Open immigration is not the answer, but the United States should not hold up the reform of skilled-immigration programs like the H-1B and L-1 visas because of the political logjam over how to stop the flow of illegal immigration.
Immigrants account for a majority of the net increase in the US workforce concentrated in the so-called STEM work (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) since 1995. According to William R. Kerr at the Harvard Business School, immigration "provides the United States with a number of exceptional superstars for STEM work. Second, immigration acts through the sheer quantity of workers that it provides for STEM fields." Kerr believes that the "quantity aspect of high-skilled immigration is the stronger factor" in terms of impact.
Few companies get involved in education to the extent that Southwire has, according to Jan Rivkin, a professor at Harvard Business School. Together with the Boston Consulting Group, the business school recently surveyed superintendents across the nation about the extent to which they collaborate with corporations. The survey found that most school districts receive some form of support from businesses, but it is usually limited to donations of money and equipment.
Georgia-based Southwire staffed a plant with troubled teens, who proved that hard work can overcome hard knocks. In the process they pioneered a model for education reform nationwide.
"It's a remarkable win-win-win. Students are graduating, the school system loves it, the company makes money. It's mutually beneficial," says Harvard Business School's Jan Rivkin, who has closely studied the company's efforts.
Business and education leaders, together, can do a better job of developing the well-educated, highly skilled employees whom companies and the country need.
Today, business leaders support schools through efforts that are generous, well-intended, effective at alleviating the symptoms of a weak educational system, but fundamentally inadequate for helping to strengthen the system. Consequently, it's time for America's business leaders to reinvent how they partner with educators to support our students and improve our schools. That is the central message emerging from a year-long study by the faculty of Harvard Business School's U.S. Competitiveness Project, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and The Boston Consulting Group.
The latest political "cliff" crisis is centered on funding for infrastructure maintenance and upgrades, specifically the Federal Highway Trust Fund. A quarter of American bridges are deemed structurally deficient, rail accidents exacerbate road congestion, mobile networks have variable coverage, and airlines are desperate for next generation air traffic control to reduce delays and fuel burn. America's elected officials must not only put politics aside and work together to invest in infrastructure, they should also modernize their frame of reference for infrastructure, with a focus on mobility.
"We do not take an approach—either at the national level or state level—that creates an ease of communications between employers and educational institutions that are going to impart skills and background to potential employees," said Joe Fuller, a Harvard Business School professor and faculty member of the school's U.S. Competitiveness Project. "This is why we have 12 million to 13 million unemployed people and 650,000 job openings in manufacturing right now."
Karen Mills, senior fellow at Harvard Business School, and Matthew Ferguson, Chief Executive Officer at CareerBuilder, talk with Erik Schatzker about the U.S. job market, the roles played by government and the business community in creating jobs, and the challenges for small business to find skilled labor to fill positions needed to grow their companies. They speak on Bloomberg Television's "Market Makers."
Released in May 2014, this report focuses on the current state of U.S. education and why this is a unique moment of opportunity for change.
Without more and better broadband, future U.S. competitiveness is jeopardized, says Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter.
Despite the strong monthly U.S. jobs report released last week, it's likely too soon to cheer the positive numbers. In recent years, the number of jobs created has been anything but choppy; for instance, in October 2012 and again in February and November 2013, the U.S. economy generated more than 200,000—enough to keep up with population growth. In December and earlier this year in January, however, that momentum lapsed when job creation dropped to less than 150,000.
It's no wonder Americans remain anxious. In many parts of the country people don't believe they will be better off in five years than they are today. This anxiety shakes the very foundation of the American Dream.
— Karen Mills, Senior Fellow, Harvard Business School
The Indiana enginemaker believes deeply in the anachronistic idea that investing in its community is smart business. Could it be on to something?
"What they're doing is just taking an intelligent self-interest in their community rather than a selfish interest," says Harvard Business School professor Joseph L. Bower, who has studied Cummins.
