Posted by Carol Coletta on March 14, 2009
A couple of times a week (or more) I am on the road talking about our work at CEOs for Cities. Since talent is fundamental to the successs of cities, it is one of the big themes of my speeches. As I talk about the need to increase the number of college-educated people in America, inevitably, I will get two questions:
1. We can't employ the talent we have. Don't we need the jobs first?
2. There are a lot of jobs that need only associate degrees or technical training. We don't need people with 4-year degrees. So why are you pushing them?
I point out three facts:
1. Sixty-four percent of college-educated young adults have told us in national surveys that first they choose the city they want to live in. Then they look for a job.
2. Cities best positioned to recover quickly are those with the most talent. Talent helps make cities resilient.
3. Talent is not simply a source of workers. Talent is a source of entrepreneurs who create jobs. In fact, entrepreneurship peaks at age 30.
I was reminded of this constant back and forth reading this morning's NYT piece on forced entrepreneurship about out of work people now making their own. One entrepreneur's comment tells the story: "I love working, so I made work for myself.”
As Mark V. Cannice, executive director of the entrepreneurship program at the University of San Francisco, told the Times, “If there is a silver lining, the large-scale downsizing from major companies will release a lot of new entrepreneurial talent and ideas — scientists, engineers, business folks now looking to do other things. It’s a Darwinian unleashing of talent into the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Small firms are not insignificant contributors to our economy. Firms with fewer than 10 employees have 12.4 million workers, which represents roughly 11 percent of the private sector work force.blog comments powered by Disqus