The AUSTIN COMMUNITY JOBS FORUM hosted by Suzy Drapkin, Career Achievers and the Jewish Community Association of Austin was a great success January 5th! Thanks to all who participated.  Pictures of this event have been posted on the Career Achievers Photo Gallery and renderings from graphic artist, David Gaddy, Owner of Eye Cue Studio will be posted soon.

Discussion of the following questions posed by the White House was based on the recent Jobs and Economic Growth Forum hosted by President Obama.  The Austin Jobs Forum was an opportunity to discuss impressions and concerns about the current job market, and to provide feedback to the White House on ideas for job creation.

Question #1: From what you have seen, or seen reported about the President’s Jobs Forum on December 3rd, what seems relevant to your community?

  1. The world is equalizing so education has to be competitive. The immigration policy needs to be addressed in order to look at things from a global perspective.
  2. Pass – did not hear about forum so cannot talk about it
  3. Green jobs- Austin and Texas should walk the walk and talk the talk when it comes to recycling and rain water collection
  4. Did not know about the forum so cannot comment on it
  5. No publicity on the forum or disseminating of information as to how it impacts Austin so could not comment
  6. Poor distribution of information about forum is a key issue-this is a problem in and of itself
  7. Seems to be no defined output from meeting with CEO’s
  8. Some of the money used for TARP or other stimulus money should be directed to Tech start up money especially because Austin has so many technically savvy workers that are currently unemployed
  9. Does not seem to be information was been well distributed
  10. 10. Seems difficult to make a direct connection between this forum and the people that are on the ground looking for a job
  11. 11. Need quick action, short term action as a bridge to recovery
  12. 12. Retraining of high skilled workers-in a short term duration
  13. 13.  Employees are now being employed as a tactical-everything is on the short term.
  14. We refuse to look at growth for the long term rather the short term fix-looking for long term growth in Austin
  15. 15.  Need to have the same emphasis placed on the job situation-the same sense of urgency that has been placed on say Cobra benefits

Question #2: What parts of your local economy are working or thriving? What businesses and sectors are expanding and hiring?

  1. Construction seems to be thriving like for hospitals, ACC expanding, healthcare, Lowe’s
  2. People are moving from other areas which is helping bring diversity but also add to the competition, but not enough jobs for the amount applying
  3. Healthcare expanding, biotechnology and hi tech jobs related to those industries
  4. Construction, healthcare, education, pure tech jobs
  5. Commodities, service sector jobs, construction, healthcare
  6. Non profits, services, healthcare, pharmacy, ERCOT, LCRA, PEC,

Question #3a: What parts of your local economy are not working or thriving?  What businesses and sectors have been hit the hardest?

  1. Financial services field – jobs lost in this sector and individuals laid off have no transferable skills
  2. Semi-conductor field – engineers have been hit hard due to major lay-offs and field out-sourcing many of their jobs abroad
  3. All engineering areas hit hard, chemical, petroleum, etc.
  4. Software companies hit hard
  5. Domino effect due to so many jobs going off-shore, i.e., semi-conductor, electronics
  6. Retail hit hard, sales are down, triple down affects everyone
  7. Sales & Marketing – Non profit centers because they can not contribute to the bottom
  8. Construction – projects not finished, condos empty, new home sales and commercial real estate all down
  9. Higher education – layoffs

Question #3b: What are people struggling with the most?

  1. Age discrimination, Austin a young professional town, more younger folks moving here makes it difficult for the older professional in the job market
  2. Lack of transferable skills for transitioning to healthcare, government, non-profit, state jobs
  3. Loosen restrictive barriers for skilled workers to transfer to other industries
  4. Excessive pessimism
  5. Taxation structure for self-employed need break – need a tax structure to support them, i.e., health insurance, etc.
  6. Need to encourage skill based education in addition to higher education (academics is not for everyone), more trade schools are needed to meet this need

Question #4a: What are the opportunities for growth in your community?

  1. Entertainment
  2. Social media
  3. Solar energy, clean energy, green energy
  4. Focus on building code set up by the city of Austin to get high quality products
  5. Set high quality goals like that in education
  6. Provide incentives for kids to stay in school
  7. Leave it to consumers to make a choice vs. government mandates (like in solar panels installed in houses

Question #4b: What businesses and sectors seem poised to rebound?

  1. Due to ever increasing population in Texas, growth can come from more housing needs, jobs, etc.
  2. More research and training jobs for new industries
  3. Consulting and contract jobs
  4. Biggest employers in Austin are the state government and healthcare providers like Seton and St. David’s
  5. Green/clean energy will take off when gas prices go up again
  6. Expensive gas seems to drive innovation in other countries

Question #4c: What do you see as the “jobs of the future”?

  1. Health care management and providers
  2. Energy industry
  3. Green Energy
  4. Gerontology
  5. More traditional jobs will emerge

Question #5: What are the obstacles to job creation in your community?  What could make local businesses more likely to start hiring?

