Is everyone talking about California jobs? Seems so!

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(Photo Credit: California Steel Industries)

As Friday’s first ever California Economic Summit draws near, a national dialogue is intensifying on job creation, particularly jobs in the now recovering manufacturing sector. The timing is perfect.

The man who may be California’s most influential political columnist, Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee, flatly declares California must do a better job in creating jobs, and called on the state leaders to do something. Walters will be getting some help from this week’s Economic Summit. How to prepare the workforce is the most popular topic at the upcoming Summit, more people want to work on this issue than any of the others.

We heard this at 14 Regional Economic Forums around the state. How do we strengthen the state’s talent pipeline? The consensus is we need to do a much better job of preparing them.

You may remember a story that we ran over a month ago on this blog quoted a steel industry executive in Fontana lamenting the fact that finding skilled manufacturing workers is not only a challenge in California, it is a national problem. I was talking with a man who owns an aircraft parts manufacturing plant in Southern California and he was saying the same thing: “Help me find qualified workers.”

Stories that broke this week in the USA Today and on CNBC both addressed this topic. Manufacturing is increasing in the U.S.; the jobs are really starting to come back. Who will fill them?

I talked this week with a former executive at the giant Los Angeles Unified School District who was fuming that the current administration seems to have de-emphasized the value of technical education in favor of encouraging everyone to go to college.

“Everyone doesn’t have to go to college,” she said. “There are jobs for auto mechanics, machinists and other trades. Let’s get them trained.”

The Summit is tackling this issue. We’ll be reporting the results and, most importantly, what happens after the Summit to create policy initiatives that achieve what Californians of all ages are talking about: how do we create jobs and improve this state’s economy.


Ed Coghlan

All stories by: Ed Coghlan