President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union Address on January 28, 2014. He outlined several priorities that are very familiar to HR Professionals. Among the topics were: immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, tax reform, pay equity and extending unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed. Obama made it clear that he is willing to use the executive order process, if Congress does not act.
Small businesses create 66% of the net new jobs annually, employ more than half of the private-sector workforce, and generate nearly 50 percent of annual Gross Domestic Product. As small business owners, we are the backbone of our economy and engines agents for job creation. Each one of us can make a difference by reaching out to our Senators and Congressperson. Tell them what you are doing to create jobs and how the impact of minimum wage, healthcare reform and finding suitable talent effects you personally.
I receive calls almost daily from businesses looking to hire high quality employees. I also hear from job seekers how frustrated they are to be unemployed for so long. I engaged in a study with MIT’s Institute for Career Transition to help get people back to work. Some of the interesting things I have learned from the study include how the older job seeker is not even considered for employment. Who is this job seeker you might ask? In my opinion they are the people who built this nation. They are men and women who worked hard, are over 50 years old and have lost their homes and their jobs. They are the people who embraced the “American Dream.”
Since the real estate crash, the bottoming out of the financial sector, and the loss of jobs to other countries, “we the people” of the USA have been impacted significantly. In fact, I started my business back in 2009 in a down economy after being laid off. Frustrated by the lack of opportunities and the difficulty of acquiring up to date credentials, I decided to help others one at a time. While I do not have all the answers, I know for a fact that I have impacted businesses and individuals lives with a very high success rate. If you want to make a difference in this world, you must embrace change as your friend. It is not easy! IN FACT IT IS DOWNRIGHT HARD TO DO SO!
As a small business owner of Dube Consulting I have the same challenges, taxes, dilemmas whether to hire employees, use consultants, or do it on my own. I am faced with association costs, affiliation expenses, the cost of healthcare, capital equipment in my case: computers, printers, Ipads, mobile phones and the Cloud. I need technology and social media to thrive.
While sitting on a panel for the International Center of Worcester, at MA College of Pharmacy last year, I was engaged with others from foreign countries. My experience was eye opening to see how many challenges they face. Connecting and technology which we embrace and take for granted is not as widely accepted in other countries. One young women from Pakistan told me how she was a social media guru. To may amazement she had 69 LinkedIn Connection and was not allowed by her government to do very much outreach. A very ambitious women, highly educated and frustrated by Government controls. Sound familiar?
We must reach out and take responsibility for ourselves. Contact your legislature and let Obama know what impacts your business decisions. We do not want to become a capitalist government with controls forced upon us. Take responsibility for your business, your family and your homes. Collectively as members of the Chamber’s of Commerce we have a voice. Ofer Sharone, the professor from MIT who started this research was recently in Washington, DC meeting with officials from the Department of Labor and Industries, business leaders who have pledged to get people back to work. Take a look at this article written by Gretchen Gravett. Let’s take a stand and reach out to our Government Officials. As business owners we can impact the decisions if we stand together and speak up. Tell me what you think?