This week, the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness held Listening and Action Sessions in Portland, Oregon and Dallas, TX. The events are part of a series of regional Council Listening and Action Sessions that are taking place around the country as a result of the President’s challenge that the Council bring new voices to the table and ensure that everyone can participate and inform the Council’s work and recommendations. The ideas and information exchanged at these events will help inform the future policy work of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which meets with President Obama each quarter to recommend critical steps that both the private and public sectors can take to create jobs and help strengthen the economy.
On Wednesday, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Jobs Council members Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel, and Darlene Miller, CEO, Permac Industries, joined with business leaders and the Deans of Engineering schools in Portland, Oregon to discuss America’s need for engineers as part of a regional Listening and Action session hosted by the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The panelists shared their thoughts on how the private and public sectors can help the United States graduate more engineers and answered questions from audience members, including local small business owners and educators.
In addition, the Jobs Council announced that 45 industry leaders, including American Express, BNSF Railway, Boeing, DuPont, DuPont, Eaton, GE, Intel, Facebook, NextEra Energy, and Xerox have committed to doubling engineering internships at their companies in 2012, strengthening the skills and talent of our students with hands-on, technical opportunities.
As Secretary Chu noted, “The President cares very deeply about getting Americans back to work, number one. He cares very deeply about those things in America that we can nurture that not only get people back to work immediately but form the basis of an enduring prosperity. You look in history and say, what was fueling the semiconductor, computer and internet revolutions, the biotech revolutions, the aerospace – all of those things. It goes back a lot to science and engineering education – that’s one of our core strengths in the United States.”
The commitments made this week, which will create about 6,300 new opportunities for engineering students, support the Job Council’s goal to graduate 10,000 more engineering students from U.S. colleges and universities each year.
On Thursday, the Jobs Council met in Dallas with local business owners to discuss the steps we have taken to strengthen our nation’s infrastructure and come up with initiatives and policies to further grow the economy and accelerate hiring. The Listening and Action session held at Southern Methodist University highlighted the broad coalition of opinion leaders who are calling on Congress to pass a clean extension of key transportation programs to protect critical jobs and bolster our roads, bridges, runways and railways. From modernizing the nation's air traffic control system and transmission infrastructure to promoting incentives to promote private investment in the latest broadband technologies, Jobs Council members and other experts focused on the importance of infrastructure investment to creating jobs across sectors of the American economy.
In coordination with this event, President announced steps to expedite high impact infrastructure projects to create jobs. This initiative was a key recommendation to the President by his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness during their meeting together in June.