Listening to American Business Communities

Last week, we had the opportunity to sit down with a terrific, engaging group of individuals from the Seattle business community for one of President Obama’s Winning the Future roundtables.  The meeting was organized by the Puget Sound Regional Council, an organization that seeks to ensure a thriving central Puget Sound, through planning for regional transportation, growth management and economic development. 

Settings like this enable us as policymakers in Washington, DC to really listen to day-to-day challenges and opportunities American businesses are facing, and to act on them. During the 90 minute session, we talked about issues of great importance to the success of businesses, including moving toward a clean energy economy, investments in our workforce, the importance of entrepreneurship to our economy, and of course, U.S. export opportunities. 

And while the industries like life sciences, aerospace, and information technology that drive Seattle’s economy often have industry-specific concerns, there was universal agreement among all the participants in this roundtable on one thing: we must make sure that America's children receive an education that prepare them for a 21st century workforce.  This issue came up more than any other topic.  Overall, the conversation spotlighted the important relationship between the public and private sectors.  That focus is healthy for Seattle, and healthy for America.  And that’s why administration officials are fanning out across the U.S. holding roundtables like this one, and engaging folks business community by business community.  To win the future, we must work together to solve our common issues, and enable American businesses to succeed in the global marketplace.

Dr. Rebecca Blank is Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs and Martha N. Johnson, Administrator is General Services Administration

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