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Brains Matter Final Report

  • Date Submitted: 01/03/2011 11:24 AM
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Brains Matter

A report presented to
Alliance Northwest


September 15, 2007

Introduction:   Workforce is Job #1

The methods for creation of wealth in communities and regions have undergone a massive change.   In the past 15 years, rapid globalization and advances in technology have created an entirely new economic structure.   The ability to effectively recruit new investment that results in high paying jobs, create opportunities for business creation, and ensure continued growth of existing companies is increasingly dependent on one overriding factor.

That factor is the availability of a highly skilled, motivated, and innovative workforce.   In a famous quote, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carley Forina responded to a question about where she would want to put new facilities by saying “You can have your incentives and interstate interchanges.   Give me a qualified and motivated workforce.   We will invest where the skilled people are.”

Emerging economies are not only producing unskilled and semi-skilled workers.   One look at the chart below should alarm every U.S.-based company looking to compete globally.   The built-in cost structure and labor regulatory environment of the U.S. makes it very difficult to compete and the need for skilled and motivated workers will never be greater.   [pic]

Against this backdrop, the challenges to regions in the United States are daunting.   There are two divergent trends that together create an unprecedented competitive environment for companies that employ skilled people.   The first is rapid globalization of the economy.   Due to rapidly implemented free trade agreements and the advent of China and India as huge sources of unskilled and semi-skilled labor, the ability of companies to survive without offshore labor has been greatly diminished.   Add to that the unprecedented numbers of U.S. baby-boomers who will be retiring over the next 10 years and one can quickly see that the need for skilled and...


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