10 Paths Congress Can Take to Job Creation

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Grappling with unbudging unemployment rates, is there anything either Congress or the Obama administration can do to put people back to work?

While critics continue to debate the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of economic stimulus spending, a team of researchers at The University of California at San Diego has a few suggestions they say could put people back to work, and with better jobs to boot.

A study by faculty at the University of California at San Diego has become the book Closing America's Job Gap.

A study by UC San Diego faculty -- Mary Walshok, Tapan Munroe and Henry DeVries -- has been expanded into the book Closing America's Job Gap (W Business Books, January 2011).

DeVries says their research yielded some surprising findings.

"There is something different happening than we thought," he says. "What was happening is that the jobs that have gone away are not coming back and small businesses are not going to bring the jobs back."

The problem, as he sees it, is that "there is a job gap, in that people who are thrown out of industries like construction and retail and finance don't have the skills for where jobs are being created through innovation, such as in green jobs and information technology."

There are still jobs to be had, in his thesis. There just aren't the properly skilled employees to fill them.

DeVries uses welders as an example. In talking to companies and industry groups alike, he and his cohorts estimate that there are upward of 100,000 welding jobs going unfilled because expertise is lacking on new materials and technologies.

"There are, right now, 3 million jobs that, despite high unemployment, employers cannot fill because they cannot find American workers with the skills to fill those jobs," he claims. "That's more job openings than the population of Iowa."

The need for a better- and continually trained work force is among the reasons stimulus spending may have missed the mark.

"We looked at the stimulus money that was being spent and found that out of the $2 billion of federal money that was going to the new energy projects, eight out of 10 of those dollars were winding up in the pockets of foreign companies because they couldn't find the American workers with the skills they needed."

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