A Jobs Compact for America's Future

By: Thomas A. Kochan
What's good for individual U.S. companies is no longer automatically good for business nationwide, for U.S. workers, or for the economy. That, coupled with the failure of business, government, and other institutions to engage in productive dialogue and ultimately cooperate, has led to a crisis of human capital in the United States. In short, badly needed investments in the workforce are not being made, thereby threatening the country's future competitiveness and living standards. So argues Kochan, of MIT's Sloan School of Management. He explains precisely how the U.S. currently undervalues human capital; how exceptional companies such as Southwest and Kaiser Permanente buck the "maximizing shareholder value" trend with what researchers call "high-road" human resources strategies; and how labor unions and schools have a role to play in setting the nation's workers and the companies that employ them on the right path. Kochan's call to action for U.S. corporations and business schools emphasizes apprenticeship programs, technology-education partnerships, infrastructure investments, and a host of other practical ideas for jump-starting and then accelerating the journey on the high road. His jobs compact for America advocates a systematic approach, not a fool's errand to find a panacea. But it nonetheless has the urgency of now.
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