Time for government to invest in jobs

November 19, 2009

In his op-ed "Democrats need to focus on jobs" (Nov 17), John Nichols cites the very disheartening unemployment rate of 10.2 percent, but his analysis would be more complete if he offered more specific strategies and principles for growing jobs and getting Americans back to worth. Here are a few that federal and state policymakers ought to target:

First, jobs that are created via public investment must meet our nation's and Maryland's critical needs for energy efficiency, infrastructure, child care, rebuilding schools, affordable housing and other priorities that will provide multiple benefits to our economy.

Second, federal leadership and action to create jobs is urgently needed now, and in all likelihood will still be needed a year from now.

Third, these jobs and opportunities need to be directed to low-income communities, individuals and vulnerable populations such as military veterans, people with disabilities, school dropouts and others. We already have cost-effective examples like Baltimore's Civic Works to use as models for other communities.

I'm proud to serve on the board of directors of the Coalition on Human Needs, a national, nonprofit advocacy group consisting of more than 100 organizations. Our most recent message to elected officials, foundation executives and business leaders is, "If it's jobless, it's not a recovery."

America needs a major jobs program now.Don Mathis, Havre de Grace

The writer is president and CEO of the Community Action Partnership, an organization representing 1,100 anti-poverty agencies.

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