How to create jobs with really trying

July 2, 2012

Caroline O'Donovan

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Outsourcing is an economic trend so present in the minds of the American people that we made a movie about it. And a TV show. Whether industrial manufacturing or IT call centers, if it's cheaper to do it in India or Mexico, American CEOs will send it there. 

But if the White House has it their way, outsourcing's days (much like NBC's Outsourced days) will soon be over. Earlier this year, President Obama made insourcing – the economic trend in which American companies return their business to American soil – an official initiative, holding a business leaders' forum to talk about what kind of incentives would convince them to move the production side of business back.

One of those business leaders was Tim Bryan, CEO of Galax.e Solutions, a software company. Bryan swears by worker proximity, and says the work his company does is just too complicated to allow management and employees to be separated by thousands of miles anymore. GalaxE opened its new office in Detroit where, to ensure there are enough skilled workers to fill it, Bryan partners with local community colleges to provide training programs.

Bryan says the sucess he's had in Detroit could be recreated anywhere in the country, but Don Kettl, Dean of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, is skeptical. Jobs are definitely returning, Kettl says, but not in the numbers that they left. He predicts the change to come will involve a small number of new jobs for more skilled workers at higher pay, and that we need to focus on retraining programs like the one Bryan set up in Detroit. 

Election season is heating up and we've already heard President Obama hit Romney on his history at Bain Capital. “Gov. Romney’s commitment to outsourcing is not just part of his record, its part of an overwhelming economic vision,” Mr. Obama said at a rally in New Hampshire last week, reported the Washington TimesThis growing theme of the Obama campaign suggets we'll hear more about insourcing before November rolls around. Monday on Eight Forty-Eight, we talk with Brian Deese, special assistant to the president on economic policy, about how the White House plans to encourage this so-called trend. Call 312.923.9239 with questions.