Gov. Rick Snyder has said 2012 is the year of the job. OK, he didn't quite say it that way, but jobs was the focus of his State of the State address on Wednesday. It isn't like job growth and retention haven't been discussed before. In the last 10 years, Gov. Snyder and Granholm, as well as Presidents Obama and Bush have talked jobs.
The GOP presidential candidates are talking jobs. Mitt Romney made mention of being fired, the other candidates talked about Romney's job of firing - even if the truth in all of it was lost somewhere in translation.
Jobs, jobs, jobs. Everyone who has one is glad they do, those who don't have one want one - badly. The biggest problem is there are too many who need and want a job. Michigan's unemployment rate is the lowest in over three years, but it's still too high.
I have asked before if we have perhaps put ourselves in a position where we will never see unemployment rates around 5 percent or lower as a nation because of technology and companies learning how to do more with less. What we likely need is a good kick in the innovations, something new that takes us where we never knew we wanted to go.
On a smaller scale, we need business of every sort in Northeast Michigan. We need employers - big ones, small ones, medium ones. Companies that will put people to work, and companies that can bring people back to work - and they do go hand in hand to some degree.
I already hear the naysayers: We have job openings, but the system keeps them from being filled. Too many people can live better without working
I hear you, and in some cases that is true. But let's not focus on the negative for a moment. I have a challenge for you today and you have to remain positive. Negative comments will be ignored and deleted without being fully read.
Think about Northeast Michigan, what it has to offer, and what it has in terms of employment. Now, what doesn't it have?
This is the challenge: Come up with new ideas. Nothing is too far-fetched, but reality has to play some sort of role. The best ideas will be part of my column next week.
Here are the ground rules:
OK, so the rules are a little restrictive, but if it was that easy then it wouldn't care the word "challenge" with it.
Again, no negativity. If you really are that down on A. ideas, B. Northeast Michigan, and C. thinking outside the box, then move. We don't need people who are going to bring things down. We already are in a depression around here; we need to move forward and upward.
You never know what your ideas might spark. Someone may be looking at trying something new in terms of investment but aren't quite sure what the area needs, wants or would support.
It might not amount to much, but I guarantee you someone is paying attention.
Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org