White House Council calls for training to fill 2M jobs, cut red tape

Posted June 13, 2011

— Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE, says there are millions of jobs available in the U.S. because companies can’t find workers adequately trained for those positions, and a group he heads is unveiling ideas about how to fill them today in the Triangle.

Immelt chairs the White House Jobs and Competitiveness Council, a group of 26 private sector executives, that unveils an economic growth plan today as part of President Obama’s visit to the Triangle. The Council meets with Obama at approximately 1 p.m. after hosting five meetings across the Triangle.

In an interview with WRAL-TV on Sunday night and in more detail through a commentary published Monday in the Wall Street Journal, Immelt provided an advance look at the plan.

“There are 2 million open jobs in the US,” Immelt said during a reception at the American Tobacco Historic District on Sunday night.

To help fill them and to drive additional growth, he said the Council came up with “literally dozens of good ideas.”

"I think the economy is getting better, but not fast enough to create the kind of jobs we need in this country," Immelt added. "I think jobs is an urgent issue.

"We're going to give him (Obama) a bunch of recommendations that are really about, in the short term, creating jobs, fixing the supply and demand.”

Jeff Immelt Web only: Jeff Immelt, head of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness

In the Journal story co-written along with Ken Chenault, a fellow Council member who is chairman and CEO of American Express, Immelt provided more particulars.

The group’s plan to be presented to Obama today is a “progress report,” they said in the story titled “How We’re Meeting the Job Creation Challenge.”

“America needs more growth,” they wrote. “The United States needs to reverse trends that developed over a long period of time, and the solutions aren't easy politically, socially or economically. The economic decisions we make now will determine American job creation and competitiveness in the years to come. Government, business and labor need to work together to get this done.”

Highlights include:

  • “Train workers for today's open jobs. There are more than two million open jobs in the U.S., in part because employers can't find workers with the advanced manufacturing skills they need. The private sector must quickly form partnerships with community colleges, vocational schools and others to match career training with real-world hiring needs.”
  • “Streamline permitting” and “cut red tape so job-creating construction and infrastructure projects can move forward”
  • “Boost jobs in travel and tourism” by “making it easier to visit the US through improved visa processes”
  • “Facilitate small business loans”
  • “Put construction workers back to work” through making commercial buildings “made more energy efficient”

More recommendations will be forthcoming, they wrote. Among future recommendations will be an emphasis on helping “fast-growth companies and small business.”

The two CEOs also said the U.S. needs to become “the most attractive place on Earth for high-tech services and manufacturing jobs” while boosting foreign investment. They also said the country’s infrastructure needs more attention.

By the end of the year, the Council will offer recommendations about “R&D investment, tax policy, visa reform and high-skilled immigration.”

Read The Wall Street Journal story here.


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  • RMC10 Jun 14, 2011

    Exactly what would we be training those people for? When all our trades and manufacturing jobs have gone. Train them to all get soft degree training (arts, history, medical coding, philosophy?) If we really have all those jobs somewhere, in all those industries certainly someone say in CA might be needing a job that's looking for his skills in NC. Make it easier if people need to relocate to utilize the training they already have. Retrain them in a factory (pharma or biotech) in an internship (much like the old trades), not in a college setting, where we will just be turning out better educated people who still can't get a job. Train for specific company's needs, not an economic guess at where the jobs will be in 2-3 years.

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC Jun 13, 2011

    Obamacare...the ultimate in red tape.

  • computer trainer Jun 13, 2011

    There are more than two million open jobs in the U.S., in part because employers can't find workers with the advanced manufacturing skills they need.

    From DOL: The number of unemployed persons (13.9 million)

    So what about the other 11.9 people???

    And WHERE will the $$ come from to do the training for these unemployed people? Do they know what they need to train for? Can they get student loans with no job and no guarantee of one?

  • They call me CATMAN Jun 13, 2011

    I hope there is a change in November 2012 America can't take much more or this type of Hope and Change.
    If this is their idea to get America back to work then we are in trouble.

  • TheAdmiral Jun 13, 2011

    Pardon my while I choke.

    The president and all of his cronies are all about "RED TAPE" If they were really interested in education, they would can the current system and tell all school districts to stop playing games to make everyone "Comfortable" and start pressing education.

    You go to school for an education - not to have your social sexuality explored.

    Take all the junk out of the school systems and teach the subjects. If you have problem kids - put them in a vocational school to learn how to dig ditches.