Does anyone really know how to create jobs? Where are the ideas?

This is the question that constantly rings in my ears when I listen to debate between our public policy advocates.

How do we create jobs? This is one of the critical questions we should be asking anyone who’s running for public office, or anyone running an organization that advocates for one policy choice over another.

But what if there was a venue where this question was getting asked and there could actually be a discussion that mixed together people who’ve actually created jobs, with the fancy-types who claim to have answers (I put myself in the “fancy-types” category)?

Well good news, fearless readers, there is an event like that coming up (here comes the shameless plug) next week at the University of Southern Maine and sponsored by the Bangor Daily News. The event, being held Wednesday morning and entitled “Maine Focus: Solutions for Maine’s Economy,” is a launch event for the BDN’s MaineFocus initiative, which is tasked with exploring the issues around workforce development, long-term economic development, and HR practices.

I’ve been asked to speak on the panel called: “Solutions for Maine Innovation,” which will be moderated by BDN Business Editor Whit Richardson. Hope you can join me.

But in my own little attempt to provide attendees with value, here are four handy items that will NOT be included in my remarks (I urge other speakers to follow the same guidelines):

(1) any reference to a blue ribbon commission or study;

(2) any reference to tax “reform” without elaboration of who should pay more or less OR the services that should be cut;

(3) any reference to “investing in R&D” without greater detail on where, to whom, and how that investment equals job growth;

(4) any speech or presentation that claims that the solution is easy or that there aren’t hard choices to be made;

(5) new initiatives/programs of any kind without an acknowledgement of the programs and initiatives that are already in the market and a plan on what to do with those.

I mention these because I am ready for some plans of action. I know that the presenters at the conference next week have already, or currently are, “doing” things to address some of these issues. You should come by and hear what they have to say.

Jess Knox

About Jess Knox

Jess Knox is a former political consultant and high-ranking SBA official who is passionate about entrepreneurship and Maine. These days he helps companies manage growth through his firm Olympico Strategies.