and South Korea, which will eliminate barriers to U.S. exports and support export-oriented jobs. We should seek to conclude trade and investment agreements with other fast-growing markets and modernize our systems for export finance and trade control. Those who advocate increasing domestic manufacturing jobs by erecting trade barriers have it exactly wrong.

Immelt is scheduled to host President Obama on a tour of GE’s Schenectady operations this afternoon.

The White House is also letting it be known that competitiveness will be a major theme of the President’s State of the Union address next Tuesday.

Executive orders on regulations and now a council for jobs and competitiveness are good things. The President could demonstrate his support for policies to match the goals of the orders by acting quickly to submit the pending free trade agreements (Korea, Panama, Colombia) to Congress for enactment. And then rein in the EPA.