It is now well known that Thomas Piketty — the French economist and author of the 700-page bestseller "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" — argues that the free market tends to produce inequalities of wealth that become dynastic and anti-meritocratic. The solution that everyone is talking about is taxing the rich. But in reading the book, it's clear that Piketty recognizes that, "over a long period of time, the main force in favor of greater equality has been the diffusion of knowledge and skills."
Attracting the business community is a necessary strategy for sustaining a cradle to career partnership. Business engagement looks differently in every community, but can take the form of local companies providing communications support, loaned executives, support for the implementation of data-driven action, or strategic planning.
It's been an uphill battle to get San Diego businesses engaged in a City Heights education initiative. In 2011, City Heights Partnership for Children was launched. The idea was to join with San Diego Unified school district and the business community to create a cradle to college to career education effort in City Heights.
But a recent case study by the Harvard Business School's U.S. Competitiveness Project notes how the effort has struggled to connect with San Diego businesses. "On a scale of 1 to 10, I think we are at a 4 on mobilizing the business involvement," City Heights Partnership for Children Executive Director Tad Parzen said.
Willy Shih is still worried. Five years ago, the Harvard Business School professor and his colleague Gary Pisano wrote that "restoring the ability of enterprises to develop and manufacture high-technology products in America ... is the only way the country can hope to pay down its enormous deficits and maintain, let alone raise, its citizens' standard of living."
But when IndustryWeek asked Shih to assign a grade to our nation's efforts to reverse the impact of decades of manufacturing offshoring and lost production capability, he answered, "C-."
As Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), Karen Mills spent four years as part of President Barack Obama's senior economic team and a member of his Cabinet, specifically focused on the health and growth of America's small businesses and entrepreneurs. Now Mills has brought her experience as a policy maker—as well as 25 years of experience as an investor and small business owner—to the U.S. Competitiveness Project at Harvard Business School.
Launched in 2011, P-TECH offers students a college degree in an innovative six-year program created in partnership with IBM, which will give graduates first crack at jobs.
Read more on P-TECH in the BCG-Gates-HBS report, Lasting Impact: A Business Leader’s Playbook for Supporting America’s Schools.
A major new ranking of livability in 132 countries puts the United States in a sobering 16th place. We underperform because our economic and military strengths don't translate into well-being for the average citizen. The Social Progress Index is a brainchild of Michael E. Porter, the eminent Harvard business professor who earlier helped develop the Global Competitiveness Report.
Young adults born in the early 1980s held an average of just over six jobs each from ages 18 through 26, a Labor Department survey showed Wednesday.
Joe Fuller, a Harvard Business School professor and contributing faculty member to the U.S. Competitiveness Project, said the report contained no big surprises, but "what this data really says is, if you have less educational attainment, you're more likely to be unemployed."
America's infrastructure woes and how to fix them were front and center at the recent summit, America on the Move: Transportation and Infrastructure for the 21st Century, led by Rosabeth Moss Kanter.
For decades, argues Harvard Business School's Rosabeth Moss Kanter, we have paid for our neglected infrastructure in lost productivity and jobs, but the full bill is coming due.
Until recently, it could take 48 hours for freight trains to travel the 2,200 miles from Los Angeles to Chicago -- and then 30 more hours just to cross Chicago. We are building a 21st century economy on a 19th century rail network, says Rosabeth Moss Kanter.
The development of the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s made the car the preferred individual mode of ground transportation. This upended residential patterns, creating suburbs and exurbs, and relegated rail to the background. Sixty years later, however, America has changed, argues Rosabeth Moss Kanter.
U.S. corporations donate an estimated $3 billion to $4 billion a year to K-12 education. A new report from HBS, BCG, and the Gates Foundation argues that's not enough. A companion piece explores a survey given to more than 1,100 superintendents nationwide.
Most school superintendents in the United States say businesses are positively influencing their districts, but it's usually in a fragmented, "checkbook philanthropy" way, concludes a study and a white paper released February 6 by Harvard Business School, The Boston Consulting Group, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
HBS and BCG conducted the first-ever nationwide survey of school superintendents on business' role in education and released a report summarizing the findings in February 2014.
