Fresh Strategies for Creating Jobs at Big Ideas for Jobs
Strengthening the economy and increasing job opportunities remains critical for our nation’s economic health. Big Ideas for Jobs — a project of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley, and supported by the Casey Foundation — is a one-stop shop for original job-creation ideas for the nation, as well as a source for best practices implemented at the state and local level.
Launched in 2011 at the height of the recession, the project has once again tapped into the minds of some of the brightest experts from a variety of fields to come up with a new round of big ideas this year that can lead to sustainable jobs today. Their proposals span areas of federal policy, industries and entrepreneurship. The project also released a supplemental report by Bob Brehm of the National Housing Institute offering lessons on nonprofit social enterprise job creation in the community development field.
New big ideas include:
- How state hiring credits can be used to best spur job creation. State and federal policymakers grappling with the aftermath of the recession have pursued ways to spur job growth, including adopting hiring credits to encourage employers to create new jobs. This new big idea from the University of California, Irvine, provides the latest evidence on the effect of these hiring credits — a first since studies of the New Jobs Tax Credit of the 1970s. The brief also pinpoints specific types of hiring credits that have shown success in boosting job growth.
- Solving the problem of job-skill mismatches, particularly among youth and low-income families, through innovation. In today’s economy, even educated, experienced workers struggle to find employment. The challenges are greater for youth and adults in low-income families, who tend to have less access to higher education, training opportunities, work experience and networks. A big idea by Fels Consulting at the University of Pennsylvania argues that employer-driven job-training programs would alleviate skill mismatches and require far less government support than the traditional public ones.
- The growing role of microenterprise in state and local strategies. Microenterprise development is a strategy with a nearly 25-year history in the United States. Existing data demonstrates the power of these very small businesses to produce jobs for their owners and others, many of whom are disadvantaged in the labor market. Yet investment in microenterprise assistance is relatively modest. A new big idea by FIELD at the Aspen Institute details strategies for state and local governments to support microenterprise development.
- Using tax credits to catalyze private capital investment for social benefit. The California Organized Insurance Network Community Development Financial Institution Tax Credit program, administered by the California Department of Insurance, has a track record of creating jobs in some of state’s most underserved communities through impact investing. Expanding the program throughout California and to other parts of the country presents a promising opportunity to direct private capital to public purpose. This big idea by InSight at Pacific Community Ventures explores recent program developments and plans for expansion, and discusses key drivers necessary to create similar programs in other states.
- Job opportunities that will expand as a result of Affordable Care Act implementation. The health care industry in the United States accounted for $2.7 trillion in spending in 2011. There are many career fields in health care for individuals of all skill levels, and the sector has low unemployment rates compared with the rest of the economy. A big idea from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, George Washington University and the University of California, Berkeley, focuses on the new entry-level and low-skill job opportunities resulting from Affordable Care Act implementation — and how, with the right education programs, workers could be prepared to fill them.
- Job growth by reducing or eliminating overly burdensome licensing regulations. Entrepreneurs around the country are pioneering new businesses that are stimulating job growth from the ground up. But all too often, burdensome government regulations squelch such entrepreneurship, which in turn limits local job growth. A big idea from the Institute for Justice identifies four features of business licensing laws that often inhibit job creation and economic growth — with real-life examples.
- How nonprofits can create job opportunities with waste diversion strategies. Job creation is possible through waste diversion strategies that result in reuse, recycling and remanufacturing, according to a big idea from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Nonprofits in particular can play a significant role in garnering a share of this growth, but growth will only happen with the widespread adoption of more supportive public policies at all levels of government, such as technical and financial assistance, career paths and apprenticeships and economic development incentives.