President-elect Donald J. Trump didn’t take long to take credit for an arrangement to keep a Carrier Corporation plant in the U.S. — even if there was some question over just how many jobs were in the balance.
Hanging onto good-paying manufacturing jobs certainly is a well-intended public policy goal, as long as we understand the incurred corporate welfare cost that was just shifted to the taxpayer. Still, a saved private-sector job is better than a lost private-sector job. However, it’s only a bridge or a bandage.
There are plenty of jobs — well paid and in America — that are dear to fill. Perhaps public policy, public and private education, research and development, and maybe even some philanthropy might do a better job preparing (all of) America for the 21st Century. We love STEM majors, but also critical thinking from liberal arts that give strategy to data analysis. AdTech and advertising are booming — we all need better and faster algorithms to help sell things efficiently, and data-informed creative skills to create more engaging and relevant content.
Let’s face it. America needs to re-orient itself for the “Data Train.”Positions in digital media and data analysis abound, and we’re still not training them fast enough to meet the demand — domestically. That means support for all aspects of data curricula at colleges and universities, and perhaps secondary education too, as well as retraining programs for displaced workers — something that did not receive nearly enough attention in the general election.
Let the private sector do its work and let innovation grow the marketplace for jobs. Perhaps government can best help by researching and reporting what skills and training are desperately needed. This is not a call for central government planning, but if we can fund corporate incentives to “stay home,” we can certainly fund training and retraining programs for an Information Economy, based on the commercial availability and responsible use of data, that is providing financial well-being for millions of households, with millions more to come.
Hey, I’m all for “shovel-ready” jobs to rebuild American infrastructure — that well could be a bipartisan love affair that helps bolster global standing for “U.S. Open for Business.” But, also, in that same refrain, let’s demand a “jobs” plan that puts an emphasis on education and retraining for the Information Economy. The U.S. leads in this category — are we going to squander it?
Happy Holidays, and as you make your end-of-year giving, please consider our own livelihoods and future talent development in our field. Consider sponsoring a student and donate to Marketing EDGE. Philanthropy, yes, and an investment in a data-driven marketing career, one student at a time.