On Thursday, March 16, 2017 (tomorrow, at the time of this writing) Marlin Steel CEO Drew Greenblatt is set to join a panel discussion at the Aspen Institute’s Summit on Inequality & Opportunity on the arena stage at the Mead Center for American Theater in Washington D.C.
This discussion, titled “Why Good Jobs Are Good Business,” is just one of many panels that will be convened throughout the day. Other topics of discussion will include:
- Earnings inequalities and the wealth gap in America
- Financial difficulties facing the working class
- Opportunities for fighting poverty through technology, jobs, and growth
As noted on the Aspen Institute website, the goal of the summit is to provide a “nonpartisan dialogue about the widening opportunity gap in the United States” that gathers together hundreds of policymakers, thought leaders, and business owners—which will hopefully spark ideas for resolving this gap.
What’s the Panel About?
The “Why Good Jobs Are Good Business” panel will be mostly concerned with how employers can help turn a struggling business around by providing employees with the tools and incentives to excel.
Marlin Steel itself serves as an excellent example of how good jobs are good for businesses.
In 1998, when Greenblatt first bought Marlin Steel and moved operations to Baltimore, the company was primarily focused on making commodity bagel baskets for large bagel chains.
However, the bagel store market soon imploded under the pressure of the Atkins diet and low-carb craze, then Chinese government-subsidized competitors swooped in and started selling commodity baskets for less than the price of the steel needed to make them.
What’s the Impact of Giving People Better Jobs?
The company was quickly headed for extinction—until Marlin Steel made a change. Where the company once focused on minimum-wage workers making commodity baskets, that focus shifted towards improving workers’ toolkits and training to produce custom wire forms for precision manufacturing applications.
The results have been tremendous.
Marlin Steel went from shrinking to explosive growth, increasing revenues and employee salaries several times over from what they once were. Employees that once couldn’t afford a car to drive to work now have homes and cars, with spare cash to set aside for retirement or to buy things—stimulating the local economy in the process.
Improving the tools and training available to its workers has allowed Marlin to grow and be successful despite fierce, and uneven, competition.
How Can We Grow Jobs and Make Sure They’re Better Jobs?
Aside from individual employers making the difficult investment in employee training and tools, one way we can grow good, high-paying jobs in the USA is to focus on improving our nation’s infrastructure for water, transportation, energy, and education.
Refocusing on raising America’s ASCE infrastructure score from the D+ it currently is to a B or an A could provide a lot of good, high-paying jobs nationwide.
In a previous panel discussion on the ASCE 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, Drew Greenblatt discussed how the state of America’s infrastructure is hurting job creation and business results. One highlight was how the state of America’s infrastructure will cost the nation “3.7 trillion dollars in GDP penalties” if we continue to put off infrastructure improvements.
Another panelist highlighted how damage to American infrastructure costs $9 a day per family, and fixing this damage would cost between $3-4 per family each day.
You can catch the entire panel discussion in the YouTube video below:
Beyond reducing money lost to waste in our infrastructure, focusing on infrastructure will generate thousands of good jobs all across the country—many of them long term jobs centered on maintaining this infrastructure.
These jobs will help create more middle class families who have the means to buy homes, cars, and luxury items to stimulate local economies across the nation.
It’s time to invest in future of the nation by working with Capitol Hill to reinvest in American infrastructure to grow jobs both now and in the future, reduce GDP lost to bad infrastructure, and build the future we all want for our children.