New research by BCG, the Gates Foundation, and HBS highlights what business can do to work with education leaders on the urgent task of transforming the nation's education system. (February 2014)
Harvard Business School professor Joe Fuller joins other experts looking behind President Obama's proposal to address the United States "skills gap."
The chief executive of JPMorgan estimates that a worker "skills gap" may be holding back economic growth and keeping unemployment a percentage point or two higher than it otherwise could be.
Harvard Business School Professor Jan Rivkin discusses why businesses must rethink their approach to education and invest locally in order to expand globally. Partnering with educators in their communities helps companies ensure that people have the necessary skills to succeed in the 21st century economy.
Harvard Business School Professor Jan Rivkin discusses implications of the recent PISA 2012 findings with NPR's Claudio Sanchez. The test measures students' proficiency in reading, math and science worldwide, and shows that American 15-year-olds continue to turn in flat results.
In a continuing series on American competitiveness, WGBH's "Innovation Hub" looks at the competitiveness of American workers with Harvard Business School's Rosabeth Moss Kanter and MIT's Elisabeth Reynolds.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Boston Consulting Group, and Harvard Business School are collaborating on a joint research effort to understand best practices in business engagement in PK-12 education and to mobilize more business and education leaders to follow those practices.
International education programs do more than advance cultural enrichment; they also are an economic boon to communities that host foreign students and to the students themselves, who improve their job competitiveness.
U.S. states are on the frontline of the battle to improve the bonds between education and business and they are the ones most properly placed to do it, Joe Fuller, a professor at Harvard Business School, told the National Governors Association's education and business summit.
Is America's public-education system adequately preparing its graduates for careers in the workforce? About 100 educators, policymakers and economic-development experts from 22 states and several territories joined several governors Monday in a daylong summit meeting.
Amid growing alarm over the slipping international competitiveness of American students, a report comparing math and science test scores of eighth graders in individual states to those in other countries has found that a majority outperformed the international average.
U.S. baby boomers held their own against workers' skills in other industrial nations but younger people fell behind their peers, according to a study released Tuesday, painting a gloomy picture of the nation's competitiveness and education system.
An innovative program between Harvard's graduate schools of business and education helps advance urban school achievement and marks a decade of progress.
The central answer to the mismatch between jobs and employment is a 21st-century apprenticeship program.
Condoleezza Rice says failing schools undermine economic growth, competitiveness, social cohesion and the ability to fill positions in institutions vital to national security.
A report from Deloitte and the U.S. Council on Competitiveness shows the world's manufacturing markets will get more competitive in the next five years. The key to winning that battle over the next five years will be talent.
What should be the key focus of the new Obama administration? Suzanne Rosselet suggests that investing in skills and education are the critical contributors to lifting US competitiveness.
Longer winter breaks and shorter summer vacations are ideas being tested around the country as school districts debate whether to extend the school year.
The improved ratings for Asian universities, and especially Chinese and Indian universities, are to be expected. The rise of China and India as economic powerhouses makes it almost inevitable that their institutions of higher learning will become powerhouses as well.
Eight ways that manufacturers can prepare a new generation of workers for a smarter and stronger manufacturing future.
The United States remains the overall leader in space competitiveness, but its relative position has declined for the fifth straight year, according to a new report.
U.S. competitiveness was ranked second for 2011 for by the IMD, behind Hong Kong. The bad news is that it was first in 2010 and most years before, but it's worth contemplating the advantages that a group of international business executives and analysts still can find in the U.S. economy.
Focusing on incremental ways to encourage entrepreneurship in the United States will help create jobs and great returns for investors fortunate enough to invest in the next generation of world class companies, writes David Teten.
The latest international student tests confirm what we have known for some time: It is no longer prudent to pretend that we can wring better results from using the same old methods.
The latest international student tests confirm what we have known for some time: It is no longer prudent to pretend that we can wring better results from using the same old methods. We should be harnessing the transformative potential of technology at a time when global competition is demanding new skills from the workforce and learning standards around the world are being revised to focus on those new skills.
The United States must recognize that our long-term growth depends on dramatically increasing the quality of our K-12 public education system, according to Stacey Childress.