Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dec. 23: One Nation, One Goal

By Sylvia Gurinsky

One of the solutions to the jobs crisis may lie in something Alex Penelas did almost a dozen years ago.

Penelas, then the mayor of Miami-Dade County, was trying to figure out a way to address the county's tourism-heavy economy and the weebles and wobbles that economy could take. Penelas called a jobs summit in January, 1998. He worked with One Community One Goal, the jobs-creation branch of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. Thousands of community leaders attended.

The result was more than a half-dozen targeted areas of work, including health care/biomedical, education and film/entertainment. Progress was made on creating new jobs and luring new businesses for Dade.

A similar initiative could be useful now at all levels - local, state and national. Next month, Florida legislators will have their own meeting about job creation. President Barack Obama will continue his own initiatives.

Penelas spent a lot of political capital during the Elian Gonzalez custody battle and the disputed presidential election of 2000. But there is no question about his acumen for tackling economic issues. At the very least, those trying to bring back the economy should use his jobs formula.

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