  1. Not lending money to anybody
  2. More jobs leaving the country because of wages and benefits.  Hard to compete with China and Mexico
  3. Based on personal experience:  local business had line of credit pulled.
  4. Credit for small business very tight.  Need to loosen them somehow.
  5. Need optimism and straight talk to promote local jobs.  Address the pessimism.
  6. Need to put some meat on the green space.  Put some incentive behind the green economy.
  7. Change our “borrow” mentality as a society
  8. Free up credit for small business
  9. 10. We need to pull our own selves out of it.  Government needs to get out of the way like in the healthcare reforms where it’s getting to be disruptive to small business
  10. 11. High tech community experience of jobs moving overseas.  Need government tax incentives to keep jobs here
  11. 12.  Jobs moving to India.  Incentives to keep jobs here
  12. Make taxes less punitive for small business
  13. Need more credit freed up
  14. Need to figure out to get manufacturing back by reducing regulations like EPA; reduce bureaucracy; unions not needed as much anymore
  15. Find ways for technology and manufacturing to thrive
  16. Remove tax barriers, restrictions on who to hire, government regulated benefits to provide by small business
  17. Set the quality bar high like in house construction so that people will step up to it
  18. Set boundaries for products of local business to be used locally
  19. Promote local production
  20. Set trend for local, smaller companies to compete
  21. Remove obstacles of uncertainty in hiring people as it relates to upcoming healthcare reform and the economy
  22. Transition economy away from manufacturing
  23. Like in Europe, government takes tax dollars to support green energy research by private companies
  24. Need to setup something to help the company’s bottom-line to stop jobs from going overseas
  25. Set up import duty to level the playing field
  26. Account social impact of places where things are manufactured
  27. Need government support for technology and innovation in batteries and green energy like they do in China
  28. End tax abatements for exporting manufacturing to promote local manufacturing

Question #6:  What other issues and ideas should the President consider?

  1. Why are states not accepting federal money – less strings on federal money and encourage states to take federal money
  2. Consider regulation on large organizations like capping what you can be charge for a prescription and services-
  3. Focus on short term improvements on training and education. Take away the limits / caps on money for training so that if a Ph.D. wants to change or get more training.
  4. Tie benefits training, tax credits to the actual person that is unemployed- should be tied to length of unemployment. Tie this to the hard to employee
  5. Manufacturing – is there some way to make processing less invasive to the environment.
  6. Government should be doing large public works projects for the unemployed
  7. Stimulus to employers to retain and hire hard to employ and keep people
  8. It is very difficult to apply to FEMA and Homeland security even for us that have good experience to offer. These organizations could reach out to us in professional organizations that would like to work in the Public sector but have not been able to jump through the hoop
  9. To equalize imports, tag on extra tax to fund uninsured people
  10. Get back to our strength in innovation, put some strength and commitment into it
  11. Take advantage of our free market economy like when gas prices went up which then gave people the incentive to change their ways
  12. Think down the road vs. short term political/financial gain for innovative products like fuel efficient cars
  13. Recognize that we caused a lot of the problems in our society.  We dug this hole
  14. Invest in green energy
  15. Take the long term approach
  16. Look at Toyota, they don’t go quarter by quarter but more long term
  17. Government needs to strategically fund things that really make sense
  18. Focus innovation here in the long term
  19. Fix immigration problems mainly the illegal aliens
  20. Consider national security when importing not just manufacturing but design
  21. Not helping us if the biggest employer is the US government.  Something wrong with government showing the biggest job growth.
  22. Get a handle of illegal aliens draining our government resources.  Get rid of anchor baby law.
  23. Reduce all the lawsuits and place limitations on lawsuit settlements; maybe adapt British “loser pays” system.
  24. Enforce laws for businesses hiring illegal immigrants and treating them poorly.
  25. Government needs to care more about local issues
  26. Recognize countries like Israel and Ireland which provide tax breaks for US business to move there and counter it
  27. Reflect the true price of a product vs. accepting its fake cheap price
  28. Tax the companies who move overseas
  29. Focus on innovation
  30. Increase funding on research and development
  31. Stronger regulations for lobbyists and their influence on congress Scrutinize key postings for government officials and their past and future relationships with private business that may lead to a conflict of interests
  32. Limit money received by elected public officials for elections and pet projects
  33. Break up monopolies like Monsanto and other big agriculture producers.  Promote local and small business farms.  Increase regulation and transparency in food production.
  34. Focus on education starting from primary to college.  Fix the unacceptable high school drop out rates.  Regulate universities and the disproportionate rising cost of college education
  35. Incentives for self-employed and small business entrepreneurs
  36. Tax incentives to hire older populations
  37. Healthcare incentives
  38. Need more subject matter re-training and should be easier to get
  39. No more bailouts
  40. Protection of American jobs
  41. Higher taxes on products from other countries
  42. U.S. made should be able to compete with overseas
  43. Congressman/Senators should have same health plan as the rest of the population
  44. No more congressman/senator pay raises

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