Jim Clifton, CEO of the Gallup polling organization, believes young people possess the entrepreneurial energy to get the nation going again. However, they need a sound education, and the key to better classroom performance rests with some business experience, such as internships.
"There is an enormous amount of economic start-up energy in our kids, enough for America to re-win the world's markets," Clifton wrote in a recent op-ed he co-authored with John Hope Bryant, chairman of Operation Hope.
Bryant's organization is dedicated to what it terms "financial dignity," and the belief that all Americans should contribute to the nation's prosperity.
Clifton and Bryant disagree with campaign rhetoric that the United States somehow can buy, tax or legislate its way to a sudden world-changing economic boom. That won't happen because U.S. companies are operating cautiously. They're not taking the risks, making the investments, or hiring people aggressively enough to create a vibrant economy.
There are six million small businesses in the United States, about 100,000 mid-sized companies, and only 1,000 really large enterprises. In total, they generate right around 100 million full-time jobs and just over $15 trillion in sales and production.
The problem is that the nation's economic engine is stalled.
Although existing businesses aren't compelled to risk capital on the expansions and hiring that could get the nation churning again, youths who lay a sound foundation in school possess the knowledge, attitude and energy to be successful in business. ...
When young people understand why school and community service are important, the effort level rises dramatically because they are excited about learning what they'll need to become -- hopefully the next generation of U.S. entrepreneurs.