• Robert Louis Shepard, PhD

My Job - Part 1

The presidential campaign was froth with political talk about job creation with virtually no discussion on specifics. President Obama understands that manufacturing is an integral part of a nation's economic base. He also knows that manufacturing businesses which left the USA and went overseas under trade agreements that were put in place before he assumed the presidency, will most likely NOT return to America. He and his administration also knows that should any of the manufacturing operations decide to return to the USA, advances in technology have dictated that NONE will return in the same form they were in prior to leaving.


President Obama understands that globalization, like climate change is real, and that it's driven by the far-reaching impact of the Internet. An example of this can be demonstrated in the transformation of the textile manufacturing industry.

In the early days of textile production in the USA, many textile mills operated in southern states where the education level was low, labor was cheap, and the economic condition was stressed. Manufacturing consisted of mills with large, bulky, and noisy machines with the operation concentrating on producing coarse yarn and simple weaves because of the region's lack of skilled labor.


With a concentration on creating a NEW textile manufacturing base in the USA centered around advances in technology, researchers today are examining how to transform traditional fibers, yarns, and fabrics into highly sophisticated, integrated and networked devices and systems. An example can be seen in research to make the fighting soldier more agile.


Scientists are investigating the concept of clothing materials that can act as an electrical bus shifting power around the soldier's uniform and creating energy as needed. These innovations could free troops from having to carry so many heavy batteries. Special fibers also could be made to change with the weather, eliminating the need to pack extra layers in cold temperatures. 


So with the example of the transformation taking place in the NEW textile/clothing industry and other innovative manufacturing industries, what do politicians mean when they say, "Bring jobs back to America from overseas?" Or more specifically, from an implementation standpoint what is meant when workers in middle-America say, "Bring my job back to my hometown?"

"Laid Off?" reads a sign outside Dominion's Hybrid Energy Center in Virginia City, Va. (Photo by Julia Rendleman/ The Washington Post)

A critical reality to the rhetoric of bringing jobs back to America from other countries is seen in that just one day after the 2016 presidential election, General Motors announced the lay off of 2,000 workers at its Ohio and Michigan plants starting in January 2017. The question is, what jobs will be created right here in America by politicians for this new batch of displaced USA workers whose numbers are growing daily?


America is comprised of smart, resilient people. Therefore, the nation will engage new innovation to continue to be a formidable competitor in the world in many new growth areas. The recent election reflected a nation that is divided by many characteristics, one of which is job types based on location. The electoral map might suggest that much of the progressive thinking about the future relative to many things, including job growth, currently reside on the West coast and upper East coast (See Electoral Map). When America's youth and future generations are in mind, coupled with global competition, a strategic focus might should be to invest in new, innovative technologies and do it with speed.


What I say to the young people in America is not to be sidetracked by the many negative comments and expressions of ill-will spoken during the presidential campaign. It's time now to watch the actions of those who will soon assume leadership of the nation. Remember, watching is not enough. Each of us must stay engaged or get engaged in this new and exciting world where we live, work, and play.


The goal of this post is to show with data, that the cry to bring jobs back to the USA will not stop the progress of the world. Based on this fact I encourage students, especially Black American students to: "Take your education seriously and work hard to prepare well so you can function in the global world we live in that is based heavily on innovative technologies now and emerging ones on the horizon. But remember that to be truly successful God MUST be at the center of your life and the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding begins with a relationship with Him."


Read and study the links below to briefly learn how President Obama and his administration is addressing building the new, innovative manufacturing base in America:

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